Our skin is our largest organ.
It has multiple functions, including regulating our temperature and defending against injury and disease.
Dermatologists are doctors with specialized knowledge of conditions affecting skin, hair, and nails.
Establishing a relationship with a trusted dermatologist is an important way to support the health of your skin and your overall well-being.
Specialist-provided healthcare may sound costly, but it doesn’t have to break the bank.
This article will explain the cost factors of and ways to save on dermatology visits.
When to See a Dermatologist
You don’t have to wait until something is wrong to see a dermatologist.
Just like our homes or cars, our bodies benefit from regular maintenance and check-ups.
Visit your dermatologist annually or once every two years for a full-body exam (sometimes referred to as a skin check).
If you notice something unusual
Sudden or unusual changes to your skin, hair, or nails are reasons to seek specialty care.
Certified dermatologists have extensive knowledge and over 12 years of education, making them a reliable resource for assessing your concerns and treating different conditions.
When a problem is persistent
Dermatology visits aren’t limited to sudden changes.
If you experience issues that last longer than a week or skin problems that cause distress, a dermatologist would be happy to try and help.
There are more than 3,000 diseases that a dermatologist can identify and treat for you.
Dermatologists can help with things like:
- Abnormal skin changes that are concerning for cancer
- Benign skin tags and moles that are aesthetically unpleasing
- Acne, rosacea, eczema, psoriasis, hidradenitis, and other inflammatory or immune-mediated skin conditions
- Hair loss
- Ingrown nails and other nail changes
- Aging skin
After initial exam by a primary care physician
It isn’t always necessary to visit a dermatologist—sometimes your primary care physician (PCP) can help.
Contact dermatitis, bug bites, and shingles are a few issues you can bring to your PCP first if you aren’t experiencing emergency symptoms.
For lesions that are concerning for cancer, though, biopsy may be required, and it would be best to start with a dermatologist, as they will ensure any incision heals aesthetically and can monitor the area through time.
Cost for a Dermatologist Visit
Just like a doctor’s visit, the cost for seeing a dermatologist can vary greatly depending on the services provided during the appointment and whether you have insurance coverage or are paying out of pocket.
For those with health insurance, the average copay for a specialist visit is $40.
Those without insurance will likely pay more than that for an initial visit.
In some cases, you may be referred to a dermatologist with a specific focus in fields such as:
- Pediatric dermatology
- Dermatologic surgery
- Aesthetic dermatology
You can expect to pay more in areas with a higher cost of living.
Similarly, areas with a higher concentration of specialists are likely to provide a wider range of pricing compared to areas with few options.
Whether you visit a local dermatologist or travel to see one, consider the travel expenses as part of the overall cost.
Sometimes, even with travel costs, you can save money if the cost of out-of-town care is considerably lower than your local provider.
Depending on your situation, you may be able to consult a dermatologist via telehealth.
During this type of remote visit, the dermatologist can address your concerns and provide feedback and expert advice.
Remote care can be more affordable and convenient than traditional office visits.
Insurance coverage is the biggest factor in the final cost of a dermatology visit.
Specifically, whether you have health insurance and if the services provided are covered in your healthcare plan.
Plan pricing can vary, though, so reviewing your specific coverage details will give you the best idea for cost.
You can also contact the office you wish to visit to see if they accept your insurance and get a price estimate.
Medical coverage not only affects the cost of service, but it can also be influenced by location.
It may be worth traveling for an in-network dermatologist, because the cost of an out-of-network specialist visit can add up (taking into account the visit, procedures, pathology, and follow up).
Factors that Influence the Cost of a Dermatologist Visit
There are multiple factors that affect the cost of dermatology care:
- Health insurance coverage: Pricing varies based on whether or not you have insurance. When you’re insured, premiums, deductibles, and out-of-pocket expenses factor into your bill. Out-of-network providers may cost more or simply be excluded from coverage.
- Services: Surgical procedures and testing will cost more than a screening, which you may be able to access for free.
- Specialized vs. general dermatology: Appointments with specialized dermatologists may cost more than those with a general dermatologist. The education and procedural tools of field-specific dermatology can add up to a higher bill.
- Location: Accessibility and cost of living affect the price associated with a dermatology visit. While proximity may include better coverage, costs change by location.
