Dermatologists are medical providers concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the skin, hair and nails. You should generally consider consulting a dermatologist if you have any issues or concerns with your skin such as infections, genetic disorders, skin cancer, cosmetic issues, and so forth.
Dermatology varies greatly in the type of patients and issues they may treat on a day to day basis. Your skin, hair and nail concerns may be treated with a variety of methods ranging from simple consultation, observation over time, medications (temporary or long term), or surgical procedures.
To help you make the most of your Dermatologist’s appointment
Before the Exam
Remove all nail polish from your fingernails and toenails! They need to look at your nails and nail beds, since skin cancers can form there.
Before the appointment, perform a full-body skin self-exam, and make note of any new, changing, itching, or bleeding moles, growths, or other lesions. In the early stages of skin cancer development.
At the Exam
The exam itself will likely be brief. An annual skin exam on a patient who’s never had atypical (dysplastic) moles takes about 10 minutes. Atypical moles are benign, but look suspicious and could be a risk factor for skin cancer. The more moles you have, the longer the exam. Ask your provider to examine closely any moles, growths, or lesions you noted during your skin self-exam.
They may biopsy (remove a layer of skin for examination under a microscope) any suspicious-looking growths.
Finally, ask questions. From spellings of unfamiliar terms to recommendations for further research, they should be able to address your concerns. You may want to take notes for reference.
Because patients are often uninformed about what they need to look for, they can be prey to misconceptions about what is a cause for concern. For example, a lot of patients ask if their raised moles are dangerous. Mostly they’re nothing to worry about, though they should always be checked.
- Fungal infections
- Mohs Micrographic (Cancer) Surgery
- Moles – Evaluation and Treatment
- Molluscum Contagiosum
- Nail Fungas
- Painless Technique to Remove Warts
- Pityriasis Rosea
- Pre-cancer Therapy
- Seborrheic Keratoses
- Skin Cancer
- Skin Tags
- Solar Lentigos