When it comes to skin issues, a dermatologist plays an important role in your health. Your skin acts as the body’s first line of defense against disease and is a leading force in making a good first impression. Dermatologists are expert medical doctors and skin surgeons with the unique skills and experience to offer the best care for the organ that cares for you.

A dermatologist provides specialized care for one of your body’s most important organs. Because of this, having a preferred dermatologist is just as important as choosing a primary care provider.

From education and screening to specialized treatment, dermatologists are a critical part of your overall health and wellness plan—and should be treated as such. Here’s why you should visit the dermatologist this year (and every year!) and what to expect at your next appointment.

What does a dermatologist do?

A dermatologist is “a doctor who specializes in the health of your skin, hair, and nails” according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). In fact, dermatologists can treat more than 3,000 diseases and cosmetic concerns.

From diagnosing a liver issue based on unbearable itching to simply helping someone feel confident in their own skin, a dermatologist can and does do a lot for the community.

When should you visit the dermatologist?

Pretty much any time you experience an issue with your skin, hair, or nails that you can’t fix with readily available products. While not every problem can be solved, a dermatologist can give you greater insight into the possible root cause of an issue to suggest whether or not you need help from a dermatologist or a doctor.

Some of the most common reasons our clients visit us include:

  • Moles that are changing shapes and sizes
  • Acne that won’t go away
  • Rough, scaly skin patches
  • Persistently red skin
  • Unbearable eczema 
  • Recurring cold sores
  • Bald patches

Should I see a primary care physician or dermatologist?

It depends on your situation. A primary care physician can treat minor skin issues but Dermatologists are experts in treating rashes, warts, and cysts. Because Dermatologists are skin experts, their treatment plans often provide better, long-term outcomes than seeing a primary care provider for skin concerns.   

Suppose you do go to a primary care physician first. In that case, he or she will likely refer you to a dermatologist if they have a concern about a particular spot or troublesome rosacea. Because of this, visiting a dermatologist as opposed to a primary care physician can be more affordable in the long run because you won’t have to pay for multiple visits. Keep in mind, some health insurance plans require a primary care physician referral to see a specialist and some do not. It is always best to contact your health insurance provider prior to visiting any doctor to verify coverage. 

Plus, according to information presented at an AAD annual meeting, dermatologists have a higher rate of diagnostic accuracy and efficiency. The study also found that costs for certain treatment types, including rosacea and psoriasis, are about the same regardless of where you visit.

How often should you visit the dermatologist?

You should visit the dermatologist every year. Maybe more if you experience issues like the ones mentioned above.

Starting in your 20s or 30s, or even earlier, you should start scheduling annual skin exams with your dermatologist. Yearly visits are crucial to detecting melanoma and other skin issues before they occur. In some cases, these visits can even be life-saving. Early detection is key in diagnosing and treating skin cancer.

Haven’t had a check-up in a while? Schedule your annual skin exam today!

Your annual skin exam will involve a full-body scan to look for any suspicious or unusual spots. Your results will be used as a comparison moving forward to see if there are any new issues.

We specialize in skin cancer treatment in Kansas City, St. Joseph, and surrounding areas. With more than 10,000 skin cancer surgeries performed, we have the expertise to care for any of your skin care concerns.

How much does a dermatologist cost?

It depends on the treatment and severity of your case. Our team will provide personalized care and support to make sure you’re only spending money that is required—nothing more or less.

What to expect at a dermatologist visit

If you’re visiting for an annual check-up, we always say plan to be here for an hour from check in to checkout but your dermatologist visit could be over in as little as 15 minutes. If you’re coming for skin cancer removal or surgery, it will look a bit different from situation to situation.

In general, you can expect to fill out a questionnaire about current prescriptions that you’re taking, health history, and just a general overview of your symptoms. While you may think that your health history doesn’t play a role in your acne, you may be incorrect. Your dermatologist will want to understand the full picture before creating a plan of attack.

Here are a few other things to keep in mind:

  • Come make-up free. For skin issues on the face, you should show up without any makeup on. We have cleansers for you to use to wash your face if necessary. 
  • Remove your nail polish. Most dermatologists will also take a look at your nails, so if you have polish on, it’s best to remove it ahead of your visit. 
  • Bring photos of your issues. Many skin issues come and go, so feel free to take pictures when your skin, hair, or nails are at their worst for your doctor to review. 
  • Be realistic. Your skin won’t magically clear up after one visit—so be prepared to be patient with your results.

When you visit our team at Sunflower Dermatology, you can also expect to be treated with respect and compassion. We take pride in educating our patients and customizing treatments to each individual’s specific needs. Contact us today to discuss how our team can help you have better skin for a better life®.

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