How to find a good dermatologist

By John North

Dermatologists treat more than 3,000 skin conditions, including acne, psoriasis and skin cancer, to name a few. With more than 8,500 dermatologists in the U.S., finding a trustworthy one can be nervewracking. Better Business Bureau offers tips for finding a reputable dermatologist.

Dermatology is an area of medicine concerned with the health of the skin and diseases of the hair, nails and mucous membranes. The skin is the body’s largest organ. It is the first line of defense against bacteria and injury and often reflects overall health. Dermatologists are trained to carry out skin grafts, laser treatments, the excision of lesions and more.

BBB offers these tips for finding a reliable dermatologist:

• Get recommendations from friends and family. You can also ask your primary care doctor.

• Check to see if the office accepts your insurance and what it covers.

• Consider location. Be sure doctor’s office is convenient to work or home. Also, check hours of operation, appointment policies and emergency policies.

• Ask about appointments; for example, how long in between visits and what the average waiting time is before appointments.

• Make sure the dermatologist is licensed, carries appropriate insurance and meets local and state requirements.

• Ask the dermatologist about his or her recent training and experience specifically related to your condition and your gender.

• Make sure you feel comfortable with the dermatologist. If you don’t like him or her, you’ll be less likely to schedule your next checkup. Plus, you’ll need to be able to openly discuss personal information.

• Ask if the dermatologist will delegate procedures to others. Ask about the certifications these other medical professionals hold.

• Be sure the dermatologist listens, lets you ask questions and doesn’t try to sell you something for a problem different from what you originally went in for.

• Find out if he or she is a member of an association like the American Academy of Dermatology. These associations help you find local dermatologists who know the latest trends in skin care and equipment.

• Determine if the visit and exam was thorough. If you feel the doctor was rushed or rushed you through the visit, maybe you need to find another one.

• Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to inquire about something you don’t understand.

• Remember, make sure the doctor you’re considering is board-certified. Dermatologists go to college and then medical or osteopathy school followed by an internship and three years of dermatology residency. They’ve also passed an exam. To remain certified, they must continue their education and take additional exams.

If you have any questions regarding dermatologists, you can always get help from the BBB, such as a list of BBB-accredited ones and business reviews of ones you’re considering. For information, visit or call 800-776-5301.

By John North

The writer is the president and CEO of Better Business Bureau serving Dayton and Miami Valley.

The writer is the president and CEO of Better Business Bureau serving Dayton and Miami Valley.