What Does a Dermatologist Do?

DermatologistIndividuals interested in pursuing a specialization as a medical physician have a number of possibilities to consider, including the investigation of what a dermatologist does to help patients. After completing medical school and a dermatology residency, dermatologists are ready to begin helping patients with various conditions and issues.

Diseases and Other Medical Conditions

A dermatologist is a medical physician who is an expert in the diseases and conditions that affect a person’s hair, nails, and skin. Some examples of these diseases include psoriasis, eczema, seborrheic keratosis, acne, warts, vitiligo, rosacea, and skin cancer. A visit to an office of dermatology will sometimes require for patients to have blood or other samples taken in order to test for various conditions. Dermatologists will also develop treatment plans that might include oral medications and light therapies.

Dermatologists might also refer patients to other specialists. For example, a patient might work concurrently with a dermatologist and podiatrist for fungal issues of the feet. Another example is for the identification of skin cancer lesions. A dermatologist will then refer patients to an oncologist and other specialists. This is particularly important in cases of basal cell or melanoma skin cancers. One of the standard procedures of a dermatologist is to check with all patients for any possibility of changes in skin that might indicate a risk of cancerous cells.

Cosmetic Dermatology

In cosmetic dermatology, patients often seek out dermatologists who specialize in the improvement of appearance rather than for treatment of a specific type of disease or condition of the skin, hair or nails. For instance, while a patient might turn to a dermatologist for medication to treat outbreaks and prevent future occurrences of acne, he or she might also seek out cosmetic dermatology treatments to remove acne scars.

Cosmetic dermatologists also perform other popular procedures such as the injection of fillers into the face, neck, and hands to lessen the appearance of wrinkles. Other possibilities in cosmetic dermatology include treatment of age spots, tattoo removal, and the removal of small veins. Many of these procedures utilize laser technology as well.

Education and Training

A dermatologist prepares for his or her profession in the same way as other physicians. After completion of a bachelor’s degree, future dermatologists will then complete medical school. Licensing will then require completion of an internship for a minimum of one year and a residency for a minimum of three years.

In addition to this preparation, dermatologists also often continue attending courses, workshops, and seminars in order to learn the latest treatments and gain additional information on new scientific developments in everything from diagnosis to newly identified diseases or conditions. The American Academy of Dermatology website has additional information on the continuing education, workshops, and training available for professional dermatology in the field as well.

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Whatever the purpose of a visit to a dermatologist’s office, patients need to have a qualified professional who is prepared to help with overall well-being. A large part of what a dermatologist does is to provide patients with relief from a variety of conditions that can be everything from debilitating physical conditions to life-threatening diseases to ailments that affect individual self-esteem.