Background: Instructional methods for teaching medical students to recognize common skin lesions vary widely. There is little published data comparing various teaching methods and their impact on medical student retention of dermatologic knowledge. Methods: Our prospective cohort study analyzed how teaching methods (interactive teaching versus. traditional didactic teaching versus. self-guided review alone) impacted second year medical students' ability to recognize common skin lesions one year after initial exposure to the material. Our study also looked at student satisfaction with different teaching methods. Results: There was no significant difference in long-term retention of knowledge between different teaching methods. However, students preferred the interactive format over the traditional didactic format. Spaced review is important for long-term retention, but an in-class review session two months after content was initially taught provided no added benefit over spaced self-review alone. Conclusions: Medical students are able to maintain long-term retention of dermatologic knowledge irrespective of in-class teaching method. Repeat exposure to material is important but self-review of dermatology alone is sufficient for long-term retention. Dermatology course directors should incorporate interactive teaching into medical school curricula to increase learner satisfaction.