As the largest organ of the body, the health of your skin has an important role to play in your overall health and well-being. In addition, your skin is one of the first things people notice and its appearance can have great bearing on your confidence and self-esteem. For this reason, just about anyone can benefit from visiting a dermatologist.

But how do you go about choosing the right one?

Here are five tips to help you make that choice:

1. Identify the type of dermatologist you need

Is your reason for visiting a dermatologist medical or cosmetic? Answering this question is a great way to start your search for the right dermatologist.

A cosmetic dermatologist specializes in the aesthetic aspects of skin health. These skin specialists offer services to correct skin flaws and can help you to age gracefully. Cosmetic dermatology services may include: Botox® and Dysport® injections, fillers, laser treatments and chemical peels. Medical conditions that affect the appearance and health of the skin, hair and nails are treated by a medical dermatologist. Skin caners, acne, eczema, melanoma and psoriasis are a few examples of conditions that would be treated by a medical dermatologist.

2. Get A Referral

In order to see medical dermatologist in British Columbia, you need to have a referral from another physician. Your primary care physician will be able to refer you to someone he or she trusts for excellent dermatologic care.

If you want to see a dermatologist for your cosmetic needs, you do not require a referral. When considering a cosmetic dermatologist, you can always ask your doctor for a recommendation. Another option is to ask family members and friends for recommendations.

When asking family members and friends for recommendations, pay attention to the way they look. Has their appearance or condition improved? Does their skin look healthier? Are they happy with their experiences?

3. Do your research

When you’ve identified a potential dermatologist, research the doctor’s credentials and experience. It is important to ensure that he or she is board certified.  This tells you that the dermatologist trained in a reputable academic centre and has met the standards required to practice this subspecialty in Canada. Most cosmetic dermatologists will also have completed a fellowship with additional training in aesthetic procedures.

4. Go in for a consultation

If the doctor looks good on paper, the next step is to find out whether or not they are accepting new patients and make an appointment for a consultation. A consultation gives you the opportunity to meet with the doctor and get to know him or her better before making a commitment. While there, you may observe your surroundings and the staff at work.

5. Ask the Right Questions

When you meet with the dermatologist, you should ask questions about your treatment options, potential side effects of each, as well as cost and payment options. You’ll also want to see before and after results of patients they’ve treated to better understand what you can expect.