What is a Dermatologist?

A dermatologist is a medical doctor (M.D. or D.O.) who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions that affect the skin, hair, and nails. 

A dermatologist completes at least three years of specialized dermatology training after graduating from medical school and completing a medical internship. This focused study, research, and training makes a dermatologist the most qualified medical professional for treating and managing skin conditions. 

Skin conditions commonly treated by dermatologists include:

  • Acne that affects both teenagers and adults
  • Atopic dermatitis (eczema) that leads to dry, itching, and inflamed skin.
  • Psoriasis and its various manifestations including plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
  • Rosacea, a common skin condition that can lead to redness and swelling.
  • Skin cancer, including basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), and melanoma, and precancerous lesions, such as actinic keratoses (AKs) 

Dermatologists also treat skin conditions arising from systemic and infectious diseases, as well as cosmetic issues that affect a person’s appearance. These commonly include the following:

  • Hair loss
  • Wounds and scars, including acne scars.
  • Aging skin and other natural changes, including fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots.

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