How to Choose a Dermatologist


Story by Larue Gillespie

Ever had a weird rash that needed attention? Are you worried some of your moles might be changing in size or shape? Is your hair thinning on top? According to the American Academy of Dermatology, a dermatologist, who is trained in treating hair, skin, nails, and mucous membranes (the lining inside your mouth, nose, and eyelids), can diagnose and treat these types of issues plus up to 3,000 others, including eczema, acne, skin cancer, psoriasis, and nail infections. Dermatologists can help diminish wrinkles, age spots, and scars, too, and can provide solutions for thinning hair. It’s important to have a great dermatologist in your corner.

Before you try to find a qualified dermatologist, make sure you’re looking in the right places.

If all you want are chemical peels, laser treatments, Botox, or fillers, then you might consider a dermatologist who specializes in cosmetic dermatology. For other issues, such as acne, rashes, rosacea, mole checks, and thinning hair, maybe you’d prefer a general dermatologist.

Ask for referrals from your friends, family, co-workers, or your insurance company, depending on what you’re looking for. Check the physicians’ bios on their websites to see what kind of background and education they have and how long they’ve been in practice. Board certification by the American Academy of Dermatology is important. Look for online reviews of the doctors in question and see if they’ve published articles anywhere. The more you can find out about the doctor beforehand, the better.

Next, book a consultation with the dermatologist. If you have to book your consultation a few weeks out, that could be an indicator that this doctor is in high demand, so don’t let that alone be a turn-off.

While in the consultation or on your first appointment (if you chose not to book a consult), ask as many questions as you’d like. Pay attention to whether or not the staff is listening to you and show signs of caring for you and your needs. They should ask you about your entire health, not just the condition being presented. Personality isn’t everything, but expertise and the ability to provide the right solutions are paramount.

It can be off-putting if you go to a dermatologist who quickly looks at your issues, doesn’t ask many questions, and just as quickly reaches for the prescription pad. A great doctor will take the time to answer your questions, dig deeper into what the problem could be, and provide well thought out solutions.

Bottom line? Take your time. Do your research. And choose accordingly. It’s your skin and it deserves the best care you can get.

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