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Things to ask your Dermatologist

Dr. Sejal Saheta

“I have fixed an appointment with a dermatologist for my acne. I hope it works out.  Oh, wait!  But I have also had marks and scars. The cherry on the cake? My uneven skin tone and dry skin patches. I have been meaning to talk to someone about my hair fall too.

What should I talk about first? Will all my questions be entertained? Will the doctor be annoyed if I ask too many questions?”

  • Every First-time Patient Ever

I have been a practising dermatologist for a long time now and believe me when I say that all these questions are extremely common. Don’t worry. You are not alone in this boat.

This makes it all the more clear that patients need help with not just their medical concerns, but also with their approach to consulting a doctor. Here are some tips that I think can help patients make the most out of their visits to any dermatologist:

  1. Make a list of any and all your queries. Don’t worry about whether this will annoy the doctor. It will ensure that none of your questions goes unanswered so that you can leave the doctor’s office a lot more satisfied, and a lot less worried.
  2. Apart from questions directly relating to the  concern you are seeking medical help for, please also consider asking your dermatologist the following questions:
      • Can you help me devise a regular skincare routine for my skin and hair type?
      • How do I keep a check on moles and growths?
      • Can you help me improve the texture and tone of my skin?
      • What can I do to reverse visible signs of ageing?
      • Do I need diet and lifestyle changes?
  3. Do remember that most doctors dislike half doctors. Remember that you are at a doctor’s clinic to ask them for medical advice, and not to check if they know their areas of expertise well. Stating a self-diagnosis that you may have arrived at after surfing the internet is unscientific and may create unnecessary (and fully avoidable) troubles.
  4. They say one man’s food may be another man’s poison. Refrain from comparing prescriptions and procedures with your friends and family. What you may have and your friend or family member may have, could be two absolutely different problems, even if they appear identical to you.
  5. Can you speak to your dermatologist about your hair or scalp problems too? The short answer is YES. A dermatologist can help you with all problems related to skin, hair and nails. Also, please remember that we help patients with venereal diseases too.
  6. We tend to focus on taking care of the skin on our face and end up ignoring the skin on our palms, soles, hands, covered areas, etc. Do keep a watch on the skin all over your body and consult a dermatologist regularly.
  7. Is there a difference between dermatology and cosmetology? Dermatology deals with all things skin, hair and nails, and extends beyond aesthetics. Cosmetology uses advanced procedures that focus on improving the aesthetics of your skin and hair.
  8. While choosing a dermatologist to visit, check whether your doctor is an expert in dermatology or cosmetology. At InUrSkn, we have an established track record for both.
  9. When in doubt, always check the doctor’s qualifications. Unfortunately, our noble profession has been tainted by one too many quacks. Please research into and verify their medical degrees. Try and understand if they are relevant to your medical concerns. You can even openly talk to the doctor about this if you are concerned. I have never taken offence to someone asking me this. I, in fact, ‘wear’ my degrees with pride and am happy to educate my patients.
  10. Avoid bringing up the advice given by salon professionals and family members in a discussion with your dermatologist. While there is good advice that they can offer, it is often riddled with many myths which make it tedious for the doctor to gather facts.
  11. Go into a consultation session with trust and open-mindedness. We as doctors are sworn to do no harm and patients will always remain our priority. It is your well-being that takes precedence in any conversation. And if you feel that you are not being cared for, look for another doctor with who you can connect better.

I hope these tips help you find a suitable dermatologist, and also to make the most of your consultations with them. More power to you!

Dr. Sejal Saheta, Dermatologist, InUrSkn