The Wellness Library

Having Skin Problems? How to Maximize Your Doctor Visit

by | Jun 8, 2022 | Wellness

A woman examines her skin in a round mirror on the wall.

Whether impacted by acne or a notorious rash, the best resource for investigation regarding skin problems can begin with YOU! Being present and mindful about your own unique journey with your skin concern can be resourceful to unfold precious details at your initial doctor’s visit, as well as follow ups. I’ve seen many patients with skin concerns, and a number of things come in really handy to help me get to the root of the issue. Let’s look at how you can prepare when you’re heading to see your doctor about skin problems.

Document your skin problems thoroughly

Coming into a visit about skin problems, you can help your doctor by documenting details about your concerns. Completing a bullet-point list just prior to your appointment can illuminate things for your practitioner and maximize your visit.

Here’s my guide for what questions you’ll want to have the answers to before your first appointment. You could even print this list out and take notes right on the page! 

  • Location of your skin problem:
    • Is it on your back, chest, chin, cheeks, forehead, nose, extremities, etc.? 
  • If acne is your concern:
    • Is it more surface level or feel deeper (cystic)?
    • Is it white, black, red? Is it gravel textured?
  • If it is a rash or lesion:
    • How large of a surface does it cover?
    • Does it feel raised?
    • Is it hot to the touch?
    • Does it have a certain color pattern?
    • Does it have easily marketed borders or is the border irregular?
    • Is it flakey?
    • Does it itch?
    • Does itching make it better or worse?
  • Have you identified any notable triggers to your acne/rash?
    • Food
    • Beverages
    • Start of a new medication
    • Lack of hydration
    • Triggered by a temperature/season/sun or lack of sun
    • Is it worse with a certain time of the menstrual cycle?
    • Any topical exposures? New skincare products or new products in your environment (cleaning products, etc.)?
  • Have you identified any notable remarks that make the acne/rash better? Outline treatments you tried and make a note if they were not helpful, somewhat helpful, or not at all helpful, including answering these questions:
    • Avoidance of a certain exposure whether orally or topically 
    • A topical or oral medication
    • Is it better  with a certain time of the menstrual cycle
    • Sun/lack of sun
    • Increasing water?
    • Increasing fiber? 
    • Does making it dry make it better?
    • Does moisturizing make it better?
  • Severity/pain scale (0 out of 10; 10 being the worst): How much does your skin problem hurt? 

Other things you might be mindful of for your doctor’s visit

  • Hydration status—how much water do you drink on a daily basis?
  • General diet: Keep track of your breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a week to show your doctor.
  • Write down all the common topical medications or skin care products you use.
  • Evaluate your digestion: Do you have digestion issues? Do you have routine bowel movements?
  • Evaluate your workout protocol: Do you work out at a gym? Do you swim? Do you rinse off after active exercise?

Dealing with skin problems can be tricky, but we’re here to help you get to the root issue! Keeping a journal of all these things before your first appointment will help you understand your skin concerns and communicate them to your doctor easily.

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