According to statistics provided by the American Acne and Rosacea Society, 69 percent of acne sufferers in their 20s are “at a loss” for how to handle their skin. Among those who do use some sort of acne care, only 16 percent of sufferers would describe themselves as “very satisfied” with their acne treatment. That adds up to a whole lot of people who aren’t visiting the dermatologists or aren’t having productive conversations when they are in front of a medical professional.
In the name of healthy, beautiful skin, doctors and patients both need to do better. To help, we’ve compiled a list of simple steps everyone can take to prepare for a conversation with your dermatologist. Before your next doctor’s appointment, consult this checklist for ways to make your visit communicative, helpful, and ultimately beneficial for your skin.
List Out Your Symptoms
Instead of scouring the internet for a DIY diagnosis, your time is better spent cataloging your symptoms. Do you notice hard, painful bumps on your chin during menstruation? Did you switch to a new moisturizer, and now you’re noticing a rash? Is skin itchy, flaky, or oily? No detail is too small—write it all down in your skin diary and bring it to your dermatologist. If you’re not currently broken out, dig up photos of ex-breakouts to show your doctor. All of this information will help the doctor provide the most accurate diagnosis and treatment for your skin.
Know Your Health History
Your medical history helps doctors flag any hereditary conditions that may be showing up in your own diagnosis. Be sure to accurately and carefully fill out forms that ask questions about your family’s health history. It’s also important to be honest about your own personal health, as questions such as “how many drinks do you have per week?”, “do you smoke?”, and “are you pregnant?” can help doctors get to the bottom of certain health issues. Before your visit, reflect on anything in your medical past or current lifestyle that your doctor should know. In the office, make sure to flag it all on your intake forms.
Know the Treatment Options
It’s your doctor’s job to recommend a treatment plan, but it’s up to you to trust your gut about whether a treatment is right for you, and to express any hesitations to your doctor. If you’re constantly forgetting to take pills, a topical treatment may be more appropriate. If you have the time and money to invest in speedy recovery, a laser treatment could be the best fit for your lifestyle. Communicate your enthusiasms and concerns about potential treatment options to your doctor to make sure you go leave the office with a regimen you’ll keep up at home.
Ask, Ask, Ask
As the saying goes, “there are no stupid questions,” and that sentiment holds especially true when it comes to your health. The American Acne and Rosacea Society has prepared a list of questions to get the conversation started with your dermatologist. Try asking basic questions like “Do I have rosacea? How can you tell?” and “Why are you recommending this particular treatment?” to make sure you have a foundational understanding of your skin and your treatment. Questions like “Can I expect any side effects?” and “what lifestyle changes could I make to help?” will also prep you for what may arise once you head home.
To make sure we all have access to rosacea treatment, the American Acne and Rosacea Society is working to persuade insurers and health care professionals to increase prescription coverage for acne and rosacea patients. Learn more about the fight to treat acne and rosacea and sign your name to support the Declaration to Save Acne here.
The American Acne and Rosacea Society is a 501(c)(3) non-profit public benefit corporation devoted to changing the misunderstanding that acne and rosacea are little more than cosmetic disorders. We strive to provide information about acne and rosacea, promote clinical research, and improve patient care. Learn more at acneandrosacea.org
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