How to Prepare for a Visit to a Dermatologist

A list of fun things to do varies for all of us. Not fun? A visit to the doctor. But one doctor most of us visit rarely, if ever? A dermatologist.

When you should visit a dermatologist

Problematic moles – fact of the matter is, we should all have our moles checked (cases of skin cancer are on the rise). If any of your moles start to grow, change size or colour, it is best to have them checked by a dermatologist. If you have fair skin and/or if you have a history of sunburn you belong to the high-risk group.

Persistent acne – regular routine with over-the-counter skincare products should keep mild cases of acne under control. However if the acne persist, a dermatologist can offer stronger treatment options.

Rashes, itches and other skin conditions – rashes, itches, inflamed, irritated skin. Skin conditions like psoriasis, dermatitis, rosacea while not life-threatening can be unpleasant and uncomfortable. A dermatologist can give you a proper diagnosis and prescribe a course of treatment to ease the symptoms.

Melasma and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation can respond well to certain treatments (be it different types of lasers or topical treatments) that can only be prescribed/administered by a dermatologist.

Prepare before you go

If you live in the UK and want to see a dermatologist through the NHS, you will need a letter of referral from your GP. It will include your medical history. In some cases your GP might prescribe a course of treatment prior to referring you to a specialist. If you decide to see a dermatologist at a private practice, a letter of referral is not mandatory.

Go to your appointment ready. Make a list of all medication and/or supplements you might be taking. Make a list of skincare products you use. If your issue is sporadic (for example if you break out prior to or during your period) take pictures to show to the doctor. Likewise if you react to anything (food, certain skincare ingredients, laundry detergent are just a few things that come to mind) make a note of that too. If you visited a dermatologist previously, it is worth mentioning.

Go to your doctor makeup free as they will have to examine your skin closely. If you are going for a mole checkup, be prepared for a thorough examination.

Last, but not least – honest communication is the key. Talk about your concerns clearly and honestly. Do not hesitate to ask if anything is unclear or if you have any reservations about the available treatment options.

Have you ever visited a dermatologist? How was you appointment?

Roberta Striga