A dermatologist is a medical doctor whose specialty is the prevention, evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of both malignant and benign disorders involving the skin, nails, hair, oil and sweat glands, and also the areas inside the nose, mouth, and eyelids. As the largest organ, the condition of one’s skin generally reflects their overall health, and there are many possible conditions to be dealt with. Dermatologists have extensive schooling in both surgical and non-surgical treatments, and are widely regarded as having the most knowledge in healthy skin management.
Eventually, no matter how healthy they are, almost everyone contracts a skin disease at some point in their lifetime. Most people pick-up more than a few every single year. 15% of all appointments with family physicians are skin-related. Combined with the ever-present fright of aging, skin-care has become a multi-billion dollar industry.
The most common skin issues are:
- Herpes (Cold sores) – affects 20% of the population
- Eczema – affects 18% of children
- Fungal infections
Dermatology is a highly specialized discipline; dermatologists require an enormous amount of training and practice to stay current in their field. Skin conditions are often connected to internal problems so they need to be familiar with several different specialties, including pathology, endocrinology, microbiology, physiology, biochemistry, and even physics, covering a multitude of different aspects of skin care including the study and diagnosis of all diseases, disorders, cancers, and age-related conditions. Additionally, dermatologists need to to be fluent in the various forms of treatment including systemic and topical medications, salves and creams, surgery (both cosmetic and dermatological) immunotherapy, laser therapy, radiotherapy and many others.