Tips for Choosing the Best Dermatologist
Dermatologists are specially qualified to treat people of all ages for conditions related to your skin, hair, and nails. There’s no denying that finding the right dermatologist for your needs requires time and effort
Referrals, Reviews, & Satisfaction Surveys
Take time to get referrals from family, friends, or your primary care doctor. Ask them about their experience, the facility, and how pleased they were with results. Reading reviews can provide insight into how a dermatologist interacts with patients during the consultation phase, as well as before, during, and after the procedure. Satisfaction surveys can reveal former patients’ views on scheduling, wait times, and friendliness of the staff.
Board certification tells you whether a dermatologist has the specific required training and skills for their medical specialty. It can also be used to see if the physician has a history of malpractice claims or disciplinary actions. This information can be found on most state websites. Dr. Amy Witt is a board-certified dermatologist and Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology with no history of malpractice claims or disciplinary actions
Experience & Specialization
Experience with your particular procedure or condition can contribute to better outcomes. Dermatologists can complete additional education and training for specialization. This is extremely valuable when it comes to treating certain conditions.
Research Facility Quality
Considering the facility where your procedure will take place is important for your dermatologic care if you need skin surgery. Patients at top-rated facilities may have fewer complications and better outcomes. At Derrow Dermatology, your procedure is done in our clean, state-of-the-art office.
American Academy of Dermatology
Don’t prescribe oral antifungal therapy for suspected nail fungus without confirmation of fungal infection.
Approximately half of nails with suspected fungus do not have a fungal infection. As other nail conditions, such as nail dystrophies, may look similar in appearance, it is important to ensure accurate diagnosis of nail disease before beginning treatment. By confirming a fungal infection, patients are not inappropriately at risk for the side effects of antifungal therapy, and nail disease is correctly treated.
Don’t perform sentinel lymph node biopsy or other diagnostic tests for the evaluation of early, thin melanoma because they do not improve survival.
Patients with early, thin melanoma, such as melanoma in situ, T1a melanoma or T1b melanoma ≤ 0.5mm, have a very low risk of the cancer spreading to the lymph nodes or other parts in the body. Further, patients with early, thin melanoma have a 97 percent five-year survival rate which also indicates a low risk of the cancer spreading to other parts of the body. As such, the performance of sentinel lymph node biopsy is unnecessary.
Don’t treat uncomplicated, nonmelanoma skin cancer less than 1 centimeter in size on the trunk and extremities with Mohs micrographic surgery.
In healthy individuals, the use of Mohs micrographic surgery for low-risk small (< 1cm), superficial or non-aggressive (based on appearance under a microscope) squamous cell carcinomas and basal cell carcinomas is inappropriate for skin cancers on the trunk and extremities. In these areas of the body, the clinical benefits of this specialized surgical procedure do not exceed the potential risks. It is important to note that Mohs micrographic surgery may be considered for skin cancers appearing on the hands, feet, ankles, shins, nipples or genitals, as they have been shown to have a higher risk for recurrence or require additional surgical considerations
Don’t use oral antibiotics for treatment of atopic dermatitis unless there is clinical evidence of infection.
The presence of high numbers of the Staphylococcus aureus (Staph) bacteria on the skin of children and adults with atopic dermatitis (AD) is quite common. While it is widely believed that Staph bacteria may play a role in causing skin inflammation, the routine use of oral antibiotic therapy to decrease the amount of bacteria on the skin has not been definitively shown to reduce the signs, symptoms (e.g., redness, itch) or severity of atopic dermatitis. In addition, if oral antibiotics are used when there is not an infection, it may lead to the development of antibiotic resistance. The use of oral antibiotics also can cause side effects, including hypersensitivity reactions (exaggerated immune responses, such as allergic reactions). Although it can be difficult to determine the presence of a skin infection in atopic dermatitis patients, oral antibiotics should only be used to treat patients with evidence of bacterial infection in conjunction with other standard and appropriate treatments for atopic dermatitis
Don’t routinely use topical antibiotics on a surgical wound.
Any possible reduction in the rate of infection from the use of topical antibiotics on clean surgical wounds compared to the use of non-antibiotic ointment or no ointment is quite small. Risk reduction may be overshadowed by the risks of wound irritation or contact dermatitis. When topical antibiotics are used in this setting, there is a significant risk of developing contact dermatitis, a condition in which the skin becomes red, sore or inflamed after direct contact with a substance, along with the potential for developing antibiotic resistance. Only wounds that show symptoms of infection should receive appropriate antibiotic treatment.
