If you care about your heart health, you should talk to a cardiology provider. If you're concerned about your eyesight, it only makes sense to have a sit-down with an optometrist. And if you want to take care of your body's largest organ, you need to talk to a dermatology provider!
These medical professionals have the expertise to diagnose a multitude of skin issues, help treat any issues you already have, and provide advice for long-term health and wellness.
How to Know If You Have Healthy Skin
Dermatology providers specialize in taking care of skin, nail, and hair health. They have the training and expertise to diagnose a wide variety of skin issues and illnesses, from acne and eczema to skin infections and skin cancer.
On your own, you can have a decent sense of your skin's health by paying attention to signs such as:
- Hydration (hydrated skin is happy, slightly shiny skin)
- Moisture and sun protection (skin needs to be protected from excessive UV rays and dry climates)
- Lack of itchiness or feelings of burning or dry skin
- Consistent texture (everyone's skin has bumps, but healthy skin is relatively smooth)
- Consistent coloration (no redness or dark patches of skin)
- Regular washing (washing your face and body daily removes dead skin through exfoliation)
However, if you ever notice that your skin has become dry, itchy, red, or unusually bumpy, then you may be experiencing a skin illness or even just a minor allergic reaction.
A skin health provider can screen for conditions such as dermatitis or psoriasis and provide a clear diagnosis if your skin is not completely healthy. This is accomplished through visual observation, conversation with the patient, and, in some cases, a skin biopsy or blood test.
What a Dermatology Provider Can Do for Your Skin
Like any medical professional, dermatology providers have a variety of treatments depending on the nature and extent of your skin condition. From potentially life-threatening ailments like skin cancer to cosmetic concerns, dermatology providers have many tools at their disposal for treating skin diseases and maximizing your skin health for the long term.
For example, chronic skin conditions such as acne and dermatitis (including eczema and skin allergies) can be treated with topical creams or ointments, prescription medications (such as oral antibiotics or topical retinoids), or light therapy. Prescription medications can also help treat fungal, viral, or bacterial skin infections.
If a dermatology provider wants to be certain what kind of skin condition you may be suffering from, especially if he or she believes you may have skin cancer, a biopsy can be ordered. This will help your skin provider gain a deeper understanding of your skin health and potentially catch skin cancer at the earliest stages.
From a surgical perspective, a dermatology provider can perform procedures in order to remove cancerous skin cells, moles, skin tags, and lesions. In the case of skin cancer surgery, a skin doctor can remove the cancerous spot and then continue to monitor your condition to make sure that the cancer does not return or become more aggressive. One type of treatment, Mohs surgery, removes skin cancer cells at the microscopic level.
In the case of cosmetic issues, dermatology providers can also provide treatments for warts, skin tags, and blemish removal through laser therapy or cryotherapy (the use of extremely cold temperatures to remove certain skin conditions), repair of damaged veins, and even chemicals peels or Botox injections that are intended to remove signs of aging.
Dermatology providers can even examine patients who have suffered hair loss to see if treatment is a viable option. Whether you're concerned about your skin's health or just want to look good, a skin provider can work wonders for you.
When to Schedule a Dermatology Appointment
Even if you're not interested in visiting a skin provider for cosmetic treatment or a typical wellness screening, you should still keep your eyes open for warning signs that could point to a skin disease or other issue.
For instance, if you've been struggling with acne and haven't found relief through over-the-counter medicine, a dermatology provider can examine you and prescribe the right topical or oral medication for your specific condition.
If you battle with itchy skin conditions, constantly red skin, and other symptoms of dermatitis, a skin provider can provide prescriptive, therapeutic, and even at-home remedies for treating your eczema. The same goes for other types of skin conditions, such as psoriasis.
Any type of skin issue that affects your daily wellness (such as through pain or other forms of bodily discomfort) can be checked through a full-body skin exam. From scaly skin and large rashes to dandruff, wrinkles, and hair or skin damage, skin providers can give you the medical advice and care you need.
Perhaps most importantly, you should visit a dermatology provider if you have a family history of skin cancer or otherwise know that your skin is predisposed toward skin cancer. The same goes for if you receive a recommendation from your primary care professional regarding your skin cancer risk.
If you are an at-risk patient, you should schedule annual checkups for skin cancer so that a dermatology provider can examine your skin for any early warning signs of skin cancer.
As a general rule of thumb, whenever you notice any concerning spots on your skin or anything else out of the ordinary, you should visit a medical professional. Depending on your insurance coverage, you may need to see your primary care professional first and then receive a referral to a skin specialist who can adequately treat you.
Preparing for Your Dermatologist Visit
As is the case with most medical visits, there are a few steps to follow before your dermatological appointment. For example, make sure you understand which services your health insurance plan does or not cover.
On the day of your appointment, avoid applying heavy makeup if you're normally in the habit of doing so, and remove any nail polish so that the provider will be able to examine the skin in those areas. However, stick to your normal grooming routine so that the skincare professional will be able to tell if your current routine is healthy for your skin.
Before you leave for the office or clinic, make sure you have a list of all your current supplements, vitamins, and medications (including both prescription and over-the-counter skin treatments) to provide, as well as any required ID or insurance cards.
Take some time to think through any questions you want to discuss. Are you only concerned about the spot, rash, or blemish that prompted you to make the appointment, or do you also have questions about maintaining the lifelong health of your skin? Both you and the dermatological professional will get the most out of your appointment if you can ask the questions that are most important to you.
Once you're with the specialist in person, don't be surprised if he or she uses a dermatoscope (a handheld instrument for examining skin up close) or even checks your scalp and toes during the complete skin evaluation. This level of thoroughness ensures that the dermatologist doesn't miss any signs of major skin conditions.
If you come prepared and don't have an above-average skin cancer risk, you may be able to finish the exam in less than a quarter-hour!
Contact Altaire Clinic Today to Schedule a Consult
Are you worried about the long-term health and appearance of your skin? If you want your skin to stay healthy and young-looking for years to come, you need to talk to the medical professionals at Altaire Clinic. We are happy to provide the dermatological care you need for lifelong skin health. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with an experienced medical professional.