Speak Clearly: Perspectives on psoriasis
The "dream dermatologist". Do they even exist, and if so, what are they like? Today I’ll tell you a little bit about the search to find my dream dermatologist, and what you should keep in mind when you start yours.
Why the right dermatologist is so important
The dermatologist is one of the most important pieces of the psoriasis puzzle. They are the start of the psoriasis story for many patients, often diagnosing them. They’ll become an expert (like you!) in managing your psoriasis. Together, you and your dermatologist will create a personalized treatment plan and regularly check in on the progress.
If the chosen treatment method does not work for you, they will shift to another one after consulting with you. This is quite normal—it is not at all uncommon for a treatment to be unsuccessful (especially in the long term), and your dermatologist should be prepared to adapt the course alongside you.
What makes a dermatologist the right one—for you?
In my experience, these traits are what makes a good psoriasis specialist and what you should look for when searching for one. These qualities may include, but are not limited to:
· They spend time with you and don’t rush your appointment
· They listen to you and ask questions to learn more
· They involve you in the diagnosis and, later, in the management plan
· They explain things to you and want you to understand everything
· You feel comfortable in their office
· They have expertise in the field of psoriasis*
*You might be a bit surprised about the last point "expertise in psoriasis". In fact, not all dermatologists have deep experience with psoriasis. A dermatologist who specializes in psoriasis will know more about the condition and new treatment options.
Keep in mind, however, one dermatologist may not embody all the traits I listed and that’s okay! What matters most is that you feel comfortable with your dermatologist and that they respect your time, show concern for your well-being and keep the lines of communication open.
Why sometimes you must break up
Do you ever have the feeling that your doctor is rushing to get you out the door after just one minute? And do you feel like they don’t listen to you, or that they seem focused on treating other diseases?
If that’s the case, you should seriously consider looking for another dermatologist. It might be hard at first, but it will be worth it once you have found your dream dermatologist. I've had many myself who were good, but either didn't take the time to listen or didn't see me as an individual person. While I lost count, I did break up a few times before finding my dream dermatologist.
Where to find the right dermatologist
But that raises the question: where do you find a new dermatologist who meets all the above criteria? My first resort for research is always the internet, where you can search for dermatologists near you. While searching, you can also look for ones that have public reviews from their patients for more information.
In addition, I exchange information with other people in the psoriasis community nearby. If you don't know anyone who is also affected by psoriasis, you can find dermatologist information in specialized Facebook groups or the websites of advocacy organizations.
Don't give up—it's worth it
The right dermatologist is the key to improving your skin to the point of reaching clear skin. After multiple break ups, I’m now working with the right dermatologist. I didn’t settle for a less than optimal solution—and let me tell you, it's worth it to leave the status quo of low expectations behind.
Get clear with your doctor
You deserve to feel confident in your skin, but how do you have a clear conversation about your psoriasis goals with your doctor? Sometimes speaking up can be the hardest part.
Your voice makes a difference
Be clear about your goals. The power to speak up, feel confident and demand the best care is within you. Sharing your story could be your next step to feeling free from psoriasis—and possibly inspire others to do the same.