Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
You'll probably first bring your concerns to the attention of your family doctor. He or she might refer you to a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of skin conditions (dermatologist).
Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and know what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
Before your appointment, you might want to write a list of answers to the following questions:
- What are your symptoms and when did they start?
- Does anything seem to trigger your symptoms?
- What medications are you currently taking, including those you take by mouth as well as creams or ointments that you apply to your skin?
- Do you have a family history of allergies or asthma?
- What treatments have you tried so far? Have any treatments helped?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over any points you want to talk about in-depth. Your doctor may ask:
- Do your symptoms come and go, or are they fairly constant?
- How often do you shower or bathe?
- What products do you use on your skin, including soaps, lotions and cosmetics?
- What household cleaning products do you use?
- Are you exposed to any possible irritants from your job or hobbies?
- How much do your symptoms affect your quality of life, including your ability to sleep?
- Wolff K, et al. Fitzpatrick's Color Atlas and Synopsis of Clinical Dermatology. 6th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2009. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=45. Accessed March 20, 2013.
- Dermatitis. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/dermatologic_disorders/dermatitis/definition_of_dermatitis.html?qt=dermatitis&alt=sh. Accessed March 20, 2013.
- Weston WL, et al. Overview of dermatitis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 20, 2013.
- Atopic dermatitis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disorders. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Atopic_Dermatitis/default.asp. Accessed March 20, 2013.
- Gibson LE (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 5, 2013.
- AskMayoExpert. Atopic dermatitis. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2012.
- Habif TP. Clinical Dermatology: A Color Guide to Diagnosis and Therapy. 5th ed. Edinburgh, U.K.; New York, N.Y.: Mosby Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-7234-3541-9..X0001-6--TOP&isbn=978-0-7234-3541-9&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed March 22, 2013.
- Dermatitis. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed March 22, 2013.
- Golden AK. Decision Support System. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 10, 2013.