A melanoma survivor’s tips for finding a dermatologist
As a melanoma survivor, I know how important it is to find the right dermatologist. After all, I’ve spent my fair share of time doing just that. My husband is in the Army, and we move often. Each time, I have to find a new dermatologist. It is one of the most stressful parts of moving around for me. It takes a while to build mutual trust
Are they listening to me?
Like really listening. I spotted the abnormal mole that led to my original melanoma diagnosis. It was just a gut feeling. No, I’m not a doctor, but I do know my body and expect my dermatologist to at least listen and acknowledge my questions and concerns. In the same breath, however, I need my dermatologist to hear me when I say I’m anxious. I would have them remove all of my skin if that were a possibility! So, I also need my dermatologist to rein me in and help me determine what really needs to be examined or removed
Are they using their eyes and hands to examine my skin?
This was a tip I learned from my oncologist at MD Anderson. Good dermatologists cover every inch of your skin with not only their eyes, but with their hands as well. Skin cancers can present as tiny flesh colored bumps under the skin that can only be discovered by touch.
Look for a dermatologist focused on skin cancer or melanoma.
It probably goes without saying that I look for a dermatologist with a skin cancer specialty or extensive experience with melanoma, not a cosmetic dermatologist.
What is the dermatologist’s style as a physician?
Is the dermatologist conservative when it comes to taking off abnormal moles? Aggressive? Is he or she going to take everything off, or just wait and see? Personally, I like a healthy balance of the two styles. It just depends on what’s best for you and where you’re at in your skin cancer journey.
How to Know When You Need a Dermatologist
For a variety of reasons, many people seek professional help as a last resort to their problems. As a general rule, treating budding health conditions early leads to a quicker recovery and better overall health. This concept might be a bit better-accepted when it comes to your primary care provider and your dentist, but what about your dermatologist? The following examines the reasons why you should consider seeing a dermatologist, along with some tips on choosing the right care provider for your needs.
When should I see a dermatologist?
If you only recently began developing a mild case of adult acne, you should first try making some changes to your everyday routine. Refer to our publications on some of the top causes of acne and secrets for preventing acne to get a better idea of how you can change your lifestyle to foster clearer, healthier skin.
If your acne persists, or even gets worse, see a dermatologist immediately, rather than panicking and overloading your skin with different products and treatments. Keep in mind that wait times are often greater for specialist care providers like dermatologists.
How do I choose the right dermatologist?
This first thing you’ll want to do is review your health insurance plan and determine which dermatologists are covered under your plan. There are a number of rating sites online, such as Zocdoc and Healthgrades, that feature ratings, reviews, and other helpful information about the specialists you’re considering. You can also do some preliminary research on the official website of each practitioner.
When to Have Cosmetic Dermatology and How to Choose a Provider
If one needs a cosmetic dermatologist, it is not always easy to know if that is where one should go, or if the visit should be to another type of medical provider. The short list of issues that can be treated by an expert in cosmetic dermatology would number in the thousands. In fact, a dermatologist is able to “diagnose and treat more than 3,000 different conditions in patients of all ages, from birth to old age. These include, amongst many others, acne, eczema, skin cancer and psoriasis.” They also address issues with the nails and hair.
And a cosmetic dermatologist is also trained in the use of esthetic treatments, which means they can address everything from scars and age spots to lines, wrinkles and more. They can remove a mole, help with pigmentation, and other issues.
Yet, they are also going to be able to understand such complex matters as the structure of the face, and its layers of fat, bone, muscle and skin. They will be able to look at one’s skin and its condition and know how all of the underlying tissue is causing any problems or concerns. They will then know how to use any number of fillers, treatments, and other remedies to improve the appearance, as well as the overall health, of the skin.
Use the Internet– The Internet offers a vast amount of information andit is incredibly helpful when seeking a medical expert, including a provider of cosmetic dermatology. First and foremost, a basic search can reveal all of the local options. Take the time to click around and read the biographies of the various practitioners. One wants to see that a cosmetic dermatologist truly specializes in that field. Skip the general practitioner or other specialist offering skin treatments in addition to their actual area of specialization. Look at reviews and feedback and narrow it down only to those who really focus on cosmetic dermatology.
Look for diversity– The world of cosmetic dermatology is full of solutions and treatments, and they change all of the time. While a person definitely wants to see things like Botox on a doctor’s list of available treatments, it’s also important to see that they are getting themselves trained in the latest innovations, too. Look to see what sort of fillers and injectables they make available. Are they skilled with desirable treatments like CoolSculpting and Ultherapy (these are non-invasive devices that are used for body sculpting, including the chin and neck areas)? One wants to see that the dermatologist is taking steps to remain up to date and well versed in the latest technologies.