21 Nov Why Visit a Dermatologist?
You’ve got a primary care physician — that should be sufficient for skincare, right? For some people, a family doctor may not actually be the best person to help you take care of your skin. General practitioners, who have a broad range of medical knowledge, are more equipped to deal with patients who complain of a temporary rash or other irritation — not those who have ongoing issues with their skin.
Fight Acne With a Dermatologist
One of the most common skin complaints is acne. Those who suffer from this skin condition can be affected not only physically, but mentally — and they want to get rid of it fast. One of the most popular treatments for acne is isotretinoin, known more commonly as Accutane; however, only doctors who have registered with the iPLEDGE program may prescribe this medication. Because the program can be complicated for doctors, many general practitioners will opt out of registering for the program and are not allowed to prescribe it.
There are also many treatments for acne that require equipment that may be too specialized for a primary care physician’s office, such as the light therapy Clear100XL™. This light therapy treatment has been shown to improve the appearance of the skin, but you most likely will not find it at a physician — they simply don’t have the need for it.
Treat Long-term Skin, Hair and Nail Issues
Some skin conditions may require long-term monitoring and treatment, such as psoriasis. While primary care physicians may be able to identify the disease, they will often refer you to a dermatologist for care. As with acne treatments, dermatologists may have better access to medication and equipment — as well as more experience — to treat persistent skin conditions.
Additionally, most people associate dermatologists with the skin only, but they actually specialize in hair and nails as well. Some superficial issues can be treated by a physician, but dermatologists have more focused knowledge of these areas of the body. Hair loss, brittle nails and anything else that affects these areas may be better treated by a specialist.
Get Cosmetic Treatments
Some skin conditions do not present with any other symptoms besides their appearance. Because these are “cosmetic” conditions, physicians may be reluctant to treat them, or otherwise not have the capability. Varicose veins, for example, may not cause any physical discomfort. Some physicians will simply instruct you to exercise or wear compression stockings to prevent them from getting worse, but nothing will be done to get rid of the ones you have.
Dermatologists, on the other hand, are trained in the use of specific treatments to remove spider veins and varicose veins, such as sclerotherapy. Even though they’re “only cosmetic,” these skin conditions can cause serious distress — and dermatologists are trained to treat them.
Check Thoroughly for Cancer
While physicians are more than capable of performing annual skin checks, patients who have already had skin cancer or who are more likely to get skin cancer may choose to see a dermatologist instead for their yearly checkups. Dermatologists can identify worrisome moles earlier — and, should a spot turn out to be cancerous, they will be able to follow you through your treatment.
Dermatologists have a very specialized knowledge of the skin, hair and nails. Because they focus on this specific area, they’ll see patient after patient with similar issues and be able to recommend the treatment that they’ve seen work firsthand. Just like any other doctor, including primary care physicians, dermatologist must continually educate themselves on best practices, new techniques and treatments and other areas of research. If you have a recurring skin problem, visit a dermatologist to get the best results.