What Information Should I Bring To My Dermatologist Appointment?

Harold’s comment:

Bring a family history, general health history and info on current conditions, a good sense of humor, and a clean pair of underwear!

At a first visit with a dermatologist, the doctor will want to review a patient’s skin history, medical and surgical history, and family history, and conduct a careful skin examination in one short visit; there’s a lot of ground to cover.

In particular, you may be asked about the following:

Skin disease:

A narrative of the development of your skin disease
How it has changed over time
What you have done to treat it up to this point

Medical history, including:

Allergies to medications
Chronic diseases, including liver disease and kidney disease
History of skin disease, including symptoms of dandruff, itching, or skin cancer
History of joint problems
Medication history, especially for chronic medications

Tip: For any doctor’s appointment, it’s always a good idea to bring in a list of the medications or the medications themselves to make sure everything is up to date. Bringing the skin care products you use can also be helpful since moisturizers are an important part of maintenance.

Family history, including:

Skin cancer

Recent changes in health, including:

Recent infections of the skin or anywhere else on the body
Stressful life events
New medications

Your thoughts on the disease and its treatment, including:

  • Which aspect of the disease (appearance or itch, for example) is most worrisome to you?
  • How aggressive do you want to be with treatment?
  • How much time and money do you want to dedicate to the process?
  • All therapies have side effects; what types of side effects are you most concerned about?

It’s a good idea to collect this information ahead of time and consider your treatment preference before your visit. This information, together with the appearance of your skin, helps to guide a treatment plan. The approaches to treating psoriasis are many, and their effectiveness varies from person to person. Because of the chronic nature of psoriasis and the sometimes constant need for treatment, understanding an individual’s background and thoughts about the skin is essential to make and refine a therapeutic plan.