(HealthDay News) — The public believes dermatologists spend more time performing cosmetic procedures than they actually do, according to research published in the November issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

In an effort to assess the U.S. public’s perception of dermatologists, Elizabeth A. Brezinski, MD, from the University of California at Davis, and colleagues conducted a telephone survey using a validated random digit dialing method.

Based on the 800 adults completing the survey, the researchers found that 46% of participants perceived that dermatologists spend a majority of their time managing skin cancer. Just over one-quarter (27% of respondents) reported believing that dermatologists spend a majority of their time performing cosmetic procedures. Primary care physicians were perceived by 63% of participants to have a more critical profession compared to dermatologists, and to have a more difficult job (54%) and work longer hours (92%). A comparison of dermatologists to cardiologists yielded similar findings. Respondents perceived that dermatologists earned more than primary care physicians, but less than cardiologists or plastic surgeons.

“Educational efforts are necessary to better inform public understanding and perception of dermatologists’ expertise,” the authors write.

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