We can jade roll, exfoliate, and double-cleanse all day — but unfortunately, skin problems can happen to even the most skincare-obsessed. We all get occasional, inevitable acne, but sometimes, we need to call in a dermatologist for help. If you play your cards right, your dermatologist appointment can be super-effective, and can do more than just clear up those pesky zits. Follow these tips to make the most out of your next appointment.
Find one that’s right for you — and that’s covered by your insurance plan
Finding the right dermatologist for you can be tough, and finding one that’s covered by your insurance plan can be even harder. Asking your primary care physician for a referral to their recommended dermatologist can be the easiest way to do this (a lot of insurance plans also require a referral in order to cover appointments).
Take pictures of your skin when it’s at its worst
When you book a derm appointment, skin issues are usually at their worst (and feeling like they’re never going to go away). Usually, it takes a little bit of time to get an appointment booked — by the time you’re in the office, your issue may be totally gone (Once I literally went for a problem that went away the day before my appointment, then came back the day after — isn’t that just the way it goes?). Taking pictures when your problem is present (and documenting it over time) can prevent needing to try to explain what it looks like, and can help your doctor get to the bottom of the issue.
Know your family history
Your dermatologist asking you this is inevitable, so know your facts before you go. Do you have a family history of skin cancer? Let your doctor know.
Your doctor is going to want to see your bare skin in all its glory, so trying to make it look better with makeup is pointless — you’ll just be taking it off at the appointment. Be sure to show up to your appointment au naturale.
Get your moles checked
We have to do it — getting a head-to-toe exam of your moles can be integral in skin cancer prevention. Make sure to keep note of any moles you want your doctor to take note of, and document any noticeable changes in them throughout the year.
Know what medications and supplements you’re currently taking, and what medicines you’ve tried in the past
Your dermatologist is going to want to know the medications you’re taking — from daily supplements to birth control. Know exactly what you’re taking so you can provide them with the right information.
If you’ve been to a different dermatologist in the past, you’ve likely been on medications. Know which ones you’ve been on (or are currently on) and which ones didn’t work for you.
Have questions ready
We’ve all been there — you have a slew of questions ready for your doctor, just to completely blank when you’re at your appointment. As you develop questions for your appointment, keep them in a note on your phone (including moles you want them to check, etc. — just in case you forget later!).
Ask about samples
Waiting for a prescription to be ready — or worse, a prescription you need to mail-order — can feel like agony when you have a skin issue you’re trying to get rid of. Ask your doctor if they have any samples of your medication before you leave — many do, and will help you get started on your medication right away.
Ask about in-office treatments
The best facials I’ve ever gotten have been done at my dermatologist’s office (hello, professional dermaplaning). Many dermatologist offices offer a range of cosmetic treatments — from facials targeting acne to botox. Inquire about any treatments you might be interested in getting.