Deciding when to go to a dermatologist the waters may be unclear. However, you can visit a skin specialist for anything ranging from acne to scary-looking moles.
If you are suffering from skin issues then you are probably wondering what to do about it. You’ve probably considered over the counter medications, lotions, or cleansers. While those might work for some people, others need something more than that. Some people actually need to see a specialist in order to treat their skin condition. The question becomes, do you really need to see a dermatologist or is there another type of health care provider that you can see?
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There are lots of health care providers that can help you with almost any issue that you have. But whether or not one of these skilled workers can help you is dependent on what your condition is. You really need to start with your regular medical provider. If you see a nurse practitioner or a physician’s assistant normally, that’s fine. You should talk to your provider about your condition. You need to be able to talk to your provider seriously and know that he isn’t just going to blow you off as someone looking for pity. Even if you are unsure if this doctor is qualified to treat your condition, go ahead and ask. If he can’t treat the issue he may direct you to a dermatologist instead.
Should you go to your primary care provider over every little thing? Not necessarily, if you develop a new rash that goes away just as quickly as it developed then there is nothing to worry about. Your doctor wouldn’t recommend you go to a specialist for something as minor as a little irritation. But if you develop a new rash that hangs around for a day or two then your primary care provider is a great place to start. He can probably treat something as simple as an allergic reaction or contact with a poisonous plant (i.e. poison ivy). If it’s a chronic rash or something that has been ongoing for a long time, then you will probably need to see a professional.
If you suffer from acne you can visit with your primary care professional, but he might not be able to do more than suggest over-the-counter products. This is when you should head to a dermatologist. He can offer you other treatments, topical ointments, and medications that can help you control your breakouts. If you suffer from a form of acne called rosacea then he can help you control your flare-ups, keeping the flushed look from taking over your life.
A dermatologist is a specialist and you may eventually need to go that route to handle your skin issues. One simple rash doesn’t require the hands of a specialist. Long-term chronic skin conditions, cancers, and other skin, hair, nail, or scalp diseases are handled by this type of physician. If you are unsure whether your skin issue should be checked out by a specialist, start with your primary care physician. He can take a look at the problem and determine whether it is a simple fix or if someone with more training needs to handle your case.