Admit it. You only think of making an appointment with a dermatologist when there's a problem—a new mole or a rash that won't go away. But a visit to a derm should be on your annual to-do list right along with seeing your ob-gyn. Dermatologists are your first line of defense in treating everything from adult acne and hair loss to hyper-pigmentation and ingrown hairs. And they can be lifesavers, screening for early signs of skin cancer. But before you make an appointment, do your research, ask questions and get referrals. We sure did. For years we've been seeking out the advice of the best doctors in the field. Below are the derms we've given our ESSENCE stamp of approval.
Wendy E. Roberts, M.D.
Where: Rancho Mirage; 760-346-4262
Dr. Spotlight: Roberts is acclaimed for her skillful use of fillers such as Juvéderm. Clients turn to her for her expertise in treating female alopecia and facial hyperpigmentation.
Lori M. Hobbs, M.D.
Where: Beverly Hills; 310-904-6346
Dr.Spotlight: Hobbs boasts 20 years of experience using lasers on skin of color. Cosmetics giant Mary Kay has also tapped the sought-after doc as a medical adviser to the brand.
Pearl Grimes, M.D.
Where: Los Angeles; 323-467-4389
Dr. Spotlight: Grimes is known worldwide for her expertise in treating vitiligo, hair loss and scalp disorders. She is the founder of the Vitiligo & Pigmentation Institute and the Ancatel Hair Institute.
Heather Woolery-Lloyd, M.D.
Where: Miami; 305-532-5552
Dr. Spotlight: Woolery-Lloyd is dedicated to finding solutions for pigmentation disorders such as uneven skin tone, melasma and age spots. She has even developed two skin care lines to address them: Specific Beauty (sold on HSN) and Dermatologist Strength Collection (sold on specific beauty.com).
Windell Davis Boutté, M.D.
Where: Lilburn; 678-344-2450
Dr. Spotlight: Boutté has perfected the use of fillers and the vampire face-lift, which uses a patient's own stem cells to restore facial volume. He's also a pro with laser-assisted liposuction.
Brooke Jackson, M.D.
Where: Chicago; 312-236-9950
Dr. Spotlight: Jackson lectures nationally on the use of lasers and cosmetic procedures on ethnic skin and served as the national treasurer of the dermatology section of the National Medical Association.
Cheryl Burgess, M.D.
Where: Annapolis; 410-224-1195
Dr. Spotlight: As the derm behind the Black Opal skin care line, Burgess has expertise in fading discoloration and overall acne care. She is also known for having a deft hand and light touch with the wrinkle-reducer Botox.
Lisa Ginn, M.D.
Where: Chevy Chase; 301-656-5444
Dr. Spotlight: With 12 years in the field, Ginn has become known for her innovative treatments, including microhydration and microdermabrasion followed by topical solutions that kill bacteria and minimize dark spots. She is an ultherapy master. The nonsurgical treatment tightens and smooths the skin.
Marcy Street, M.D.
Where: Okemos; 517-993-5900
Dr. Spotlight: Street is the first African-American female doctor in the country to be fellowship-trained in Mohs surgery, a treatment for skin cancer. Her office is one of only a few in Michigan to offer MelaFind, an FDA-approved device used to detect melanoma in the earliest, most curable stages.
Charles E. Crutchfield, M.D.
Where: Eagan; 651-209-3600
Dr. Spotlight: Crutchfield scores high marks for specializing in ethnic skin care, acne, psoriasis, pediatric dermatology, eczema, vitiligo and keloids.
Andrew Alexis, M.D.
Where: NYC; 212-523-6003
Dr. Spotlight: As the director of the Skin of Color Center at St. Lukes-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York City, Alexis is on the front lines of treating acne and uneven skin tone and performing laser hair removal on African-American skin. Alexis also serves as chair of the American Academy of Dermatology Diversity Task Force.
Rosemarie Ingleton, M.D.
Where: NYC; 212-673-7100
Dr. Spotlight: She is a leader in achieving and maintaining glowing skin. Brands such as Eucerin have turned to her to assist in research and development.
Fran Cook-Bolden, M.D.
Where: NYC; 212-223-6599
Dr. Spotlight: As coauthor of Beautiful Skin of Color: A Comprehensive Guide to Asian, Olive and Dark Skin, Cook-Bolden is revered as an authority on bringing out the best in Black skin through cosmetic and laser surgery. Her practice has expanded to include the Acne and Pigment Treatment Center as well as the Ethnic Skin Specialty Group, which focuses solely on skin of color.
Vaughan Graves, M.D.
Where: Philadelphia; 215-238-1622
Dr. Spotlight: Graves, also a practicing internist, takes an integrative approach to countering the effects that aging has on our skin. He is well-known for his success in the treatment of challenging hair loss issues.
Debra Tanner Abell, M.D.
Where: Wexford; 724-935-9133
Dr.Spotlight: Abell specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer as well as chronic skin conditions such as acne, eczema and psoriasis.
Seymour Weaver, M.D.
Where: Katy; 281-395-7770
Dr. Spotlight: Recognized for his expertise in halting hair loss and treating scalp disorders, Weaver is also known for his yearlong keloid removal and follow-up program.
Valerie Harvey, M.D.
Where: Norfolk; 757-446-5629
Dr. Spotlight: Harvey specializes in treating eczema and detecting and treating melanoma, and is also codirector of the Hampton University Skin of Color Research Institute,.
Yolanda Holmes, M.D,
Where: Washington, D.C.; 202-737-6800
Dr. Spotlight: Holmes's signature procedure is complexion blending, a combination of microderm-abrasion and lasers that smooths texture and evens out skin tone.