Dermatology visits, when you should visit and what to expect

At what age should I start going to see a dermatologist? There is no set age that anyone should start seeing a dermatologist and the answer can vary depending on your skin concerns, family history and skin type/color. A good rule of thumb is to establish care with a dermatologist in your 20s-30s. This allows your dermatologist to have a baseline examination of your skin and can make recommendations based on your examination. A dermatologist can also help prevent and reverse sun damage, so starting earlier can be beneficial and decrease your risk of skin cancer in the future.

If I have a history of skin cancer how often should I have a skin check from a dermatologist? Depending on the type of skin cancer you had and how long ago it was diagnosed and treated, your dermatologist will likely want to see you every 3-6 months for the first few years after your diagnosis. You should also perform monthly self-examinations and see your dermatologist sooner than your regular appointment if you find anything you are concerned about.

If I’ve been going to annual skin checks for years and the dermatologist hasn’t found anything, should I keep on scheduling them? Skin cancer can appear at any time, so I recommend that you continue to have routine checkups in addition to monthly self-examinations.

What should I expect from an initial dermatology appointment? At your first appointment, you will fill out your medical history for your doctor which can be done in the office or ahead of time online. We will then take you into a treatment room and find out the reason for your visit. If you are looking to have a skin examination, we will give you a gown and Dr. Salyards will perform a thorough examination from the scalp to the toes. If you have any specific concerns, those will be addressed as well.

How long should a dermatologist appointment take? A dermatologist appointment is typically quick if there are not any concerning lesions found. A full skin examination only takes a few minutes. If any suspicious lesions are found, it may take a few extra minutes to treat or remove them.

Should I be able to have multiple concerns discussed with a dermatologist in one appointment? We will address as much as we can during your visit. Often, if you have a rash, hair loss or acne, we recommend that we address that concern on your first visit and perform a skin examination on your follow-up visit so that we have enough time to focus on each concern.

If I go to my primary care physician every year, why do I also need to see a dermatologist? Typically, your primary care physician can handle minor skin concerns, but they do not perform full body skin examinations. I have found many skin cancers on routine skin examination that a patient did not know were present.

It seems like my dermatologist’s office is very busy and it is hard to make an appointment – why is that? The main reason it is difficult to get an appointment with a dermatologist is that there are not enough practicing dermatologists to serve the area. As the population grows but the number of dermatologists remains the same, it becomes difficult to meet the demand.

Why can Refine Dermatology see me the same week that I call? Refine Dermatology can get patients in the same week that they call because we are a new practice and make it a priority to get patients booked as quickly as possible. We have room to grow and hire more physicians as the demand grows, so our goal is to always be able to get patients in quickly while providing excellent care to help better serve our community.

What is Refine Dermatology going to do to maintain the ability to see patients in short notice? Refine Dermatology currently has one doctor but has the room to expand to hire two additional doctors. As our patient population increases, we will hire another doctor so that new patients never have to wait, and our existing patients continue to be able to be seen quickly by their doctor.

Are all dermatologists’ doctors? By definition, a dermatologist is a doctor who specializes in conditions involving the skin, nails, and hair. They go through 4 years of medical school, 1 year of internship and 3 years of residency training. If they are a board-certified dermatologist, they have also passed a rigorous certifying exam. Because the demand for dermatologic care is so high, and so few dermatologists are produced each year from residency programs, there has been an increase in physician extenders (physician assistants, nurse practitioners). While they may have some training in dermatology, they have not had formal residency training as a dermatologist has.

Should I expect to pay something or be billed when I go to a dermatologist? If you are using insurance, every insurance plan can be quite different. Some plans may have a deductible which is an amount you must pay out of pocket before your insurance pays anything. This deductible may or may not apply to your visit. Some plans have only copays or only co-insurance payments. We will do our best prior to your visit to educate ourselves on how your specific insurance plan is set up so that we can give you a close estimate as to what you can expect to pay after your visit. We do collect all copays and if you have a high deductible, may collect a portion of that towards your visit on the day you come in.

Is it better pay with cash, check or credit card at a dermatologist office? Cash is preferred and checks are also appreciated. We do take credit cards but prefer the other modalities due to increasing processing fees.