When planning a visit to the dermatologist, we all have questions we intend to ask. The organized usually make a list and ask their questions in order of importance. Others of us assume we will remember and throw out a question here or there as it comes up in our appointment.
Those questions are all well and good, but what does the dermatologist want us to ask? These 5 questions will help you set up yourself, and your family, for a more productive appointment and better skin care!
1. What Should I Know About Skin Care for My Child?
Too often we only approach an issue if a problem arises. But what if you could start routines now to prevent future skin damage for your child? Dermatologists want to talk with you about your child’s skin care needs, particularly sun protection.
Sunburn is one of the biggest risks for children, which can later result in cancer. Of course, parents know to use sunscreen on their kids, but which kind is best and how should you apply it? Your dermatologist wants to answer these questions.
Also, you’ll need to understand that your children are most at risk of sunburn with they are with someone else. When kids are with grandparents or neighbors unaccustomed to taking care of kids, sunscreen usually gets overlooked. Talk with these caregivers about using sunscreen on your child. Preventative skincare, especially sun protection, can go a long way in decreasing the chance of future skin problems.
2. Will You Look at These Bothersome or Changing Moles?
When a dermatologist examines your skin, there are a lot of factors at play and sometimes a lot of spots to see. Some of us have more moles than others. Call attention to the specific places that are hurting, prickly, or itching. This helps your doctor more closely examine that area.
Also, if a spot has changed over time, let your dermatologist know. This provides your doctor with insight into how much (or how little) of a problem it actually is.
3. What Should I Expect From My Medicine?
Ever been frustrated because it seemed a medicine didn’t work? Sometimes, this disappointment is a matter of unreasonable expectations rather than ineffective treatment.
Take rashes for example. If a patient fills a prescription expecting it to make his rash to go away permanently, he’ll be disappointed when the rash returns. He may even decide not to return to his dermatologist. In fact, the medicine was most likely intended to treat the symptom, not cure the disease. If he had understood this, he would have realized the medicine worked.
Adjust your expectations by discussing medication details with your doctor. Understanding the full instructions and how each medicine will treat your problem prevents frustration and keeps you on the same page as your doctor.
4. Why Am I Getting This Product Over Another Product?
You know you need to have the right expectations for a medication, but why is that the product the doctor chose? Perhaps you have a condition that needs a buoyant ointment to trap moisture, lubricate, and protect the skin. Many products, prescription products included, might have preservatives, penetration enhancers, or fragrances. Those products can be irritating and your doctor may avoid them. Other times, dermatologists choose an ointment intended for therapeutic benefit.
Regardless of the situation, just ask, “Why that product?” This will help you adjust your expectations accordingly.
5. Where can I learn more about my condition?
If you’re diagnosed with a particular condition or illness, you may want to turn to the internet to glean all the information you can. Anyone who’s actually done this can attest that it’s not the best idea.
If you decide to seek a little more information from the web, visit the site Medscape. It provides reasonable and knowledgeable information about most conditions. Your dermatologist may have other resources to recommend as well that are specific to your issue.
However, do not use websites to self-diagnose. There are too many conflicting diagnostics and confusing images on the internet. For example, if you have a brown spot, it could turn out to be a mole, a sunspot, or one of many types of cancer. Even a medical doctor would have to carefully examine it to be sure. Rather than make your best guess, visit your doctor for a professional opinion.
Now, the next time you make a dermatologist appointment you’ll be prepared. Ask these questions and better your skincare knowledge in the process!
Dr. R. Todd Plott is a board-certified dermatologist in Coppell, Keller, and Saginaw, TX. His specialization and professional interests include treating patients suffering with acne, identifying and solving complex skin conditions such as psoriasis, rosacea, atopic dermatitis, and identifying and treating all types of skin cancers. In his spare time, Dr. Plott enjoys cycling, traveling with his wife, and spending time with his children and new grandson.
Learn more about Dr. Plott.