Knowing When to See a Dermatologist

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You might know that a dermatologist is a medical doctor who specializes in conditions that involve the skin, hair and nails, but did you know that he/she can identify and treat more than 3,000 conditions? So while dermatologists might be experts in getting acne under control, helping to remove fine lines and wrinkles, and treating skin cancer, there is so much more to the profession and skill set that meets the eye! 


What are dermatologists’ specialities?

A dermatologist’s scope of work can be best categorized into three areas:

  • Medical Dermatology: this includes diagnosing and treating conditions that affect the skin, such as  rosacea, eczema, acne and psoriasis. Dermatologists are also adept at noticing internal issues that may be presenting themselves on the skin, like rashes associated with diabetes and liver disease. 
  • Cosmetic Dermatology: Patients who may want to improve their appearance benefit from a dermatologist’s trained eye and artistic hand. Hair loss, wrinkles, fine lines and dark spots can be treated with botox, fillers, lasers, and more. 
  • Surgical Dermatology: Whether minor or major surgery, dermatologists are expertly trained to notice, track, manage and treat atypical moles, warts, benign cysts or skin cancer. When surgery is necessary, dermatologists are highly capable of treating the area with a goal to minimize scarring in the future. 


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What types of conditions do dermatologists treat?

So how do you know when you should see a dermatologist versus your primary care provider? If your area of concern has anything to do with your hair, skin and/or nails, it’s best to schedule an appointment with your dermatologist first. Whether your concern is a new one or a chronic one, dermatologists have years of training to diagnose and treat all of your skin issues. 


Of the thousands of conditions that dermatologists can treat, the most common include acne, skin cancer, dermatitis (conditions that cause inflammation and irritation, which include eczema and allergic reactions), hair loss, skin infections caused by bacteria or fungus, and nail problems. 


To appropriately diagnose and treat the area of concern, dermatologists can perform a variety of procedures from minor to major treatments. Biopsies are helpful to rule out or confirm skin cancer, which could then be addressed with certain types of specialized surgery, such as Mohs surgery. Laser therapy is a great option for removing wrinkles,, acne scars or any unwanted signs of aging. 

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What training does a dermatologist have? 

Dermatologists complete extensive training to be able to care for their patients. After receiving his/her bachelor degree (four year endeavor), there are four years of medical school, one year of an internship, and a three-year dermatology-specific residency with at least 12,000 hours of hands-on practice. So it’s safe to say that dermatologists have studied it all, seen it all, and treated it all!


If something related to your skin, hair or nails is bothering you, then reach out to our team of board certified dermatologists! We are eager to help you get rid of dry and flaky skin, acne, unwanted hair, cancer or signs of aging.