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How to Get the Most Out of Your Dermatology Appointment

October 31, 2020
Got a suspicious-looking mole? How about adult-onset acne? You just may want to make an appointment with a dermatologist. 

Dermatologists are the go-to sources for skin, hair and nail health. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, these specialists both diagnose and treat over 3,000 different issues like acne, skin cancer, psoriasis, eczema and even nail infections. Plus, dermatologists can help you battle the frustrating signs of aging. 

To get the most out of your dermatologist appointment, you need to know what to expect. While an appointment with a dermatologist won’t be as “hands-on” as a visit to the gynecologist, it will involve skin exposure. 

The Skin Cancer Foundation says that this will include an examination of the skin on all parts of your body. This means that you need to be prepared in ways that you wouldn’t expect. 

Prepping for the Appointment

Part of exposing your body means uncovering those beautifully painted digits ahead of time. “Remove all nail polish from your fingernails and toenails,” Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi, co-director of laser surgery at the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery in Washington, D.C., and assistant professor in the Department of Dermatology at Johns Hopkins Hospital Center, tells the Skin Cancer Foundation. “We need to look at your nails and nail beds, since skin cancers can form there.” 

Know that your dermatologist will put you through the ringer. In this process, he or she will search for moles, growths and lesions. Specifically, your doctor will look for various signs of abnormalities like changes in existing growths, new growths, bleeding and itching. Plus, he or she will want your feedback about what you have observed on your body. Tanzi notes, “you’re the person who has the best chance of noticing small changes.” 

This is why you will want to perform a self-exam on your skin before your appointment. Observe your skin with the intent of finding moles, skin tags and dark spots (like freckles). Be thorough in this process, searching high and low. Look for changes to moles or freckles that you already knew existed.