A dermatologist is a medical doctor who specializes in treating issues with skin, nails, hair and mucous membranes. Over 3,000 diseases are diagnosed and treated by dermatologists, including acne, psoriasis, eczema and skin cancer. These doctors help patients with a variety of issues including reducing the signs of aging, minimizing scarring due to acne, providing care once skin cancer is removed, and much more. Patients of all ages can be seen and treated by dermatologists.
Individuals who want to become dermatologists will need to complete an undergraduate program, attend medical school, complete a year of internship, and also complete a three-year residency program in dermatology. After becoming licensed as a doctor of osteopathic medicine or a medical doctor, the specialized training begins.
Getting accepted into a dermatology residency program is challenging and competitive. Once the residency program is complete, the candidate takes the dermatology board exams.
A patient may be referred to or see a dermatologist for many reasons, which can include:
- Evaluation of moles or freckles that seem to change in size
- Evaluation of a cut or scratch that should have already healed
- For skin or nail biopsies
- For the removal of warts
A dermatologist can provide relief from many irritating or painful skin conditions, remove skin cancer, treat nail infections, and more. Because of the high number of possible skin diseases from which a patient can suffer, a referral from other doctors is common for diagnosis or treatment.
Dermatologists use a wide variety of tools and equipment when treating patients, including exams, magnifying glasses, diagnostic tests, and various other surgical instruments.