Dermatology series: Initial appointment
Once you've decided a visit to a dermatologist is the best cause of action and found one your trust, it's time for the initial consultation. But what exactly will happen and how can you be sure you're getting the service you need? In the next part of our in-depth look at dermatologists, we explain what to expect from your initial visit.
The main purpose of this appointment is for your clinician to get a full understanding of your issue and what you want to achieve. Obviously you can expect your skin to be examined in minute detail, and it's highly likely that from there your dermatologist will start discussing a bespoke treatment plan. It won't just be the affected area which is looked at either; dermatologists tend to check different places as this can give them more of an idea of what's really going on with your skin.
"At DestinationSkin we always see clients initially for a full and thorough skin consultation to get an in-depth idea of their skin concerns, how it affects them and what they are currently using to treat the issue. This takes around an hour and from it the client can expect a treatment package tailored specifically for them by our expert practitioners," Dr Toni Phillips, Clinical Director at DestinationSkin explained to Cover Media.
There will likely be questions about your medical history too, so if you're seeking help for acne you'll need to be open about when the problem started. If it's anti-ageing you need help with, be clear on exactly what is worrying you and what the best possible outcome of treatment would be. Expect your practitioner to be honest about what's achievable too - and if it sounds too good to be true it likely is.
Some conditions might need a more thorough examination and for blood work to be taken, or a skin scraping examined.
"[Taking a history of the complaint] would be followed by an examination of the skin, clinically observing and feeling any changes. Sometimes it is necessary to undertake further examination techniques like using a dermatoscope which magnifies the skin or a skin scraping/nail clipping," Dr Anand Patel, Consultant Dermatologist and Dermatological Surgeon at BMI The Park Hospital in Nottingham, explained.
"If a surgical procedure or biopsy is needed this will be explained and the paperwork carried out. This would be done to analyse the skin under the microscope to achieve a diagnosis. If medicines or creams are needed then these will be prescribed with directions on use. Blood tests if necessary would also be carried out."
Then you'll have your action plan and next appointments agreed on, so from here on we'll be looking at the kinds of treatments offered for the most common dermatological issues.