If you’re disappointed by the return on your most recent visit to the dermatologist, know that there are ways to ensure a more productive appointment the next time around. They’re good things to know, too, if you’re thinking about scheduling your first visit.
Find the right dermatologist for you
Whether you’re considering seeking a new dermatologist appointment or trying to find your first one, accept recommendations from family and friends with a grain of salt. What matters most is that the dermatologist is board certified by the American Board of Dermatology. You can find that out here, through the American Academy of Dermatology’s site. Board-certified dermatologists are specially trained in diseases of the skin, hair, and nails, and need to pass rigorous exams to maintain their certification.
Clarify the insurance situation
One of the great frustrations of modern life is showing up for an appointment with a specialist (which is what a dermatologist is considered to be by most insurance providers), only to discover you need a formal referral. So, clear that up before you even make the appointment.
And then once you schedule your visit, call your insurance provider to find out exactly what is and isn’t covered. Most procedures will be, but certain ones are considered cosmetic, and, thus, aren’t covered by insurance. Some medications, especially ones that treat acne and eczema, may not be covered, either. The dermatologist’s office may be able to help you gain coverage in those instances, though.
Do some homework first
Making a list of concerns beforehand will keep you from trying to remember everything on the spot, and it’ll better enable your doctor to develop a more accurate diagnosis. Photos help in this regard, too. Some skin conditions can be sporadic, so it always helps to have a clear visual when you’re not at the height of a flare-up.
Your dermatologist is also going to ask you for a family history and a rundown of any medications you’re currently taking. It’s only going to help your cause to have a Notes files stored in your phone for those, too. And any insight you can provide about recent visits with another dermatologist will help your new one understand any treatment plans you may have had.
Be open and honest
Under the fluorescent light of an exam room, it’s natural to downplay your sun exposure or any anxiety that a recent skin condition may have caused you. But the surest way to effective treatment is to be open and honest with your dermatologist. Likewise, don’t be afraid to say something if you don’t completely understand your treatment plan. It will help create a better dialogue between you and your doctor.
Skip the makeup and nail polish
Even if you only rely on some foundation and concealer, hold off on applying it until after your appointment. Going without it will give your dermatologist the most accurate look at your skin. The same goes for nail polish. Dermatologists pay close attention to the health of nails, in part because some skin cancers can form in the nail beds.
Try to be realistic about your Dermatologist Appointment expectations
We’re living in the age of immediate gratification, and we’ve come to expect a medication to clear up a condition overnight. But it takes your skin some time to become acclimated to new medications and treatments—in most cases, six to eight weeks. So, summoning some patience is a good way to end your visit.