A dermatologist is a physician with expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with benign and malignant disorders of the skin, mouth, external genitalia, hair and nails. Experts in the management of cosmetic disorders of the skin including hair loss and scars, dermatologists have extensive training and experience in the diagnosis and treatment of skin cancers, melanomas, moles, and other tumors of the skin, contact dermatitis and other allergic and non-allergic disorder, and in the recognition of the skin manifestations of systemic and infectious diseases, including internal malignancy.
Dermatologists’ eyes are uniquely trained to analyze the skin, hair, and nails. They can spot potential problems and diagnose a multitude of conditions that range from minor to life-threatening.
These skills and knowledge can improve the lives of patients of all ages — the infant with a red birthmark, the child with eczema, the baby boomer with sun-damaged skin, the senior citizen with shingles — effectively treating their skin conditions and making them look and feel their best.
Dermatologists also are a great resource for learning how to prevent skin, hair, and nail concerns. They can teach you how to protect yourself from the sun to avoid skin cancer, caution you about hairstyles that can contribute to hair loss, and advise you about how to care for your nails to prevent common conditions such as nail fungus.
Certification for dermatologists includes four years of post-graduate residency training with three years of intensive training in dermatopathology and dermatologic surgery and an examination administered by the American Board of Dermatology. Dermatologists can diagnose and treat a wide variety of dermatologic conditions as well as benign and malignant skin tumors, and can also advise patients on the prevention of skin diseases and skin cancers.
Whether a dermatologist provides general medical care for the skin or focuses on a specialized area of medical, surgical, or cosmetic dermatology, he or she can be your trusted partner in maintaining the health of your skin, hair, and nails.
Dermatologists employ a variety of treatment methods including externally applied, injected, and internal medications, selected x-ray and ultraviolet light therapy, and a range of dermatologic surgical procedures. Dermatologists are trained in various forms of dermatologic surgery including electrosurgery, cryosurgery with the use of freezing surgical units, laser surgery, nail surgery, biopsy techniques and excisional surgery with appropriate closures, including flaps and grafts.
Dermatologists utilize several different techniques for the correction of cosmetic defects such as dermabrasion, chemical facial peels, hair transplants, injections of materials into the skin for scar revision, sclerosis of veins, and laser surgery of vascular lesions of the skin, including certain birth marks. Patients may come directly to a dermatologist or may be referred by another physician. A certified specialist in dermatology may subspecialize and become certified for Special Qualification in areas such as Mohs micrographic surgery and Dermapathology.
Dermatology is the medical specialty concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the skin, hair and nails. Areas of practice include clinical dermatology, cosmetic dermatology, cutaneous oncology and dermatologic surgery.