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Preparing for a Dermatology Appointment

How To Prepare for a Dermatologist Visit for Acne Treatment


Updated July 30, 2014

It's time for your first (or second, or third) dermatologist appointment! OK, while you may not feel like celebrating, it actually is a big deal. This appointment is the first step on your path to clear skin.

If you want to get the most from this appointment, don't go unprepared. A bit of preparation beforehand will ensure that you feel confident in your treatment plan, and help you get the results you want.

Here are a few easy things you can do to get ready for your upcoming dermatologist appointment.

Write down all your questions.

Before you go see the dermatologist, make a list of any questions you have. Then, bring that list with you to your appointment.

When you're in the exam room, it's hard to remember everything you wanted to ask your dermatologist. You don't want to be out in the parking lot after the appointment before realizing you forgot to ask a question or two that you desperately wanted answered.

Bringing along a list of questions helps make the most of the limited time you'll have with your dermatologist.

Be prepared to answer some questions, too.

Your dermatologist will have some questions for you too. Like, how long have you had acne? And, what treatments have you tried so far?


Be ready to answer questions about your medical history, even issues that don't necessarily have to do with your skin.

Bring a list of all acne treatments used, both past and present.

Make a note of any treatment you're currently using for your acne, both prescription medications and over-the-counter products.  It's more important to list the active ingredients in your OTC products than the actual name brand. For example, instead of just writing down Oxy, note that the active ingredient is 5% benzoyl peroxide.

You should also be prepared to tell the dermatologist everything you've previously tried, how long you used it for, and what type of results you got.  


Bring a list of all other medications you're taking.

You dermatologist will also need to know about any other medications you're using, even if they have nothing to do with acne.

If you don't know off the top of your head the specific names, check the label and write it down prior to your appointment. This sure makes it much easier than trying to remember during the visit.

Consider taking a picture of yourself.

This is helpful because acne tends to wax and wane. You want the dermatologist to see your acne at its worst. If you're going through a really bad breakout, take a few photos of yourself. A snapshot on your phone will do.

Even if you're not especially broken out on the day of your appointment, you dermatologist can get a fairly accurate impression by taking a look at the pic. (Ladies, this is a particularly good option if you break out only around the time of your period and your skin is relatively clear the rest of the month.)

Go bare.

If you're used to wearing makeup all the time, the thought of going out without it might send you into a state of mild panic. But on the day of your appointment, go with no makeup. It's so much easier for the dermatologist to see what's going on with your skin. Remember, the dermatologist and staff aren't going to be judging your makeup-less face.

Also, don't load your face up with moisturizing cream, douse yourself with astringent, or scrub like crazy at your face. The morning of your appointment, a simple wash with a gentle cleanser is all that's needed to prepare your skin.

Bring along a notebook.

You'll more than likely be getting a lot of information during a very short period of time. It can be overwhelming.

Yes, you can take notes during your visit. Bring a small notebook and a pen along to jot down any important bits of information.

To get great results, treating your acne exactly as your dermatologist asks you to is extremely important. The notes you take during the appointment can be super helpful down the road in to ensure your following your treatment plan precisely.

Bonus: research some of the most common acne treatments.

All you over-achievers may want to spend a little time in the days before your appointment researching some of the more commonly prescribed acne medications. It's not necessary, but being familiar with the medication being prescribed to you will help you to ask more directed questions about your treatment.

With just a few minutes of preparation on your part will help you get the greatest benefit from the time spent with your dermatologist.

Next Steps:

How To Find the Right Dermatologist

I've Seen a Dermatologist, But I'm Still Not Getting Results. What Do I Do Now?

Being Honest With Your Dermatologist

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