- Remote care: Dermatology clinics offering telemedicine can share photos you provide with the dermatologist to analyze at their convenience. This convenience plays a role in scheduling and office overhead, all factoring into the overall cost.
How to Save Money
If you are worried about the cost of dermatology visits, you can manage those costs in a few ways:
- Consider your needs: Your PCP may be able to treat less-pressing concerns. They can also recommend a dermatologist if specialty care is needed.
- Shop around and call ahead: Competitive pricing can lead you to more affordable care. Call clinics ahead of time and ask about estimated pricing for the services you need.
- Inquire about payment plans: When you contact a dermatology office for their pricing, ask about possible payment plans and discounts. Paying in batches instead of upfront can help you manage your monthly expenses.
- Prevent bigger bills: Regular check-ups can catch concerning conditions early before they progress, thus leading to fewer long-term expenses.
- Consider remote care: Telemedicine can reduce out-of-pocket costs while saving you time. A study in Portugal showed pre-surgical conventional office visits to be over two times more expensive than telehealth visits.
- Find financial assistance: There are many free and low-cost resources if you don’t have health insurance or simply don’t have the funds to cover medical expenses. A little research can go a long way to covering costs.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Is it worth seeing a dermatologist?
Our skin is essentially the container of our body and can act as a visual gateway to our internal health. For example, you may seek a dermatologist's opinion on a recurring rash and discover a liver condition. Routine visits to these specialists can improve our quality of life and save us from possibly fatal conditions. For these reasons, preventative care and careful monitoring of your skin is a worthwhile practice.
What does a dermatologist do on a first visit?
On a first visit, the dermatologist will need to get an understanding of your skin’s microbiome. They might begin by asking questions about your personal and medical history. Personal history includes information about your diet, exercise, sleep, and daily activities. Medical history is just as important when it comes to skin health. A medical questionnaire may include topics covering current medical conditions, medications, health history. family health, smoking, and suntanning habits. Once the dermatologist has a better understanding of your skin history and any concerns you may have, they’ll conduct a full-body examination by thoroughly examining your skin from head to toe. It may feel a little awkward, but they are trained professionals who do this daily. Let them know if you feel nervous, and they will do their best to meet your level of comfort. If the dermatologist finds something unusual during the examination, they may ask to take a biopsy, which is a simple investigative procedure where a small sample of the skin is removed to diagnose possible skin conditions.
K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.
K Health has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references.
Immune functions of the skin. (2011.)
Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI)--a simple practical measure for routine clinical use. (1994.)
What Is a Dermatologist? (n.d.)
Health Insurance Premiums, Deductibles, Copays and Coinsurance. (2020.)
The Ultimate List of Medical Specialties and Subspecialties. (2021.)
Find a free skin cancer screening. (n.d.)
Patients’ out-of-pocket expenses analysis of presurgical teledermatology. (2019.)
Becoming a dermatologist may earn you a high income. According to Indeed data, the national average salary for a dermatologist is $288,505 per year . As you gain more experience in the profession, your income may continue to grow.What do dermatologists do? ›
A dermatologist is a medical doctor who specializes in conditions that affect the skin, hair, and nails. Whether it's rashes, wrinkles, psoriasis, or melanoma, no one understands your skin, hair, and nails better than a board-certified dermatologist.How much does a dermatologist consultation cost in India? ›
The cost of Dermatology in India varies from ₹ 500 to ₹ 600 in 2 cities of India.How much does it cost to see a dermatologist for acne in Philippines? ›
|Derma Check Up||Price|
|Skin allergy testing||3,000 to 5,000 PHP|
|Dermatitis screening||2,500 to 4,000 PHP|
|Psoriasis screening||3,000 to 5,000 PHP|
|Acne evaluation||2,000 to 3,000 PHP|
At the end of the day, your dermatologist is your trusted source of information when it comes to taking care of your skin. Choosing the right skincare products, such as sunscreen, and completing regular skin cancer screenings through your dermatologist can help keep your skin healthier for longer.Why is seeing a dermatologist so hard? ›
Click here to see which states we're in. One of the main reasons for long wait times is a simple issue of supply and demand. The US is experiencing a shortage of dermatologists, particularly in rural areas where patients may need to travel long distances to access a dermatologist.