Best Online Dermatologists

How to choose the online dermatologist for you

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With the average wait time of 32 days to see a dermatologist in most major metropolitan areas, it’s easy to wonder if there is a more accessible option, according to Becker’s Hospital Review. Enter the online or virtual dermatology option: These platforms allow you to receive a response regarding skincare concerns usually within 24 hours of submission. We’ve chosen some of the best online dermatologists services to save you the research. 

Patients across the country consult an online dermatologist for a number of skin concerns, including acne, rashes, scarring, and suspicious moles. And, in fact, a review of more than 204 publications about dermatology and telehealth published in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology found that telemedicine is a “reliable consultation tool” for patients with skin concerns.

There are some regulations around dermatology and telehealth: Some states allow dermatologists to only provide consultations in the states they’re licensed for. If you’re ready to try out an online dermatology service, we’ve reviewed more than 20 of the most popular ones.

Best Online Dermatologists

Best Overall : DermatologistOnCall

DermatologistsOnCall

DermatologistsOnCall

Why we chose it: No appointments required, 24/7 access, and a flat $75 fee per visit make this online dermatology site our top pick.

What We Like
  • Service available in all 50 states with 24/7 access to board-certified dermatologists

  • Costs a flat $75 per visit

  • Select your own dermatologist from those near your or another of your choosing

What We Didn't Like
  • Service will not consult for those who are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or nursing

  • Not all states have video call options available; it depends upon regulations

  • Does not accept insurance

DermatologistOnCall is a website that provides online dermatology services to those of all ages (children under age 18 will need a parent or legal guardian to use the platform). For a flat rate of $75, a board-certified dermatologist will provide advice and prescriptions when needed for more than 3,000 skin conditions. The company accepts all major credit cards as well as payments from health savings accounts, flexible spending accounts, and health reimbursement accounts. 

The site offers video calls with dermatologists depending upon the state where a person lives and regulations (the site specifies that some states require a video call to complete the online visit, but doesn’t name specific states). You can access the platform via a computer, tablet, or smartphone, but the company doesn’t have a specific app you have to download. 

Another aspect we liked was the continuity of care on the platform. If you have a follow-up question about the diagnosis or treatment plan, you can message the dermatologist within 30 days after you first received a response. 

Dermatology consults are available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. When you submit your dermatology concern, you can choose the dermatologist nearest you or select another dermatologist. If you select a specific dermatologist, you will hear back within three business days. If you choose an available dermatologist, you’ll hear back within 24 hours.

Best Budget : First Derm

First Derm

First Derm

Why we chose it: At $29.95 per visit, First Derm was one of the least expensive options while also offering an easy-to-follow process.

What We Like
  • Prices start at $29

  • Utilizes an app or web-based form to send two images of affected area

What We Didn't Like
  • Does not utilize online appointment; written response only

  • No prescriptions provided

First Derm is an online dermatology site where you can use either a mobile app (available for both Apple and Google Play) or a web-based platform to submit your skincare concern. In terms of cost, this was one of the most economical: $29 for most consultations. The site lists their dermatologists who consult on the submitted cases, and all are board-certified. 

The process involves submitting two photos: a close-up of your skincare concern (4 inches away) and an image at least 12 inches away. Fill out information related to your symptoms, pay the case fee (most major credit cards and HSAs accepted), and a dermatologist will review your case. You’ll get an answer with potential causes and recommended treatments. First Derm’s doctors will respond in as fast as 8 hours, according to their website. 

While First Derm doctors don’t provide prescriptions, the site reports that 80 percent of cases require over-the-counter treatments only. The site’s services are available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. They also provide consultations in other languages, including German, Spanish, and Italian.

Best for Acne Treatments : Apostrophe

Apostrophe

 Apostrophe

Why we chose it: Offers low-cost, confidential dermatology appointments directed specifically for those concerned about acne blemishes.

