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Never Been to the Dermatologist? Here's What to Expect

If you’ve never been to a dermatologist, you might be intimidated by the idea and unsure of what to expect. In fact, many patients don’t even know what to ask for when calling to make an appointment.

Visiting a dermatologist on a regular basis is an important step in the prevention of skin issues and maintaining the health of your skin. Dermatologists can assist in healing both chronic and isolated skin conditions, as well as promoting anti-aging through tested and trusted products and services.

What to expect at your first appointment:

Patients seen at Primary Health will have a dedicated appointment time with our dermatology team at our State Street clinic.

For a general mole check or skin cancer check, the patient will be asked to put on a gown so the entire skin surface can be examined. Your dermatologist may use a magnifier and bright lights to thoroughly check your skin and look for any spots that may require closer examination or monitoring. This may include moles, redness, bumps or hives, and dry patches. Routine skin exams are typically short, lasting between 10 and 20 minutes.

If a patient comes in for a specific skin-related issue, such as acne, warts or eczema, usually only the involved areas will be examined.

If a lesion is concerning, a biopsy may be performed. Skin biopsies involve removing lesions from the surface of the skin so they can be sent to a lab for testing. Biopsies are a common way to diagnose a variety of skin conditions, such as rashes, abnormal moles or skin cancer. A biopsy may involve a local numbing injection and in some cases, stitches. Results from this procedure are typically available in 4 to 10 days, after which your dermatologist will contact you to discuss any next steps.

What should you bring to your first dermatology appointment?

Please bring any previous skin-specific prescriptions, like creams or pills, and any over-the-counter products for review. This will help your dermatologist determine what may or may not work for your skin and create a plan of action going forward. You should also bring a list of questions or concerns to discuss with your provider.

How often should you see a dermatologist?

There are no clear, consistent guidelines on how often someone should have a full skin exam if they have not had a personal history of skin cancer or abnormal moles. Dr. Bender will individualize the follow up recommendation based on what he finds on the initial exam.

Dr. Bender sees patients by referral at our State Street clinic. Referrals are typically made by the patient’s family doctor, but in some cases, self-referral is acceptable.

About Dermatology at Primary Health Medical Group

Matthew Bender, M.D. is a board-certified dermatologist at Primary Health who is passionate about the diagnosis and treatment of various skin conditions and concerns. His services include general skin checks, melanoma/mole checks and removal, treatment of skin tags, acne, warts, cysts, management of chronic skin conditions, and administration of BOTOX® Cosmetic.

For more information, visit PrimaryHealth.com/dermatology.

“Dr. Bender is a great doctor. Very caring and professional. I’ve been going to him for years and recommend anyone who needs a good dermatologist to check him out.” – Primary Health patient