You’ve likely seen advertisements for local dermatologists accompanied by stunning before-and-after photos of patients, along with testimonials claiming how their life has been changed by their treatment.
Unfortunately, you won’t find the best dermatologist clinic in your area by following the photos. Many people believe that seeing is believing, but seeing photos isn’t the same as seeing the real thing, and it’s important to take them with a grain of salt.
Someone with incredible before-and-after photos is either the best dermatologist around or the best PhotoShopper. There’s no consistent way for the average person to tell if a picture has been doctored to make a patient’s results seem extraordinary. This means that you can never trust a dermatologist’s before-and-after photos to be genuine.
The other problem with before-and-after photos, even if they aren’t doctored, is that they represent the smallest possible sample size of a dermatologist’s business. The images you see are the best of the best. You don’t know how the other patients who got the procedure came out, or whether the patient you’re looking at is just a fluke success.
Any dermatologist is going to have an overwhelming success with at least one patient, but that’s insignificant to your care. You need to know that your dermatologist gets significant results over a wide range of patients. You’re just not going to get that information from a single set of before-and-after photos.
You’ll have a much better chance checking out online reviews that the dermatologist can’t control. The best dermatologist reviews you can look at are from people who are similar to you who were looking for the same treatments and seem to have the same values. You can also ask friends and co-workers for recommendations so you know you’re getting an unfiltered opinion.
You can also go to the American Academy of Dermatology website, AAD.org, which lists Board-certified dermatologists in your area. See this reference for more.