It is never too late to start taking good care of your skin. Be it in your 30’s or even your 40’s. Look at me for example, here I am, in my 30’s, researching on what to expect and how to prepare for my first dermatologist visit. I have always had problematic skin, which included hormonal acne, some weird rash on the left side of my cheeks. Let’s not get into the body acne, because it is horrendous. I have been bullied, made fun off, and somehow still managed to live with my acne scars in confidence.
There are a number of reasons to see a dermatologist. You may have a specific reason such as acne, acne scarring or psoriasis. You may have concerns about a suspicious mole or growth. You may want to reduce signs of wrinkles and age spots. Or you may want to schedule an appointment to get a skin cancer exam. As for me, I want a clean aesthetic. I want to be able to wear minimal makeup. I want to be all round healthy…. skin and all!
Make the most of your appointment by showing up prepared. Trust me, consultation fee ain’t cheap! You can do this by writing a list of all the skin treatment products you’re currently using, as well as medications- prescribed and over the counter. If you have a number of problem areas, go ahead and list them down so you don’t forget. It’s a good idea to bring a list of questions and a pen and paper in case you want to take notes.
This may seem obvious, but you’ll be surprised how many people pile on the moisturiser prior to visiting the dermatologist. Do NOT wear make-up and put on very minimal sunscreen. Ensure that the skin is as free as possible. Do NOT exfoliate, which may cause irritation. Remove your nail polish. The state of your nails says a lot about your overall skin health. That’s because many forms of skin cancer first make an appearance in your nail beds, and they can also be a breeding ground for fungi that lead to body rashes. Take polish off your nails so your dermatologist can see what’s going on under the surface.
What to Expect
If it’s your first visit, your dermatologist will most likely do a full body exam. The skin is the largest organ in your body and it is constantly changing, so getting a baseline check is important. They may use a special magnifying glass called a dermatoscope to better observe certain lesions. Remember, your dermatologist is there to help you with all of your skin problems, even ones you don’t know about yet.
Quality care begins with good communication, a good dermatologist will take time to listen. They will explain various treatment options. They will give you precise directions for how to use prescription products and make sensible product suggestions for your skin type. They will also teach you how to self-check and spot warning signs. Performed regularly, self-examination can alert you to changes in your skin and aid in the early detection of skin cancer.
There are some key take-aways you should leave with, so be sure to ask specific questions to guide you on your daily routine including:
- How often should I exfoliate?
- Treatments for my skin type to try and those to avoid?
- Which is the best sunscreen to use?
- Which foods to eat and those to avoid?
- How long will it take to see results?
Expect More than One Visit
This first dermatology appointment is the first step to a lifetime of healthy skin. And to achieve optimal health, you have to be consistent. It can sometimes take a few tries to hit the right treatment for your skin. Regular observations and updates to your derma are a must. Periodic visits are to ensure that there aren’t any severe side effects to the treatments or medications. Do not be discouraged. Glowing skin is an everyday habit!