Finding a Psoriasis Doctor

To manage your psoriasis, you’ll need ongoing care. And your treatment may change throughout your life. You may need to see a dermatologist and other specialists as well as your primary doctor.

You can get psoriasis in sensitive areas, like your genitals. So it’s important to find a doctor you feel comfortable with. Here are some tips on how to find the best doctor for you.

What Kind of Doctor Treats Psoriasis?

It’s best to see a board-certified dermatologist. That’s a skin doctor with a lot of training. But if you want an appointment quickly, you may need to see your primary doctor. They might be able to diagnose and manage your milder symptoms.

How to Find a Psoriasis Doctor

Visit your regular doctor. They can check your general health and look for other conditions related to your psoriasis. They’ll also help you find the right specialist. They might refer you to a:

  • Board-certified dermatologist. They’ll handle most of your psoriasis treatment. If you have a child with psoriasis, you may want to take them to a pediatric dermatologist. To find out if a doctor is board-certified, ask them or check the American Academy of Dermatology website.
  • Rheumatologist . This is a doctor who specializes in treating arthritis and other problems with the joints, muscles, and bones. They can treat any joint pain caused by psoriasis. That’s called psoriatic arthritis.
  • Physical therapist. Physical therapists use exercises, equipment, and hands-on techniques to help people maintain or regain proper body movement. They’ll work with you to prevent or ease pain from psoriatic arthritis.

Search for a doctor yourself. To find specialists, you can use online resources from national groups like:

If you have health insurance, check with your provider to see which doctors are covered under your plan.

Go to an academic hospital. These are medical centers that work with universities. Their dermatologists are likely to keep up with the latest medical research. That means they'll know about the newest treatments for psoriasis.

Find a medical dermatologist. Some skin doctors focus on cosmetic procedures, like Botox or laser treatment for wrinkles. They may be less experienced at treating conditions like psoriasis. Many dermatologists do both cosmetic and medical work. Look for one who has a phototherapy or excimer laser, or who often prescribes biologics.

Use telemedicine. If you live far from a dermatologist, you may be able to schedule a video or computer visit.

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Questions to Ask Your Doctor

You can treat your first appointment like a job interview, except your doctor is the candidate. You want to find a doctor who knows a lot about psoriasis. They should be able to answer any concerns you have about your treatment. Here’s a list of questions to get you started:

  • How many people with psoriasis do you treat every month?
  • Do you offer phototherapy?
  • Do you offer biologic treatment?
  • Should I take breaks from my steroid cream?

Questions Your Doctor May Ask You

Psoriasis can cause other physical or mental health problems. To get you the best treatment, your doctor may want to know:

  • How much does psoriasis affect your daily life?
  • Do you have anxiety or depression?
  • Are you tired a lot?
  • Do you have trouble using your hands and feet?
  • Do you have joint pain?
  • How well do you sleep at night?
  • Have your symptoms changed or gotten worse?

Bring up anything that’s bothering you, even if you think it’s not related to psoriasis. Tell your doctor if you have other health issues, like heart failure or multiple sclerosis. That will affect what kind of treatment they give you.

How Often Should You See Your Doctor

It depends on your condition and how long you’ve been on your current treatment. At first, your doctor may want to see you every few months. If they put you on a biologic drug, they’ll want to see you more often. You may need to check in every 6-12 weeks. Once your psoriasis is under control, you may only need to go in every 6 months.

When to Find a New Doctor

You can get a second (or third) opinion if you’re not happy with your care for any reason. You may find it harder to stick with treatment if you don’t like your doctor. And you should move on if your current treatment isn’t working but your doctor isn’t giving you other options.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Debra Jaliman, MD on April 29, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

Lindsey Bordone, MD, assistant professor of dermatology, Columbia University Medical Center.

Latanya Benjamin, MD, associate professor of pediatric dermatology, Florida Atlantic University.

American Academy of Dermatology: "Psoriasis Treatment Can Change During Each Stage of Life," "Psoriasis: Diagnosis and Treatment," "What Is A Dermatologist?"

National Psoriasis Foundation: "Addressing the Under-Treatment of Patients with Psoriasis: Results from patient surveys," "Dermatologist," "Your health care team," "Rheumatologist," "Physical therapy can help you manage PsA pain," "Shopping for a doc?" "Topical Treatments."

American College of Physicians: "Psoriasis symptoms can be tough to address."

Dermatology: "Are Your Patients Satisfied: A Systematic Review of Treatment Satisfaction Measures in Psoriasis."

American Physical Therapy Association: "Who Are Physical Therapists?"

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