How to Find the Right Dermatologist to Treat Acne

Need to find a dermatologist to help you treat acne? From acne treatments to scar reduction, your dermatologist should be a knowledgeable and friendly partner.

But looking for a dermatologist, if you’ve never seen one before, can seem intimidating. With just a little legwork, though, you can find the right dermatologist for you. Start off by asking these questions.

A woman smiling at the dermatologist's office
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Who Does Your Primary Care Physician Recommend?

You have a great resource available to you in your primary care physician. Why not get his or her opinion on a dermatologist? Your primary care doc can steer you in the right direction, or at least give you a starting point.

And don’t forget to ask the nurses and front office staff. They often hear other patients’ experiences, so they have great insights and recommendations as well.

Do They Accept Your Insurance?

Obviously, this is a big one. If the dermatologist’s office doesn’t accept your insurance, it will almost definitely be a deal breaker for you.

Acne treatments are usually covered by insurance. But be aware that cosmetic procedures usually are not.

Are you interested in having cosmetic procedures, like laser hair removal or anti-aging chemical peels, done as well? Ask what the medical professional charges for these procedures. The prices can vary depending on where you go. Even if you’re not interested in these procedures now, if there’s a possibility you may be in the future it’s good to compare prices.

For any treatment, cosmetic or otherwise, let the dermatologist’s office know right away if you’ll be paying out of pocket. Your healthcare provider can help you keep costs down, by prescribing generic drugs for example, or working with you on payments.

Does the Dermatologist Have a Specific Area of Expertise?

All dermatologists specialize in the treatment of skin, hair, and nails. Many dermatologists specialize even further and have a specific area of expertise. For example, some dermatologists specialize in treating psoriasis, nail disorders, or aging-related skin issues. The dermatologist may have had extra schooling in this area, or simply have a lot of experience treating patients with a particular problem.

Although any dermatologist can treat acne, you’ll feel more satisfied with a dermatologist who specializes in acne treatments, rather than one who is known more for treating hair loss or skin cancer.

Are the Office Hours Accommodating to Your Schedule?

If your work schedule makes it impossible to get away during the day, make sure the dermatologist has evening or weekend appointments available.

Ask how long it takes to get an appointment. Yes, we understand that all good healthcare providers are busy. But if you have a problem, how quickly can you be seen?

If you love this dermatologist, you may be willing to wait. Better to know upfront that it could take a bit of time before they can get you in than to be surprised when you call for an appointment. Of course, if it’s necessary your practitioner should be able to see you quickly.

Do You Feel Comfortable With This Person?

You must feel able to ask questions, voice your concerns, and be completely honest about all your health issues. A good relationship with your dermatologist is important.

Ask yourself what is important to you in a healthcare provider. You may appreciate a practitioner with a blunt, no-nonsense personality. Or maybe you need a healthcare provider that has a softer approach.

Do you feel rushed during your appointment? Do you like the practitioner’s bedside manner? Sometimes two people just don’t click. If you feel like you need to “fire” your current dermatologist in favor of a new one, that’s OK. Find someone you feel comfortable with to get the best possible results from your appointments.

A Word From Verywell

It's normal to feel intimidated or unsure at the prospect of seeing a new healthcare provider of any type. Just know that seeing a dermatologist is an important step on your path to clear skin. Knowing what to expect at your first appointment can help allay any unease, so don't be afraid to ask the office staff when you're making your appointment.

Finding the right dermatologist is just the first step, though. Make sure that you’re prepared for your appointment, and follow through with the treatment plan your new dermatologist gives you. These two things will help you to get great results from your dermatology appointment.

By Angela Palmer
Angela Palmer is a licensed esthetician specializing in acne treatment.