Younger Looking Skin: How to Find the Best Dermatologist for You
When it comes to younger looking skin, your secret weapon is the right dermatologist. Of course you need an experienced doc you trust, and someone who can give you tips to suit your skin type, your lifestyle and your particular concerns (adult acne, wrinkles and fine lines, unusual moles or anything else). But there's a wide range of care out there, from skin-cancer specialists to anti-aging pros. It's not always so easy to know what to look for and which questions to ask. So to get your skin hooked up with Dr. Right-and get you the younger-looking skin you want-we tapped two board certified dermatologists, Anne Chapas, M.D., of the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York City, and Noxzema Consulting Dermatologist Hilary Reich, M.D., for their best doctor-finding tips.
Step 1 for Younger Looking Skin: Choose a Board Certified Dermatologist
Although lots of different docs offer treatments for younger-looking skin-these days even some dentists do Botox injections-only a board certified derm (board certification=years of specialized training) should be handling your skin care. "Dermatologists who have completed residency and are board certified are experts in diagnosing and treating diseases for any skin type," says Chapas. Do your homework before you visit the office by checking the American Board of Medical Specialties.
Step 2 for Younger Looking Skin: Begin With the Basics
You've never needed a dermatologist before? Lucky you! But you need to start now: Every woman needs a basic skin screening, and even if you think you know whom you need-you've noticed an unusual mole or are looking for a specific anti-aging treatment-it's best to start with a general dermatologist. She can determine if you need a specialist and refer you if necessary. "If you have a new skin growth, have moles or someone in your family has had skin cancer, it's especially important that you see a dermatologist for an evaluation," says Reich.
Step 3 for Younger Looking Skin: Find your Comfort Zone
Meet with a new dermatologist before your first full skin examination in order to gauge your level of rapport. "During the examination, all of your skin surfaces, including genitals and breast skin, may need to be examined," says Chapas, so you may prefer a female dermatologist. You must be able to have open and honest conversations with your doctor, and trust her evaluations, so if something-anything-feels off to you, look elsewhere for your care.
Step 4 for Younger Looking Skin: Ask Questions
It's your doctor's job to listen carefully to your concerns and to answer your questions; your job is to prepare so that you can get the most out of your visit. "Write down your questions beforehand so your doctor can address your particular concerns," advises Chapas. During your first consultation, adds Reich, make sure she also covers the following five basic questions:
1. How often do I need a full skin examination?
2. When do I need to worry about a new growth on my skin??
If the doctor neglects or dismisses any of these questions, ask again! If you're still not satisfied, consider finding a new dermatologist.
Step 5 for Younger Looking Skin: Keep an Eye on Costs
Younger-looking skin doesn't have to cost a bundle, and a little bit of research before you agree to any treatments or procedures can pay off. Call the dermatologist's office ahead of time to confirm that she participates in your insurance plan. Next, check with your insurance provider to find out what services are covered, so you don't find yourself stuck with a charge you can't afford. "Most insurance providers cover the office visit and any biopsies, but you may need a referral from your primary care doctor first," Chapas explains; for aesthetic or cosmetic procedures, you'll probably have to pay out of pocket. If you're uninsured, you can often negotiate your doctor's fee, and she may be able to provide you with free skin-care samples to try, or give you generic prescriptions when available.
Still stuck on where to find a good one? Visit the American Academy of Dermatology where you can search for a dermatologist by simply entering your zip code.