Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
You're likely to start by seeing your family doctor or primary care doctor. However, in some cases when you call to set up an appointment, you may be referred to a specialist in skin diseases (dermatologist).
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, such as:
- When did you first notice the spots on your skin?
- Did the spots appear gradually or quickly?
- Have you noticed any other changes in the appearance of your skin?
- Is the condition itchy, tender or otherwise bothersome?
- Have you experienced frequent or severe sunburns?
- How often are you exposed to sun or UV radiation?
- Do you regularly protect your skin from UV radiation?
- What kind of sun protection do you use?
Questions for your doctor
Questions you may want to ask your doctor include:
- What suspicious changes in my skin should I look for?
- If the spots are, in fact, age spots, what can I do to improve the appearance?
- What results can I expect?
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- Schaffer JV, et al. Benign pigmented skin lesions other than melanocytic nevi (moles). http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Dec. 13, 2010.
- Ortonne JP et al. Treatment of solar lentigines. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2006;54:S262.
- Melanoma (malignant melanoma). The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/sec10/ch128/ch128e.html. Accessed Dec. 14, 2010.
- Kang HY, et al. The role of topical retinoids in the treatment of pigmentary disorders: An evidence-based review. American Journal of Clinical Dermatology. 2009;10:251.
- Draelos ZD. Skin lightening preparations and the hydroquinone controversy. Dermatologic Therapy. 2007;20:308.
- Facts about sunscreens. American Academy of Dermatology. http://www.aad.org/media/background/factsheets/fact_sunscreen.htm. Accessed Dec. 14, 2010.
- Sun-protective clothing: Wear it well. Federal Trade Commission. http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/alt094.shtm. Accessed Dec. 14, 2010.