Community Views: Top Qualities to Look for in a Dermatologist
Last updated: December 2022
Finding a dermatologist can be extremely difficult and may even take some time, especially after receiving a prior diagnosis of skin cancer. You want to make sure that you trust your dermatologist and know that you have their undivided attention when you go in for your visit. Many members have shared that they are on the hunt for a new specialist but have struggled to find a great one. This usually creates much more anxiety, on top of the fear of skin cancer recurrences being missed or overlooked.
What are the top qualities to look for in a dermatologist?
We asked our Facebook community: What are some of the best qualities to look for in a dermatologist? Here's what our members had to say.
"Always explains procedures, and allows me to see and read my pathology reports."
"One who checks on your well-being after a major surgery."
"Compassionate when pain is involved."
"Doesn’t mention the fact that all the years I spent in the sun are the reason I am dealing with this now."
Finding a dermatologist that is skillful is important, but finding one that's compassionate and empathetic is crucial. Having a skin check or surgery can be nerve-wracking, so seeking care from a doctor that you can trust and feel comfortable speaking to is pivotal. As many of us have experienced, skin cancer is an emotional rollercoaster ride, and having a healthcare team that understands what you're going through can make a huge difference in your care and how you feel when going into the office. However, it's important to note that we are all human, so there may be times that even our own doctors are having a bad day, but overall your visit should be a positive one!
Patient and pays attention to detail
"Good eyesight, thorough skin checks, and a willingness to biopsy."
"Not a hurried once over, a real look when performing a skin check."
"They do a thorough skin check each time you go in."
One of the most common responses to this prompt was seeking a dermatologist that takes their time doing your skin check. Many members have experienced rushed skin checks or felt that their full-body check was not as thorough as they would've liked. This usually ends up leading to a misdiagnosis and a second opinion. It's important to listen to your gut and voice your concerns if you feel like your dermatologist is not paying much attention to detail. If you are uncomfortable asking for a more thorough skin check, scheduling a visit with a different dermatologist for a second opinion can make all the difference.
A great listener
"Mine takes her time with my skin checks and listens to my concerns."
"I do a lot of reading and research, she is very willing to try something new. Or, at the very least, listen to the research I have dug up."
"I like an MD who is not threatened by my 'forthright' suggestions."
Of course, we want a dermatologist that is able to explain our results and talk through certain skin cancer treatments but having one that's also a great listener can put our mind at ease. When receiving a skin cancer diagnosis, it's natural to have tons of questions and concerns. Maintaining a non-judgemental and open relationship with our doctors encourages a safe space to share. However, at the end of the day, we are our own best advocates. Feeling comfortable to speak up during visits and asking our doctors about new treatments can make a difference in the type of care we receive.
Good reputation and desire to keep learning
"My dermatologist is forever going to workshops and classes."
"Check their background and schooling certification experience."
"Rated extremely well on quality checks!"
"One that has done at least 1 or 2 years of Mohs fellowship."
Being qualified is of utmost importance, but a physician that makes it their mission to stay updated on new treatments and research can change patient outcomes significantly. There are several advances in melanoma and skin cancer research being made, so one's dermatologist should be able to discuss any treatment breakthroughs with their patients. Along with this, many community members seeking a new dermatologist have found it helpful to look at online patient reviews before scheduling an appointment. This usually gives a better idea of what type of dermatologist they are like and what to expect at the visit.
Thank you for sharing the top qualities you look for in a dermatologist!
These are a few of the most popular responses we received. Every dermatologist is different, so it's important to make sure that you trust they are providing you with the best care possible. Sometimes it's a matter of trial and error before finding the right dermatologist, but don't give up!
Do you sunscreen in the fall?