A big part of making the most out of your medical appointments is seeking the care of a skilled, experienced physician who will listen to your needs, accurately assess your skin and prescribe a course of treatment that is right for you. However, there are several things you can do as a patient to help your dermatologist administer the best care. In addition to providing records and being able to answer questions about your and your family’s medical history, it is extremely helpful to arrive for your dermatology visit armed with a list of questions. These questions outline top skin concerns, and understanding their answers allows you to enjoy your personal best in terms of long-term skin health.
1. Can you recommend me the best sunscreen for my skin type?
Proper sun protection has an enormous impact on overall skin health since UVA and UVB rays are linked to premature signs of aging, skin cancer, the worsening of preexisting skin conditions and more. Inquiring about a high-quality sunscreen demonstrates that you are serious about your skin. Dr. Schlessinger likes to recommend EltaMD sunscreens to his patients. These formulas are gentle and non-greasy, and they come in a versatile range of formulas. Most importantly, they provide unbeatable sun protection. One of Dr. Schlessinger’s personal favorites is EltaMD UV Clear SPF 46 Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen.
2. What is causing my acne?
There are a variety of factors that can affect skin clarity and the location and severity of your breakouts. Through a series of questions and a physical assessment, your dermatologist should be able to determine what is causing your acne. Diet, habits, climate, hormonal changes and using the wrong products for your skin type can all contribute to blemishes. Treatments are not one-size-fits-all, and different medications and products are designed to address specific types of acne.
3. Should I be concerned with this mole or spot?
Pointing out specific moles or spots that might not be immediately visible will help your dermatologist form a basic knowledge in case they change in appearance later down the road. If you have already noticed changes, explain them in detail just in case a biopsy is needed. The best way to treat skin cancer is early prevention, and asking about moles can help put your mind at ease if the spot turns out to be benign and not a cause for worry.
4. What professional treatments and procedures do you think I would be suited for?
Whether you’re interested in addressing fine lines, scarring and cellulite or just enjoying an overall more youthful and rejuvenated appearance, your dermatologist can recommend professional treatments and procedures that will allow you to experience exciting results. Many of these procedures are virtually painless and require no downtime, so preparing and scheduling is as easy as booking a follow-up appointment. Microdermabrasion, peels, laser hair removal and body contouring treatments are all great areas to explore.
5. How can I create the best skin care routine?
Now is the chance to really pick your dermatologist’s brain about a customized skin care routine that will help you put your best face forward. Not only should the products be suitable for your needs and skin type, you should also leave with a clear understanding of how and why to apply them—the frequency, amount, order and purpose of each. If you’re interested in beginning or supplementing an anti-aging routine, this is a good time to ask about prescription retinol creams and lightening agents.
Do you have a question for Dr. Joel Schlessinger? Let us know in the comments section.