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The skin is an incredible organ. It is your first line of defense against disease, protects your other organs, warms you up and cools you down, and sends messages about how healthy you are inside. Dermatologists are expert medical doctors and skin surgeons with the unique skills and experience to offer the best care for the organ that cares for you.
Dermatologists use a range of medical and cosmetic procedures to manage issues affecting the skin, nails, and hair.
Medications and non-invasive therapies can treat many skin conditions, while others require more invasive approaches. These procedures can take place in an outpatient setting, such as the doctor’s office, or in a hospital.
What do dermatologists do?
A dermatologist’s work can typically be divided into three areas. These include:
- Medical. A dermatologist can diagnose and treat conditions that affect your skin. This includes conditions like plaque psoriasis, rosacea and acne. A dermatologist can also identify symptoms on your skin that could be signs of other health conditions. For example, itchy, dry skin can sometimes indicate problems with your kidneys.
- Surgery. Many dermatologists do minor surgery, like removing moles or warts or doing skin biopsies. Other dermatologists will specialize in more extensive surgery. These procedures can include removing benign cysts or skin cancer.
- Cosmetic. A dermatologist can treat skin issues that affect your appearance. This may include hair loss, dark spots, or wrinkles. Many dermatologists are trained to administer cosmetic treatments, too. These include filers, chemical peels and laser hair removal.
What types of conditions do dermatologists treat?
Dermatologists can treat thousands of conditions that affect your skin, hair, or nails. A few of the most common conditions they treat include:
- Acne. Based on the severity of your acne, a dermatologist can treat this condition with topical treatments, medication, lasers, or other light therapies, chemical peels, or by removing large cysts.
- Skin cancer. Skin cancer can occur anywhere in your body. A dermatologist can remove cancer cells and monitor you to make sure it doesn’t return.
- Dermatitis. Dermatitis encompasses several types of skin conditions that cause inflammation and irritation. This may include eczema, cradle cap and allergic reactions.
- Infections. Viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites can all find their way into your skin and cause a variety of skin infections. A dermatologist can help diagnose the cause of infections and prescribe treatment.
- Hair loss. Hair loss may be caused by hereditary baldness. Conditions like stress, illness, and hormonal changes may also impact hair loss. A dermatologist can determine the underlying cause and help treat it if possible.
- Nail problems. Spots, discoloration, and nail separation are common nail issues that are treated by dermatologists.