By: Denise Erpenbach
During my teenage years my mother began taking my sister (also a redhead) and I to see a dermatologist for annual full body screenings. At the time I found it exceedingly annoying as I wasn’t particularly freckly, nor did I have significant acne. However, as I got further into my 20’s I found I knew multiple women my age and younger having cancerous skin cells removed due to sun damage. It was then I appreciated my mother’s constant nagging about sunscreen. (Don’t tell her I said that).
Now, I know seeing a dermatologist is easy to write off as something unnecessary or even annoying, especially if you don’t have any significant skin concerns. That being said, redheads are more susceptible to sun damage. In fact, according to the National Institutes of Health, natural redheads are 10 to 100 times more vulnerable to developing melanoma. It’s a scary fact, but there is a way to combat skin cancer, besides lathering on the sunscreen, see a dermatologist for a full-body exam.
If you are thinking about making an appointment with a dermatologist for the first time, here are a few tips to make the most out of your visit:
1. Don’t wear any makeup or nail polish
Dermatologists like to look at your natural skin and nail beds. This helps them determine if there are any areas that need further treatment. If you have an appointment on a workday, make sure you bring some makeup remover, or makeup to re-apply if you need to.
2. Wear comfy clothes
Wear something you can easily slip out of as you’ll likely be wearing a medical gown for the examination. Don’t let this deter you. If you come in for an appointment because of acne, your doctor may see something else that may need investigation or treatment.
3. Come with a medical history
If you know any members of your family that have skin-related issues, or other medical problems, bring that information with you. This may seem like irrelevant questioning because what does your dad’s high blood pressure have to do with your skin. The short answer is – some information may be more pertinent and some not as much. Come with as much history as you can.
4. Bring any questions you might have
Before you go to your appointment give yourself a once over in a full-length mirror, if you see something you want to have looked at more closely, write it down or make a mental note to discuss it with your doctor. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Healthy skin is your first line of defense against illness and disease; it deserves to be treated properly.
A full exam takes about 10 minutes tops. Taking care of you skin is something you’ll be thankful for in the many years to come.
Keep rockin’ that gorgeous, porcelain skin. Rock it like a Redhead!