Dermatologists diagnose and treat over 3,000 different conditions and diseases related to the skin, hair, and nails. They are specifically trained to treat a variety of skin conditions including acne, eczema, psoriasis, rashes, rosacea, skin cancer, wrinkles, age spots, and hair loss. Everyone can benefit from seeing a dermatologist, no matter what age they are. But what makes a good dermatologist?

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To become a dermatologist, 12 years of post-secondary education including a minimum of 3 years in a dermatology residency program are required. This ends up being ~12,000 to 16,000 patient hours. Not all dermatologists are created equal. Finding the right dermatologist for you and your skin is very important and is worth taking the time to do it. When you are searching for your dermatologist, make sure you do your research online and look at patient reviews either on Google or their Facebook page. Additionally, pay attention to these 5 factors:

 

1. Are they board certified?

 

The most important factor to consider when choosing your dermatologist is board certification. This means that the American Board of Dermatology has determined that the dermatologists meet the following criteria:

 

  • Has a valid license to practice medicine
  • Completed medical school, the required internship hours, and an Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (accredited dermatology residency program)
  • Passed the exams given by the American Board of Dermatology, American Osteopathic Board of Dermatology, or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada

 

The easiest way to find out if a dermatologist is board certified is to search for their name at the following link: https://find-a-derm.aad.org/

 

2. Are they specialized?

 

Some board-certified dermatologists complete additional education and training to specialize in certain areas such as Mohs surgery, dermatopathology, pediatric dermatology, or rashes such as psoriasis, rosacea, and eczema. The additional fellowship training that these specialists go through can be very valuable and helpful in properly treating specific conditions. If you have a specific skin condition, such as psoriasis, consider seeking out a psoriasis or rash specialist as they have the most education and formal training in treating the disease.

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3. How is their bedside manner?

 

Bedside manner is based on how comfortable patients feel when interacting with their doctor. When you are searching for your dermatologist, find one who has a communication style and personality that works well with your own. When you are reading online reviews, pay close attention to any that mention feeling rushed, as the best dermatologists will take the time to fully address your questions, concerns, and explain all your treatment options. Your skin is a huge part of your confidence and sense of self, so it can be a sensitive or emotional topic to talk about. You want to make sure you feel completely comfortable working with your dermatologist so you can get the best treatment plan and care for your skin.

 

4. Do they offer after hours care?

 

For some patients, it is important to have the option of contacting their dermatologist after typical office hours, sometimes during the evenings or weekends. Many dermatologists offer on-call services to handle any emergencies, such as allergic reactions. As a patient, you should never feel that you have no one to call if an emergency arises after hours.

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5. What insurance do they accept?

 

To avoid out of pocket expenses, make sure any dermatologists you are considering qualify as a provider with your current health insurance policy. Make sure you contact your health insurance provider to check the status of payment with the provider you choose. If your insurance plan requires a referral for specialists, you might need to get one from your primary care physician.

 

If you are looking for a dermatologist in Grand Rapids, you’re in luck! Dr. Kristi Hawley is not only a board-certified dermatologist, she is also a psoriasis and rash expert. She is known for her impeccable bedside manner, as she truly cares about all of her patients. Plus, she has had advanced training to provide her patients with top-notch aesthetic and cosmetic medicine! Click the button below to make an appointment today!

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