Dermatologists, or skin care doctors, have expertise in the care of normal skin as well as in the prevention and treatment of a wide variety of skin conditions, including skin cancers.
Dermatologists also diagnose and treat people with disorders affecting the hair and nails. In addition, dermatologists are knowledgeable in the management of cosmetic disorders of the skin (for example, hair loss, scars, and wrinkles).
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that is characterized by patches of itchy, scaly, and sometimes inflamed skin.
Although they can appear anywhere, these patches -- called plaques -- are most likely to crop up on the knees, elbows, hands, feet, scalp, or back. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the fingernails and toenails become pitted in about half of all active psoriasis cases. Up to 30% of people with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis, which causes pain, swelling and stiffness...
If you are looking for a dermatologist, start by asking your general practitioner which dermatologists he or she would recommend. You also may want to check with the American Academy of Dermatology, which maintains lists of board-certified doctors. Another resource may be the medical school at a university near you. Many dermatologists work at a university hospital alongside resident physicians who are in training to be a dermatologist. If you are a patient at a university hospital your dermatologist may also have a resident physician and or a medical student along with them for your visit. Many faculty members also have private practices in your area.
Tips to Consider When Choosing a Dermatologist
When considering a dermatologist, here are some questions to ask:
Does your office accept my insurance?
If I notice a problem, how quickly can I get an appointment?
Do you have patient references available?
Do you have evening or weekend hours?
Does the doctor have a particular area of interest?
How many times have you performed this specific procedure?
SOURCES: Bruce E. Strober, MD, PhD. Associate Director of Dermatopharmacology, Department of Dermatology, New York University School of Medicine; Co-Director of the Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Center; consultant for Amgen, Biogen, Genentech, Fujisawa, and 3-M. Jeffrey M. Weinberg, MD, Director of the Clinical Research Center, St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, New York City; Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons; consultant for Amgen and Genentech. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases web site. American Academy of Dermatology web site. WebMD Medical Reference with Healthwise: "Psoriasis." American Academy of Dermatology, PsoriasisNet web site. National Psoriasis Foundation web site. Abel, E. "Dermatology III: Psoriaisis," ACP Medicine, April, 2005.