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Top 10 Things to Tell Your Dermatologist

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One of the best things we can do as patients is to arrive at our appointments prepared with information that will make the visit go as smoothly as possible. This is definitely the case when you are getting ready to see your dermatologist.

Because the skin is the biggest organ of the entire body, it is incredibly important to have regular check-ups with a dermatologist to make sure that everything is okay with your skin and to check on any moles or other skin issues you might be experiencing. In order for your dermatologist to be able to conduct a thorough exam and be as knowledgeable about you as possible, please consider telling him or her the following 10 things during your visit:

1—If any members of your family have been diagnosed with melanoma. Some dermatologists will ask this, either face-to-face or through a new-patient questionnaire. But if no one asks about it during your appointment, be sure to mention it. A family history of certain conditions can be very vital information for physicians and when it comes to dermatologists, melanoma is about at the top of the list. If you are not sure, it’s worth a quick phone call or email to ask close family members before you go in for your check-up.

2—What your history of sun exposure is. Were you a Coppertone baby, bronzed and in the sun from babyhood on? Did you coat yourself with baby oil and bake in the sun for hours as a teenager? Or have you been pretty good about using a sunscreen with a high SPF and keeping in the shade? Whatever the truth is, your dermatologist wants and needs to know this information. Even if your vacations in Hawaii spent frolicking in the sun with coconut-scented tanning oil make you cringe now that you think about it, this is no time to fudge the truth. It’s okay—your dermatologist has heard it all before and will appreciate your honesty.

3—If you have noticed changes in any moles. Does the mole on your arm look bigger than usual? How about darker, or is it getting itchy? Let your dermatologist know.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.