An appointment with your dermatologist needn’t solely focus on your reason for going in, so make the most of your visit to the doctor by asking a range of important questions. This can include getting clarification on why your skin has recently changed, what could be causing your breakouts, or learning more about latest skin care technologies. No matter the case, asking these 11 questions are absolutely worth bringing up while you are in front of a specialist. Take this advice and we guarantee you’ll leave the doctor’s office with some valuable (and perhaps even life-changing) information.
1. How can I monitor my moles?
Early detection is the key to effective treating melanoma skin cancer. But instead of relying on your dermatologist to check for any abnormalities, ask your doctor to teach you how to monitor your body at home, then do so on a regular basis. Your dermatologist will be able to tell you which warning signs to look out for during a self exam — this knowledge could truly save your life.
2. Is my diet damaging my skin?
The food you put into your body is just as important as the products you use on your skin. To have a glowing, vibrant complexion, that means your diet needs to align with the needs of your skin, and anything greasy or full of sugar will have the opposite effect. Mediterranean foods like fish, leafy greens, and olive oil, Health explains, are a great foundation for a healthy skin diet.
3. What are the best products for my skin type?
It’s difficult to understand your skin type without the help of a professional. For example, you might assume that you have oily skin because of your shiny T-zone, but your dermatologist may consider your skin a combination, or even dry. Get a doctor’s advice on what kind of skin you have, and use this as the first step to selecting the right products for you.
4. How often should I exfoliate?
Exfoliation is a crucial step in your skin care routine, but knowing how often to do it isn’t really clear. You don’t want to over-exfoliate, InStyle points out, as this can get rid of cells that aren’t ready to be shed. That being said, you also don’t want to under-exfoliate, as you’ll be left with blackheads, a layer of dead skin, and clogged pores.
To get a definitive answer, ask your dermatologist how many times per week they recommend you exfoliate. Asking them first means you can avoid any problems associated with exfoliating too often or not enough.
5. Which SPF do you recommend?
Instead of playing Russian roulette with the SPF products available on drugstore shelves, ask your dermatologist which sunscreen they’d recommend. You’ll be surprised at how many are high-end and multi-functional — not the items you’d pick up at your local Walgreens.
6. How can I treat my discoloration?
As we age, it’s natural to experience discoloration in the form of new moles and freckles, dull patches, age spots, and more. Thankfully, your dermatologist can look at any hyper-pigmentation and refer you to the most beneficial product.
Need an example? The skin care range by Skinphonic addresses the specific needs of your skin color to help brighten any darkness, smooth over rough texture, and ultimately leave your skin looking much younger and more uniform.
7. What is causing my acne?
Instead of slathering on a cocktail of new products, ask your dermatologist to help identify the lifestyle factors that could be triggering your outbreaks. Your stress level, hormonal changes, diet, and hygiene can all be directly affecting your skin. If you want to permanently rid yourself of acne, identifying the root of the problem is essential.
8. Is this condition really what I think it is?
One of the worst things you can do is try to self-diagnose your skin care problems on the internet. While some sites are an excellent starting point, they can lead you to a misdiagnosis that’s either too severe. Worse yet, you could end up brushing off a huge problem. When it comes to skin issues, many conditions have overlapping symptoms (think eczema, psoriasis, ringworm, etc.), so go to your doctor with your thoughts on what the problem might be, but let them do the diagnosing.
9. Can I go in the sun while using this prescription?
Your dermatologist is unlikely to ever recommend that you spend excessive time in the sun, but they might advise you to stay out of it altogether if you’re on certain medications. Many common drugs cause photosensitivity, a reaction MedicineNet.com says similar to sunburn that happens within hours of sun exposure. Phototoxicity is happens when your medication absorbs UV light, then releases it into the skin, causing cell death.
10. What are the latest treatments for my skin?
One of the most exciting aspects of the skin care industry is technologies are constantly changing and improving. Whether you’re intrigued by laser treatments, botox, micro-needling, or peels, ask your dermatologist which innovative treatments could work well for you. He or she might recommend something you’ve never even heard of.
11. Which areas should I pay more attention to?
Since your face receives the greatest sun exposure and shows the most visible signs of aging, it’s easy to give it all your attention. However, ask your dermatologist to identify other areas on your body that have been neglected. Your hands, neck, legs, and arms may look fine to you, but from an expert’s point of view, they probably need more attention. Tricky areas like elbows, knees, and ankles are likely to be forgotten.