Going to the Dermatologist
Why you should go
It’s wise to build a relationship with a dermatologist early. A dermatologist can help you deal with your skin problems before they’ve progressed and create a skincare regimen suited to your particular skin needs. Dermatologists are also particularly well trained to perform skin exams–a visual, whole-body examination to detect the early signs of skin cancer. Before heading to your first dermatologist appointment, it’s a good idea to give yourself a thorough once-over. Though your dermatologist will also perform a full-body exam on you, you know your body best. Make note of any moles, marks, and irritations. Be sure to point these out during your visit.
When you should go
Frequency of visits will vary greatly from person to person, depending on particular cosmetic concerns (acne, signs of aging, pigmentation, etc.), as certain treatments generally require a series of them spread out over several months. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that you have a mole check up each year.
How to find a derm
Traditionally a referral from your family is the first step, but nowadays private clinics may be able to accommodate you without a formal reference. Consultation fees may apply. The Canadian Dermatology Association suggests visiting your provincial college of physicians and surgeons website, and using the doctor search function to locate a specialist in your area. Check out their “Find a Derm” tool here. Additionally, check out consumer sites such as Yelp and RateMDs. Obviously, you want a dermatologist with more positive feedback than negatives. Lastly, ask other people with similar skin concerns for recommendations, because word-of-mouth is very valuable.
What to bring
- A list. Write down any questions or concerns that you have regarding your skin and skincare regimen. Discuss this list during your visit.
- Products. At-home care is essential to achieving your skin goals, so use your visit as show-and-tell of what you’re currently using so that your dermatologist has a clear idea of what you’re putting on your skin on a regular basis.