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What to Expect on Your Initial Visit to the Dermatologist

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What to Expect on Your Initial Visit to the Dermatologist

There are a number of reasons to see a dermatologist. You may have a specific reason such as acne, acne scarring or psoriasisor. You may have concerns about a suspicious mole or growth. You may want to reduce signs of wrinkles and age spots. Or you may want to schedule an appointment to get a skin cancer exam. A visual, whole-body examination should be performed once a year.



Planning Ahead
“You can make the most of your appointment by being prepared,” said Helen Kaporis, DO, FAOCD, Preventive and Cosmetic Dermatologist at Cooper Clinic. “Be sure to bring a list of all medications and supplements you are taking and show up free of jewelry, hair bands, hair clips, nail polish and, if possible, makeup so your dermatologist can have an unobstructed view of your skin.”

She also recommends doing a full-body check on your own before you leave home. Use mirrors for hard to see areas and pay close attention to any skin discolorations or other visible problems. If you have a number of problem areas, go ahead and circle them with a washable marker so you don’t forget. It’s a good idea to bring a list of questions and a pen and paper in case you want to take notes.

What to Expect
Your visit with the dermatologist should be a pleasant one and will begin much as a typical visit to your primary care physician. You’ll be asked about your medical and surgical history, medications, health problems, etc. To your dermatologist, the answers are all relevant, even issues that aren’t directly related to your skin.

“If it’s your first visit, your dermatologist will most likely do a full body exam,” Dr. Kaporis said. “The skin is the largest organ in your body and it is constantly changing, so getting a baseline check is important. Expect to dress down to your underwear and put on a gown so your dermatologist can check you from head to toe. Some dermatologists are faster and some are slower with their skin checks, but what is important is the thoroughness. They may use a special magnifying glass called a dermatoscope to better observe certain lesions. Remember, your dermatologist is there to help you with all of your skin problems, even ones you don’t know about yet.”

If your dermatologist should find something suspicious that requires a biopsy, don’t be scared. Even if the results aren’t what you’d like to hear, there are many treatment options available, especially when detected early.

“Quality care begins with good communication,” added Dr. Kaporis. “A good dermatologist will take time to listen. They will explain various treatment options. They will give you precise directions for how to use prescription products. They will ask you about other products you’re using and make sensible product suggestions for your skin type. They will also teach you how to self-check and spot warning signs.”

Performed regularly, self-examination can alert you to changes in your skin and aid in the early detection of skin cancer.

It’s important to note that several area hospitals are conducting free cancer screenings. A small investment in time could be life saving.

Learn more about Cooper Clinic Dermatology Services at

Article provided by Cooper Aerobics Marketing and Communications.