The Top Five Questions To Ask Your Dermatologist

Dermatologists are more than just the pros to go to for immediate problems. They may become your most-trusted ally for great looking skin, for life. The skin you were born with was smooth, soft flawless and firm—and odds are the skin you have today is nowhere close in comparison. Time, heredity, hormones, sun, stress and all of life’s little vices take their toll on the body’s single largest organ: the skin. Skin should be healthy and clear from head to toe no matter what your age. This requires cultivating a relationship with your dermatologist and making sure you ask the proper questions. 

Here are our top five most important questions to ask your dermatologist: 

1. Do you offer cosmetic treatments to help my skin look better, as well as diagnose and treat skin disorders?

2. Will you use a Wood’s Lamp or UV-detect photography to evaluate damage below the skin surface?

3. What do you recommend to best achieve and maintain my skin-care goal. Are there alternatives to consider?

4. How many people have you treated with similar conditions, and may I see photographs of the before-and-after results?

5. Are you a board-certified dermatologist and member of the ASDS or AAD? What are the credentials of any other staff members who might treat me? Is your facility state-licensed or accredited?

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  • Janice Lima Maribona

    I think that the best you can do as a patient is research a bit about the dermatologist you plan to visit. Make sure that they are board certified in dermatology and that they participate in your insurance if this is for a medical visit. After you met him or her , if you are satisfied with their diagnostic skills and services then move on to a cosmetic consultation if this is what you wish to do. Some of my patients come see me directly for cosmetics as they are referred by friends, others come for a medical visit referred by their primary care physician and continue to use my cosmetic services as well. The main idea here is to trust your dermatologist and be happy and satisfied with their services. We are experts on skin and skin diseases, therefore I recommend that for all of your skin and skin cosmetic needs you find a dermatologist that you can grow older and beautiful with! Dr. Janice Lima-Maribona, Miami Florida

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  • Jessica

    Can someone advise on the best way to treat contact dermatitis? I've seen a couple of doctors and they all have slightly different approaches, so I'm trying to see what works best. Is there anything I can do in regard to my skincare regimen that's not crazy expensive?

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  • Claire

    I've tried a few dermatologists by recommendation, and I feel that what might work for one person doesn't always fit with me. So I've had to do my own research to find a doctor that was good for me and my needs.

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    Dr. Kenneth Beer
    Dermatologist - West Palm Beach, FL

    Dermatology has gotten more crowded recently with many non dermatologists (including general practitioners, gynecologists and anyone that sees skin calling themselves a dermatologist). The main point of distinction is that although they can advertise that they are dermatologists, they can not say they are board certified dermatologists unless they are. Some will persist and say they are Board certified but neglect to state in what. Board certification may be by one of several boards- for dermatology, the largest certifying organization is the American Board of Dermatology. It has several guidelines for training and members must pass a test after graduation and then every 10 years. When selecting a dermatologist, the reality is that the good dermatologists are busy. This means that if you are using insurance to see him or her, he or she is going to be limited in the time that is available. One alternative- schedule a cosmetic consultation and pay for the visit. I think that one of the ways that both patients and physicians short change the visits is when someone mentions an issue in passing such as "Oh, I am thinking about getting Botox" when there really is no time left. The vast majority of dermatologists are able to deal with skin cancer and cosmetic issues as this is what the specialty has evolved into. The main question is: At what level? For instance, some offices dont have lasers, some do not have a laboratory, some do clinical trials and train other physicians etc. The woods light is a way to use different spectra of light to look at the skin. I do not find it helpful so in my office I dont use it. I have used computer image analysis of skin lesions but did not find this accurate either. Instead, I prefer to remove spots that are changing or that look suspicious.

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  • jill

    I visit my derm for skin checks once a year but go to a different office for my botox. is this common? why do some terms feel more medical than aesthetic?

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  • Claudio Pinto
    Master Aesthetician - New York, NY

    Unfortunately with all the wanna-be's out there you need to ask about licensing and especially Board Certification and membership in organizations like AAD. www.aad.org When treating patients with any cosmetic procedures I always offer alternative treatments and the pro and cons. Your dermatologist should do the same. And you need to go home with proper skincare treatments. You will be amazed at how much improvement you will see by starting on a home care before having a more invasive procedure like lasers and chemical peels.Also ask about the post care and what you should be doing after your procedure. Ask about what to expect from your procedure, the associated downtime and realistically how many and how frequently should you get your treatments to achieve desired results. Do your homework, see a licensed and board certified professional, understand your options in treatments and do the one that best fits your skin condition and lifestyle. You will be glad you did!

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