While quarantine has undoubtedly made most aspects of our lives more complicated, there’s one thing that stay-at-home orders have made easier than ever: Getting a dermatology appointment. Now that our entire world is virtual, chatting with a pro about your skin concerns is as simple as logging onto Zoom or Facetime from your living room.
To show you just how painless the process is, in the latest episode of Dear Derm, we had board-certified dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD, walk video producer Allie Short through a mock teledermatology appointment. And in the process, she answered all of the burning questions we’ve ever had about what a skin check looks like when it takes place outside of the office.
According to Dr. Gohara, skin-related tele-medicine appointments are great for treating things like eczema, psoriasis, and acne (which she’s been seeing a lot of recently thanks to stress breakouts and “maskne.”). That said, there are a few things that are better left for in-person visits. Among them? Skin lesions, abnormal growths, or moles.
If you’re dealing with one of these digitally treatable issues, however, the first step is to make an appointment. Then, you’ll likely be asked to send some photos of whatever skin issue you’re dealing with. “Often times the resolution of pictures is better than the video resolution you’d get on your computer or your phone,” says Dr. Gohara, who suggests sending photos of your full face instead of a single pimple so that the doctor can have a comprehensive idea of what’s going on with your skin.
When it comes time to meet your derm, you’ll log into a private portal “waiting room,” and your doctor will appear via video when they’re ready to see you. They’ll ask you some basic health questions about your lifestyle and your skin-care routine, and the two of you will chat through whatever concerns brought you into the “office.” The doctor will then be able to make an assessment based on the photos and information you’ve provided, and the two of you will come up with a treatment plan.
If you need a prescription, like a retinoid, your derm will able to fire one off to your pharmacy the same way they would if you had seen them in person. And one more bonus? At least for now, most insurance companies will cover telederm appointments just as they would have if you were in the office.
To ease any sort privacy woes that might come along with meeting with a doctor via video chat, it’s worth noting that all dermatologists are using HIPPA compliancy to conduct their virtual visits, so there’s no chance that anyone besides you and your doctor will see what’s going on. But if you’re curious on what to expect? Press play on the video above for a full showing of what your next teledermatology appointment will look like.
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