When should I see a dermatologist for the first time?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
It is never too early to see a dermatologist. There are several reasons to schedule a first appointment. You should certainly see a dermatologist if you have a problem with your skin; you also may want to schedule an appointment even if you don't have a skin problem -- to get a skin cancer exam and/ or to ask questions about normal skin care. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that everyone have a physician perform a skin exam each year -- a visual, whole-body examination that can spot early signs of skin cancer. Your primary care doctor can perform this exam at your annual checkup; a dermatologist also can do it, and is particularly well trained to perform a skin exam. 
Patricia Farris, MD

There's no time like the present for your first visit. We recommend that just like you see your gynecologist and dentist yearly, you should do the same with your dermatologist.  We  perform total body skin checks to examine moles and to see if there are any lesions susicious for skin cancer. It's never too early to start. Dermatologists see infants, children, teens and adults. Your dermatologist can also give you recommendations on sun protection and skin care during your annual check.

Dr. Ellen Marmur, MD
The primary reason to go to a dermatologist, unless you have a medical issue, is to get a clean bill of health skin cancer-wise. A total body exam is mandatory once a year, every year - starting at age zero. If you have a one-year-old, take your baby to get an annual dermatologic checkup by a dermatologist. It's not fair to put that responsibility on a pediatrician. Because they weren't trained as extensively in dermatology, most don't do thorough skin exams (nor should they). I educate parents about what to look for on their children's skin - which brown spots are perfectly normal and how to tell if something might be suspicious. Also, eczema is usually worse in the first ten years of life. There are good treatments for it and great home therapies that a dermatologist can tell you about. Birthmarks, such as port wine stains, can be corrected with laser treatments much more easily and effectively at a younger age. In a nutshell, the earlier you start treatment and checkups, the better.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.