Community

what to expect at your first dermatologist visit

Your visit with the dermatologist should be a pleasant one and will begin much as a typical visit to your primary care physician. You’ll be asked about your medical and surgical history, medications, health problems, etc. To your dermatologist, the answers are all relevant, even issues that aren’t directly related to your skin.

“If it’s your first visit, your dermatologist will most likely do a full body exam,” Dr. Kaporis said. “The skin is the largest organ in your body and it is constantly changing, so getting a baseline check is important. Expect to dress down to your underwear and put on a gown so your dermatologist can check you from head to toe. Some dermatologists are faster and some are slower with their skin checks, but what is important is the thoroughness. They may use a special magnifying glass called a dermatoscope to better observe certain lesions. Remember, your dermatologist is there to help you with all of your skin problems, even ones you don’t know about yet.”

If your dermatologist should find something suspicious that requires a biopsy, don’t be scared. Even if the results aren’t what you’d like to hear, there are many treatment options available, especially when detected early.

“Quality care begins with good communication,” added Dr. Kaporis. “A good dermatologist will take time to listen. They will explain various treatment options. They will give you precise directions for how to use prescription products. They will ask you about other products you’re using and make sensible product suggestions for your skin type. They will also teach you how to self-check and spot warning signs.”

Performed regularly, self-examination can alert you to changes in your skin and aid in the early detection of skin cancer.