What We Like
  • $20 consultations, and you can put the money toward product purchases

  • Site specializes in facial skincare concerns, especially acne

  • Apostrophe has its own pharmacy so you can get prescriptions directly

What We Didn't Like
  • Site sells their own products, so you’ll likely be prompted to purchase items

  • Available in 37 states

Apostrophe is an online dermatology company that promises “gimmick-free acne treatment.” The dermatologist will consult with you regarding your skincare concerns and recommend acne treatments within 24 hours of receiving your skincare case. Plus, the site has its own pharmacy, so you can get prescription acne treatments delivered straight to your doorstep. 

Apostrophe is a little different from many of the other sites on our list as the site focuses on five main skincare areas: acne, eyelashes, wrinkles, hair loss, and rosacea. If you’re looking for concerns about affected areas on your body (like a rash, eczema, or psoriasis), you’ll need to choose another platform. 

Unfortunately, Apostrophe only offers its services in 37 states. They list the states they treat specific skincare concerns in on their website, so it’s a good idea to review the list before trying to make a purchase. Doctors can prescribe treatments for acne as well as hair loss for men (such as finasteride) or the eyebrow growth serum Latisse. Because they sell their own treatments, keep in mind that the dermatologists may encourage you to buy products. 

Apostrophe provides treatments for those ages 13 and up (under age 18 must have a guardian’s consent). We like this idea as many people with acne may be concerned about seeing a doctor or embarrassed about talking about their acne. This platform offers a confidential option where you don’t have to wait to get your acne treated.

Best for Last-Minute Appointment : SkyMD

SkyMD

 SkyMD

Why we chose it: SkyMD provides virtual appointments on a 24/7 basis and also accepts insurance plans and provides prescriptions.

What We Like
  • Website acts as a “virtual walk-in clinic”

  • Works with many major insurance plans

  • Provides prescriptions, if needed

What We Didn't Like
  • Does not list their dermatologists on their website

  • Had prices listed up to $199; more expensive than some other sites

SkyMD is a web- and mobile-based application that’s available on Apple and GooglePlay. We liked their platform because they advertise it as a “virtual walk-in” clinic with no wait times. They offer their services in all 50 states, and you can log in any time to start the process of speaking with one of their board-certified dermatologists. SkyMD provides services to those of all ages, but a parent or guardian must provide consent before the platform’s doctors will treat a minor. 

You have two options when you start a new visit: You can choose to upload photos of the skin condition in question or opt for a live videoconference. Once you register for an account, you can browse a list of doctor profiles from the ones that provide services in your state. However, the website doesn’t list any of their dermatologists other than the founder on the main pages. If you select a specific provider, you may have to wait slightly longer. Once you have chatted or received a diagnosis from your doctor, you can still chat with them virtually for up to 7 days after you received your initial diagnosis. 

SkyMD accepts many major insurance plans, including UnitedHealthcare, Aetna, Medicare, and Anthem. You’ll need to check to ensure you are in-network with SkyMD. If you don’t have or don't want to use insurance, SkyMD will give you a quote on your visit price after you sign up. According to their website, the average non-insurance pricing is $89, but we did see prices listed up to $199. 

We also liked that SkyMD doctors will write prescriptions should you require one. The company can submit prior authorizations for medications to ensure your insurance will pay for the medication, but this can extend the time for when the medication is available to 3 to 14 days after your visit.

Best for Insured Patients : DirectDerm

DirectDerm

 DirectDerm

Why we chose it: DirectDerm accepts many major insurance plans, including UnitedHealthcare and Medicare as well as providing services from board-certified dermatologists.

What We Like
  • Accepts many major insurance providers as well as Medicare

  • The service also accepts health savings account (HSA) payments

  • Offers both a web and mobile platform

What We Didn't Like
  • Only provides services in select states: California, Hawaii, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Oregon

  • Services are usually photo-based, but may schedule online appointment

DirectDerm offers dermatologist consultations via cell phone or computer through a secure platform. We selected DirectDerm because they accept many major insurance companies, including UnitedHealthcare and Medicare. If DirectDerm doesn’t accept your insurance, the consultation fees start at $95, and they do accept health savings account (HSA) payments as well. 

