The skin is your body's largest organ, yet many people try to manage their skin health without a professional's help. And while it's true you can find plenty of over-the-counter treatments for common skin issues, you don't have to do all the guesswork yourself. You can—and should—see a board-certified Dermatologist for any skin concerns.

Making an appointment to get your skin checked may not be your first priority, but when your health is involved, it's a good idea to see a professional. So, how often should you see a Dermatologist?

What Does a Dermatologist Do?

As a specialist in skin, hair, and nail health, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) explains that Derms diagnose and treat more than 3,000 skin conditions and related diseases. Derms often undergo more than a decade of education to acquire this level of training.

A practicing Derm generally treats patients of all ages for a variety of concerns. For example, they might treat skin abnormalities in a newborn baby, prescribe acne medication for adolescents, or look for signs of skin cancer in older adults. Other common symptoms that could warrant a Derm visit include hair loss, skin rashes, and brittle nails. Derms also complete routine skin exams to ensure that nothing looks amiss.

People of color have a lower risk of skin cancer, but it can be harder to detect.

Medical vs. Cosmetic Dermatology

The field is typically divided into medical and cosmetic Dermatology. Some Derms are also surgeons who perform a variety of procedures. For example, Dermatologic surgeons are trained to surgically remove skin cancers and other tumors. On the other hand, cosmetic Derms focus on aesthetic changes to the skin and body. This may include laser hair removal, chemical peels, and Botox injections.

The job is more than skin deep, however. All Derms are trained to spot topical causes for concern that might signal an underlying issue. According to the AAD, serious health conditions like heart disease and diabetes can present skin symptoms, so your Derm may be the first to identify them.

How Often Should You See a Dermatologist?

How often you should see your Derm depends on your age, risk factors for skin cancer, and whether you have any skin conditions or goals that justify more frequent visits. Most adults should book a visit at least once a year for preventive reasons, but your Derm may recommend more or less frequent appointments depending on your unique situation. Here are some basic guidelines.

Annual Skin Check

As a general rule of thumb, the Skin Cancer Foundation recommends visiting your Derm at least once per year for a routine skin screening, or annual skin check. Think of it like an annual physical with your primary care physician—but for your skin.

The focus of this visit is preventive. Your Derm will examine your skin for any signs of skin cancer or precancerous conditions. Since skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States—affecting about one in five Americans—you don't want to skip this appointment.

An annual skin check is sufficient for most people, but those at higher risk of developing skin cancer may need more frequent skin exams. Your Derm will make individual recommendations based on your skin type, history of sun exposure, and family history.

Ongoing Treatments

Millions of Americans are affected by persistent skin conditions or diseases, such as acne, rosacea, and eczema. At-home remedies may help alleviate mild symptoms, but a Derm can help treat more severe cases and address symptoms that aren't improving on their own.

If you have an ongoing skin concern, your Derm will recommend a personalized treatment plan. This will include at-home skin care tips and outline how often you should return for follow-up appointments or additional treatments.

Cosmetic Procedures

Even if you don't have a specific skin concern, you might seek out a cosmetic Derm to help achieve your skin care goals.

A cosmetic Derm can address visible signs of aging, such as fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation. They may also help with varicose veins, tattoo removal, injectables, noncancerous mole removal, and more. Seeking cosmetic changes isn't just about the way you look. Fading acne scars, for example, can help improve your self-confidence and mental health.

Some of these procedures only require one visit, while some call for multiple visits or sessions. Ultimately, your Derm will determine frequency on a case-by-case basis.

Urgent Visits

Finally, there may be times when you need to schedule an unexpected or urgent appointment with a Derm. While it's normal to notice skin changes over time, a Derm can tell you if those changes are harmless or a sign of something more serious. If you notice any new moles, infected nails, injuries that won't heal, or unusual bumps, it's best to have them evaluated.

Your Partner in Skin Health

So, how often should you see a Dermatologist? This answer is different for everyone, but aim for at least one skin exam per year. If you're interested in ongoing treatments for a specific condition, goal, or cosmetic change, ask your Derm what they recommend as part of your personalized plan. At the end of the day, they're your partner in achieving healthy, glowing skin.


  • Lacey Muinos

    Lacey is a Southern California-based freelance writer who combines her passions—fitness, health, and a vegan lifestyle—with her work to help readers feel and be their best. Her work has been featured in Healthline, Livestrong, Verywell Fit, Eat This Not That, KinderBeauty, and more.

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