Psoriasis Tips: Things to Remember Before a Dermatologist's Visit
Last updated: March 2020
Dermatologist appointments are important if you want to manage your psoriasis. Dietary changes can help, as can herbal or natural remedies, but the science is inconclusive on its effectiveness. That means getting treatment from your healthcare team is an effective way to manage your symptoms.
Tips for your next dermatologist appointment
It’s always good to think ahead of a dermatologist appointment. Think about what you want to ask or what treatments you want from your healthcare provider.
Make a medication list
Make a list of everything you’ve tried. This includes all the over-the-counter products, any coal-tar based products, those which are made up of salicylic acid, etc. If you’ve been for light treatment, note that down too.
Do you remember how many sessions you had? How effective was it? Did you experience a rebound and psoriasis came back after you stopped? And, if you’ve been on biologics, make a list of them as well. The reason why it’s good to do this is so you can see the progression of treatments you had and it may help steer you towards another medication which you haven’t tried.
I often found that because I moved a lot, my medical records were not always filed completely by the healthcare team so there were gaps in what treatments I had tried. Luckily, I had a list and a file of everything so I knew that what they were offering me was something I had already tried.
Make a list of treatments you would like to try. This can even include herbal or natural remedies. Your dermatologist will want to help you, not hinder you. So, if you have a list of treatments you’d like to try that can help steer them on a particular trajectory.
I have had people contact me on social media asking what I’ve been on, what I’d recommend, what has helped the most. It has always helped and I have done the same. I would recommend doing research into your treatment ideas first. There are some great resources and access to people struggling too.
Can a dermatologist help with natural remedies?
See what’s been said online, either on the National Psoriasis Foundation Inspire forum or in particular Facebook groups. We would never recommend just starting treatment, but having awareness over what other people have tried could help you in your decision when it comes to seeing your dermatologist and going forward with something.
There are some great oils out there such as hemp seed oil, tea tree oil and coconut oil which can really help with psoriasis. I used coconut oil for years on my scalp and it really helped to lift the scales. It didn't clear my psoriasis but it was really helpful in managing the scales. See what your dermatologist says.
Don’t be afraid to try something new. It took me about 10 years to find a treatment that worked. I had been through loads and tried herbal remedies, took out diet plans, but nothing helped. I may have been doing it wrong but at the time, I only found limited relief or none at all. That was until I started my second biologic.
Advocate for treatment
Cosentyx has been a dream for me. It has cleared up my psoriasis patches completely and it’s coming up to a year now since I was first on it. My dermatologist wanted to put me on a different biologic but I refused after doing research and insisted on Cosentyx. I am so pleased I did because the results have been phenomenal. I feel after 10 years, I finally have my life back.
Don’t be afraid to speak up if you’ve seen something you think would work or have spoken to someone who tried it. For me, it was the latter. Someone recommended Consentyx and I wanted to find out more from my dermatologist what exactly it was. What are the side effects? What’s the success of it? How many people are on it? Cosentyx is a fairly new treatment but I had received good reviews on it so I thought it must be worth a try.
Keep a psoriasis journal
My final bit of advice would be to take a journal or diary. Note down how you are feeling in relation to your psoriasis and if anything has worried you over the course of the day. It could include things like changing your clothes to wear light colors instead of dark or if someone made a comment about your psoriasis which invoked some insecurity.
Whatever you feel will help you and allow your healthcare team to better understand how the disease is impacting your quality of life.
Make the most of your next dermatologist appointment
I did find it draining, turning up to my dermatologist appointment only to say the same thing: my psoriasis is still here. Ten years ago, I never did think I would find a solution. Being persistent and being open to trying new things has seen me get my life back.
I’m so pleased with the biologic I am on and know that if you keep trying different things, you will find what helps you in the end.
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