Choosing Wisely® is a nationwide campaign that can help you talk with your doctors about medical tests and treatments.
The benefits of talking about tests and treatments beforehand with your doctors include:
- Avoid tests and treatments that you do not need (and possible side effects).
- Save money.
- Improve your health by getting the right care.
To help you make informed decisions about common tests and treatments that involve your skin, hair, and nails, the AAD has made the following 10 recommendations:
- Melanoma (a type of skin cancer): A patient with an early, thin melanoma does not need to have a sentinel lymph node biopsy or other diagnostic test.
- Skin cancer: Mohs (pronounced Moe’s) surgery is not the right treatment for every patient who has skin cancer.
Other diseases and treatments
- Acne: For most patients with acne, testing to find out what types of bacteria the acne contains is unnecessary. The test results rarely affect what treatment you’ll receive.
- Atopic dermatitis (commonly called eczema): Only a patient who has signs of a skin infection needs a prescription antibiotic. Antibiotics have not been shown to reduce the signs, symptoms, or severity of atopic dermatitis that is not infected.
- Corticosteroids to treat dermatitis: Corticosteroids that you swallow or receive by an injection to treat dermatitis are meant for short-term use. Most patients can safely take this medicine for a few days or weeks, but long-term use should be avoided because of the possible side effects.
- Cysts: You should only use an antibiotic to treat a cyst when testing shows that it is infected.
- Dermatologic surgery: Some surgical wounds do not require an antibiotic that is applied to the skin.
- Eczema and dermatitis: When a patient with eczema (or dermatitis) needs an allergy test, patch testing is recommended over prick tests or blood tests.
- Lower legs (swelling and redness): You only need an antibiotic when testing shows that you have an infection. If testing shows no infection, an antibiotic is unnecessary to treat leg swelling and redness.
- Nail fungus: Before taking a pill or capsule to treat nail fungus, get tested to make sure that you have a nail infection caused by fungus. If testing shows no fungal infection, the pills and capsules are unnecessary.
All statements are backed by solid medical research.
Why the AAD participates in Choosing Wisely®
The AAD is among the nearly 100 medical societies that have joined the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation’s Choosing Wisely® campaign. The AAD joined because its members want to help patients make informed health care decisions about their skin, hair, and nails.
To learn more about Choosing Wisely®:
Learn when you need antibiotics for your skin and when you don't