There are countless medical specialties today, including specialties you may have never heard of. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the complicated landscape of the medical field and look for ways to simplify it. That is why so many patients find themselves hoping their general physician is the only doctor they need for their skin, hair, and nails. Are they, though?
The truth is that there is a reason why general physicians advise that you have routine check-ups with other medical specialists too. Let’s take a look at the difference between a dermatologist and a general physician and the reasons why it’s important to see a dermatologist for your skin health needs.
Dermatologist vs. General Physician
Most people think that because their general physician has knowledge of every system of the body, they will be able to address any health concerns – including concerns about their skin health. While general physicians are extremely knowledgeable, the most effective professional to treat any aspect of your health is a specialist in that area.
Your dermatologist or dermatological physician assistant exclusively specializes in skin, hair, and nails. As specialists, we have a particularly deep understanding of these areas because we’re working with them all day, every day. These are the aspects of medicine we love most and are specially equipped to treat.
Think of your general practitioner more as the first line of defense for your health. They keep an eye on your overall health markers and look for signs of potential concerns. If they see warning signs, they direct you toward the specialist for that body system so you can get in-depth care. General physicians treat basic chronic health conditions and are the triage center of the healthcare system.
Benefits of Visiting a Dermatologist
If you don’t see a dermatologist routinely, now is the time to add them to your list of annual check-ups. There are several benefits to visiting a dermatologist for skin, hair, and nail concerns.
- Thorough preventative care for skin cancer – Skin cancer is highly common and potentially serious, so it’s important to seek preventative care. A dermatologist or dermatological physician assistant has the expertise to provide thorough skin cancer screenings and identify potentially cancerous spots at early stages.
- More efficient diagnosis for skin conditions – If you have a concern about your skin and you choose to ask your general physician, they’re most likely to refer you to a dermatologist. Unless you need this referral for insurance purposes, you can save yourself an unnecessary appointment by scheduling your appointment with a dermatologist instead.
- More efficient treatment for skin issues – Your dermatologist is a highly knowledgeable expert in skin conditions, so we have the experience to be able to diagnose and treat skin conditions more efficiently with the latest technologies and treatments available.
- More skin treatment options – While your general physician may treat skin conditions, they’re also treating countless other conditions. It isn’t practical for them to have all the technologies and equipment available for skin treatments. They may have one method available for removing moles, for example, while your dermatologist will have several methods available, including more up-to-date methods, so we can better choose the best care for you.
- In-depth treatment for hair and nails – Most people think of dermatologists as doctors for the skin, but this specialty includes hair and nails too. A dermatologist can thoroughly diagnose and treat conditions like hair loss and nail fungus in addition to skin conditions.
- More advanced technology and techniques for skin care – New developments in medical science are constant. Dermatologists are exclusively focused on the skin, hair, and nails, so we are better able to monitor and offer the latest in medical knowledge and care.
Finding a Skin Health Specialist You Trust
Whether you currently have health concerns about your skin or you only need preventative care, now is the time to start looking for a qualified professional who makes you feel comfortable. At Dermatology Associates of Atlanta, we have a team of board-certified dermatologists and physician assistants so you’re sure to find a great fit for your needs. Schedule an appointment at Dermatology Associates of Atlanta today and follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more tips and insights.