Lawrence A. Schiffman, D.O., FAOCD - Board Certified Dermatologist

Lawrence A. Schiffman, D.O., FAOCD - Board Certified Dermatologist


7 Top Questions to Ask a Dermatologist

Published November 23rd, 2022 by Thepracticeagency

About two in three Americans say imperfect skin holds them back from feeling confident. As a result, 46% are spending more time caring for their skin. Another 64% feel guilt for not taking their skincare seriously enough.

With help from your local dermatologist, you can make more informed decisions regarding your skin's health. Here are seven questions to ask a dermatologist during your next appointment. With these dermatologist questions, you can cover your bases to start improving your skin.

Prepare for your next appointment with this guide today!

1. How Often Should I Screen for Cancer?

About one in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70. During your dermatology appointment, talk to your dermatologist about skin cancer. Determine how often you should screen for skin cancer, as well as what you can do to prevent it.

Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in the US. However, very few people schedule skin checks to spot skin cancer while it's still in its earlier stages. 

There are three main types of skin cancer.

Symptoms of basal cell carcinoma can occur in sun-exposed areas of the body, like the face and neck. You might notice:

  • Pearly or waxy bumps
  • Bleeding or scabbing sores that heal, then return
  • Flat, flesh-colored or brown scar-like lesions

Squamous cell carcinoma signs include a firm, red nodule or a flat lesion with a scaly, crusted surface. You might notice these symptoms on your ears, hands, or face. 

Melanoma can develop anywhere on the body, though it most often appears on the face or trunk of affected men. In women, it often develops on the lower legs.

Symptoms include:

  • A mole that changes in size, fee, or color
  • A mole that bleeds
  • Large, brownish spots with darker speckles
  • Small lesions with irregular borders or portions
  • Dark lesions on the soles, fingertips, toles, or palms
  • Dark lesions on mucous membranes lining the nose, vagina, anus, or mouth
  • Painful lesions that itch or burn

If you experience any of these symptoms, make sure to schedule an appointment with your dermatologist right away. When caught in its infancy, most patients experience a 99% survival rate. 

Talk to your dermatologist about your family history (as some forms of skin cancer are genetic). If skin cancer runs in your family, get checked more than once a year.

Having over five bad sunburns in your lifetime could double your risk of melanoma. Talk to your dermatologist about your skin exposure history, too. 

2. What Should I Include in My Regimen?

As you ask your dermatologist questions, consider asking about your skincare regimen. Many people fail to choose products and routines that align with their specific skin type or issues. 

Talking to your dermatologist can help you make informed decisions based on your skin's needs.

As part of your routine, consider asking about:

  • Cleansers
  • Toners
  • Serums
  • Moisturizers
  • Exfoliants

For example, you can ask your dermatologist how often you should exfoliate.

Using the wrong products based on your skin type can do more harm than good. For example, if you have dry skin, you'll need to prioritize moisturizing. If you struggle with acne, you might need to look for products that feature salicylic acid. 

Your dermatologist can help you determine which ingredients and products align with your skincare goals.

3. Is This Treatable?

Let your dermatologist know if you have any specific concerns, such as:

  • An annoying ingrown hair
  • An unruly mole
  • Skin discoloration
  • Acne

You might not realize a treatment option is available. Your dermatologist can help direct you toward the best resources and treatments. 

For example, perhaps you're worried about dark circles under your eyes. The skin under your eyes is delicate. Your dermatologist might recommend a pharmaceutical-grade option featuring ingredients like retinol. 

4. How Can I Monitor Moles?

If you have multiple beauty marks, talk to your dermatologist about monitoring them. Otherwise, use the ABCDE test:

  • Asymmetry: is one half of the mole different than the other
  • Border: are the borders irregular
  • Color: are there multiple colors or changes in color
  • Diameter: has the mole increased in size
  • Elevation: is it getting more elevated from the skin's surface

If the answer is yes to any of these questions, visit your dermatologist in person for a full evaluation. 

5. What's Causing My Acne?

Many people believe acne is a problem they'll grow out of. However, some patients still struggle with acne into their 40s. What causes your acne can change as you get older.

Your hormones play a major part in acne formation. Talk to your dermatologist to determine ideal solutions based on your lifestyle and age. 

6. What New Procedures Are Available?

With new technologies and procedures comes new ways for addressing your skin problems. Talk to your dermatologist about the newest technologies and treatments available for skin care. They can help you determine which procedures align with your needs and goals.

For example, you can now treat fat, dark spots, redness, and wrinkles with minimally invasive procedures. These procedures often come with little to no downtime. You can schedule an appointment during your lunch break, then get back to your day without interruption. 

7. How Does Diet Affect Skin Health?

You are what you eat! Your diet could have a major impact on your skin health, in addition to causing cramps and bloating. For example, high glycemic index foods can trigger acne formation.

High glycemic index foods cause a rapid rise in blood sugar levels. As a result, inflammation can occur, causing acne. Common foods include fast foods, dairy, gluten, and chocolate.

Talking to your dermatologist about your diet could help you discover new ways to improve your skin health.

Ask a Dermatologist These Questions During Your Next Appointment

Don't let your skincare goals fall to the back burner this year. Instead, ask a dermatologist these questions during your next appointment. With these tips, you can develop a well-rounded plan for tackling your skincare problems.

Discover healthy skin with help from your local dermatologist today. 

Ready to schedule your next appointment? We can't wait to see you!

Contact us today to get started.

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