There are more than 12,000 dermatologists in the United States according to the America Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC). Most are highly skilled and qualified to diagnose and treat skin problems, of course, but choosing a dermatologist can be confusing. After all, everyone has specific needs when it comes to their skin. Knowing that to look for when finding a dermatologist can help you choose one that fits your unique needs.
Things to Look for When Choosing a Dermatologist
Board certification in dermatology indicates that a doctor has undergone additional training in dermatology and has advanced knowledge and skill in the care of skin, hair, and nails. A board certification also means that the skin doctor has made a commitment to keeping up with advances in dermatology. Accrediting agencies include the American Academy of Dermatology and the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery.
After Hours Care
Being able to reach out to your dermatologist after hours, in the evening, and over the weekend is important. The best dermatologists offer after hours care and extended hours to answer questions and handle emergencies, such as allergic reactions.
The more experience a dermatologist has with a specific condition or procedure, the better the outcome is likely to be. Look for a dermatologist with many years in practice or who has undergone fellowship training in subspecialties, such as skin cancer surgery or the diagnosis and treatment of hair and nail disorders.
Never be shy about asking a dermatologist how many patients they have treated with your specific condition. If you need a special procedure, find out how many of the procedures the dermatologist has performed. Ask about the complication rate of that procedure, whether the doctor has encountered those complications, and your risk of complications.
Dermatology is a complex medical specialty, but your skin doctor should be able to explain things in simple terms. You should never feel rushed during your appointment or embarrassed about asking questions.
No Sales Pitching
Dermatologists sometimes recommend ointments, creams, or other products they feel may benefit skin health, but their recommendations should never feel like a sales pitch. When a good dermatologist recommends a product, they will explain why it will be helpful.
Insurance coverage is an important factor when finding a dermatologist. Look for a dermatology clinic that participates in your plan so that you can receive the most insurance benefits and pay the least out-of-pocket costs. Ask your primary care physician for a referral if your insurance provider requires it.
Trust Your Gut
While these factors are important, trusting your gut is essential for picking the right dermatologist for you. After all, what might be the best dermatologist for one person may not be the best dermatologist for you. In addition to researching their education, experience, and credentialing, sometimes you just need to feel an instant connection with your skin doctor. You should feel comfortable talking to your dermatologist and feel an instant rapport with the dermatology team.
For more information, consult with the dermatologist at Center for Dermatology that Portland and Hillsboro, Oregon residents depend on for healthy skin.