Once you submit a “case” or images and description of your skin concern, you can expect to hear back within 48 hours from the DirectDerm doctors who provide comprehensive treatment plans, including prescriptions. The site advertises the dermatologist will work with you to review your insurance company’s formulary to select medications that can be the lowest-cost. 

DirectDerm accepts adult and pediatric patients, but a guardian must submit the case on behalf of a person younger than age 18. While DirectDerm is working on expanding its services, as of January 2021 they only offer consultations to those who are residents or are currently in the following states: California, Hawaii, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Oregon. 

Most interactions with DirectDerm involve submitting a photo or photos and getting a response. If a dermatologist does have more questions, they may contact you to submit additional photographs or schedule a consultation.

Best Pediatric Care : Teladoc

DirectDerm

 DirectDerm

Why we chose it: Teladoc’s platform provides pediatric dermatology services in an ASAP visit and scheduled visit format.

What We Like
  • Provides pediatric dermatology services as well as other pediatric care

  • Offers ASAP and scheduled visits

  • Accepts insurance and flat fee of $95 without insurance

What We Didn't Like
  • Site does not advertise specific insurance policies accepted

  • Must set up an account to receive a dermatology cost estimate

Teladoc is a telemedicine platform that provides dermatology services in addition to general medical, mental health, and wellness services. We liked this service for pediatric patients because they allow a family to use one account to access their services. They also have board-certified pediatricians so families have a one-stop site to access several healthcare needs. 

On the dermatology side, Teladoc requires you to create an online or app-based account, then select what service types you need. They do accept insurance policies but do not advertise specific policies they accept. If you don’t have insurance, you can get a cost estimate for a dermatology visit once you set up your account; Teladoc advertises that most case reviews cost about $95. Depending upon your state and its regulations, the site’s doctors do issue prescriptions. 

Once you have an account, upload images of your skincare concern along with a health history. You will usually hear back within two days of submitting your case. The site also allows you to ask follow-up questions for up to a week once you receive your results. 

Teladoc services are currently available in the United States and Canada.

Best App-Based Service : iDoc24

iDoc24

 iDoc24

Why we chose it: iDoc24’s app-based service requires three steps to consult with a dermatologist and you get results fast, within 24 hours.

What We Like
  • App-based program is easy to use

  • Receives response within 24 hours

  • Identifies adult’s and child’s dermatology concerns

What We Didn't Like
  • Does not provide prescriptions for treatments

  • Does not accept insurance

iDoc24 is an app-based service that allows you to consult a dermatologist regarding a particular rash or spot on your skin (or a child). The service is available on Apple and GooglePlay in 160 countries and in seven languages. We liked the service for its accessibility, anonymity, and low cost. 

To use the service, download the app, share a picture or pictures of the area of concern, and fill out the information about the symptoms you’re experiencing. Within 24 hours, you’ll hear back from a board-certified dermatologist. The service promises anonymity and confidentiality, which is helpful if the area of concern is in a delicate one. 

The costs for the service vary based on how fast you’d like to hear back. For example, the consultation cost starts at $40 if you’d like to hear back within eight hours of submitting your concern. You can pay for the service via PayPal; the app does not accept insurance, but fortunately, the costs are lower. 

Your response from a dermatologist will include what the area is most likely to be as well as potential treatments. If a prescription is needed, you’ll need to follow up with your doctor.

Final Verdict

As dermatology is a highly visual medical discipline, telemedicine and telehealth have emerged as a popular option for seeing a dermatologist. There are many online dermatology sites to choose from, most of which offer app- and mobile-based consultation services. Often, the decision on which app to choose comes down to whether you’d like to use insurance, may require a prescription, or what you are willing to pay.

