Whether your patients are in your office for an annual skincare checkup, having a virtual visit via telemedicine, or about to partake in laser treatment/surgery, it’s important to encourage them to ask you as many questions as possible, that way they take full advantage of their time. To help you get the most out of your appointments, we at eMedEvents have highlighted the 6 most important questions you should ask your patients when consulting with them.
What skincare routine do you think best suits you?
This may be viewed as a broad question, but it should be stressed that you should ask your patients for their opinion on what techniques and guidelines they believe best suit them, that way you can correct them if need be, and provide specific guidance and routines when it comes to skincare and what products to use at home. You and your fellow dermatologists know there are plenty of misconceptions and incorrect information, in regards to how people should treat their skin. Patients should be reminded that everyone’s skin is different, and that you can help create a treatment plan, that is specific to their needs/problems.
How are you keeping your skin healthy?
Dermatologists worry that most of their patients only look at one specific aspect of the skin: jowls, smile lines, brown spots, redness, eczema, and acne, when they should be evaluating their overall health, in order to address concerns. For example, diet. The number one question you should be asking your patient, is if they are receiving enough Vitamin C, through their diet or through supplementation. This is because Vitamin C is an essential co-factor for the production of collagen; without a healthy amount of Vitamin C new collagen cannot be produced. Collagen supplements can also help improve skin hydration and elasticity. Stress management is another highlighted topic you should focus on when interacting with your patients, as stress has the ability to exacerbate skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, rosacea and acne.
What does your diet consist of, and do you think it could be affecting your skin?
"This is a good question because a lot of times we talk about topical treatments when inflammation or breakouts arise from what we are putting in our bodies”, says Dr. Dendy Engelman, a board-certified dermatologist at the Shafer Clinic in New York City. “Processed or artificial sugars, dehydration and nutrient deficiencies can play a major role in skin health. The body needs the proper vitamins and minerals to rid the skin of inflammation and waste. Without them, oil glands can go into overdrive, skin can be dry and flaky, and discoloration can appear”. Point out to your patients the numerous studies that show the role diet has on acne, and how it was discovered that high glycemic index foods and dairy are the culprits of acne related issues. Additionally, (in a process called glycosylation) which occurs when we age, the sugar chains attach themselves to skin proteins, which then can cause increased sallowing and wrinkling of the skin. Therefore, for any patient you have over the age of 35, you should recommend lower glycemic index diets.
How often do you examine your skin, and how do you monitor for moles and markings at home?
Stress to your patient that no one is immune to skin cancer, monitoring their own health could mean the difference between a simple procedure, or emergency surgery. “Tell your patients to check their skin monthly and be alert to changes in the number, size, shape or color of spots on their skin or sores that do not heal. Pay special attention to moles—especially moles that have recently changed, bleed or itch. This can be life-changing if a worrisome mole is found early on”, says Dr. Engelman.