A dermatologist might prescribe an anti-aging skin care product, but dermatologists can also ask you about your acne control and acne triggers.
The latest research shows that more than half of dermatologists do.
But what’s a dermatologist to do when the patient’s skin looks worse or the symptoms don’t seem to be improving?
What should a dermatologists ask for when they see a more common, but not so common, problem?
Dr. Sarah Pankratz, a dermatology specialist in St. Louis, said she would ask her patients if they had a skin condition, and then she would follow up with them about how they felt about their condition.
Pankrats patients are more likely to be on medication or on a topical treatment regimen.
“We ask a lot more questions than what is typical for someone in the general population,” Pankatz said.
“When a patient’s symptoms are not improving, we can use our knowledge of the individual to look at whether they’re on medication for something else.”
Pankats, who has also worked with dermatologists in New York and Philadelphia, said some of her patients had to be told off for a variety of reasons, including using too much alcohol or too much sunscreen.
“It’s very difficult for us to understand how a dermatologic doctor might be able to identify something that may be more than a normal skin condition and ask about it in a more direct fashion,” Palkatz told Shots.
Some dermatologists will ask for information about a specific dermatology practice or a specific condition, such as acne, but some may ask about a person’s general health or their family history.
Some patients may also ask for a prescription for an antihistamine.
The most common question dermatologists often ask is whether a person has a history of allergies or other allergies.
Palkats said she sometimes asks patients whether they’ve had allergies in the past, and sometimes asks if they’ve taken medication for allergies, too.
She also asks if their skin has been dry, or if there are any problems with their skin.
The more questions a dermatological doctor has to answer, the more likely he or she is to see the patient, Pankatz said.
A lot of times, patients don’t feel like they are asking enough questions, said Dr. Michael Fessler, director of dermatology at the University of Chicago Medical Center.
“There’s so much that we don’t know about patients and we want to know everything we can, whether it’s a symptom or a history,” Fessler said.
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The bottom line, Dr. Parkatz said, is that dermatologists and other dermatologists need to be aware of the differences between normal skin and acne.
“The key to making sure that you get the right information for your patient is to be a little more upfront,” she said.