Compare Providers

Site Why We Picked It Costs
DermatologistOnCall Best Overall $75 per visit
First Derm Best Budget Starts at $29.95
Apostrophe Best for Acne Treatments $20, which can be credited toward prescription purchases
SkyMD Best for Last-Minute Appointments $89 (non-insurance pricing)
DirectDerm Best for Insured Patients $95 if not covered by insurance
Teladoc Best for Pediatric Care $95 without insurance 
iDoc24 Best App-Based Service Starts at $40

FAQs

How Do Online Dermatologists Differ From in-Office?

Dermatologists, whether online or in-office, have attended medical school and participated in specialized training in skincare and skin conditions. However, there are some differences in how a dermatologist may be able to inspect a skin area. For example, an online dermatologist cannot touch, press on, or sample the affected area. An online dermatologist can, however, visually inspect the area and ask questions about the area of concern. 

Online dermatologists also may have some limitations in regards to medications they are able to prescribe. This will depend upon the company’s platform and business model. Online dermatologists also cannot remove affected areas, such as a mole. You would have to see a doctor in-office for these services. 

What Is the Average Cost Associated With Online Dermatologists?

We reviewed more than 20 websites that offer online dermatologist services and found prices ranged from $20 to about $200. The costs often depend upon the service: Speaking to a dermatologist via videoconference will usually cost more than waiting to receive a response from submitted photos. 

Almost all websites asked you to provide payment before receiving services, which helps you to know upfront about any costs associated with an online consultation. 

Are Appointments Available On-Demand?

The availability of appointments for online dermatologists often depends upon the site offering the services. For example, some sites operate under limited hours during the week while others sites operate on an almost around-the-clock basis. 

You may be required to submit a photo of the skin condition you have a question about and you will receive information back within a certain time period, such as after a couple of days. 

Are There Any Conditions They Won’t Treat online? 

Most online dermatology services will advertise they don’t treat emergency-related dermatology conditions. This could include bleeding areas, cuts, or other injuries that would likely need immediate medical attention. 

Doctors also can’t treat medical conditons that may require a biopsy, or in-person test that involves taking a sample of skin cells. For example, a person may need a biopsy if they are concerned an area of their skin could be cancerous or pre-cancerous. However, an online dermatologist could examine the skin area and recommend if a person should continue to seek follow-up care. 

Do Online Dermatologists Accept Insurance? 

Some online dermatologists accept insurance for their services while others do not. Also, some may accept payments from a health savings account or flexible spending account. These are non-taxed dollars that a person can set aside to help pay for healthcare expenses. 

You can usually read in advance what the payment stipulations are for a telemedicine visit. If you aren’t certain that your insurance will pay, contact your insurance company in advance to obtain a list of telemedicine providers. 

Can Online Dermatologists Prescribe Medication? 

Yes, online dermatologists can prescribe medications. Their ability to do so may vary by state and the site you utilize. If they do write you a prescription, it may be for an online pharmacy or you may need to take the prescription to your pharmacy of choice. 

If an online dermatologist does write a prescription for you, it's important that they explain exactly what the prescription is for, how to use it, and any side effects you should be aware of. You should also receive information on how to follow up with them should you have questions or an adverse reaction. 

Methodology 

We reviewed 20 companies that offer online dermatology services before narrowing our choices down to the best in eight categories. Factors we took into account included whether the site utilized board-certified dermatologists, if payment options were clearly explained and displayed, the ease of using their platform, and accessibility across the United States. Whenever possible, we chose platforms that could provide prescription treatments as well as those that offered responses in less than 24 hours.

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Article Sources
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  1. Beckers Hospital Review. American Dermatology Wait Times. Updated June 5, 2017.

  2. Trettel A, Eissing L, Augustin M. Telemedicine in dermatology: findings and experiences worldwide - a systematic literature reviewJ Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2018;32(2):215-224. doi:10.1111/jdv.14341