Dermatologists specialize in treating skin conditions, though they also treat conditions affecting the hair and nails. Patients may visit a dermatologist for a variety of symptoms or conditions, including dry skin, acne, allergic skin reactions, hair loss, psoriasis or dermatitis, among others. Patients may seek out a dermatologist on their own accord, or may be referred by their primary care provider.
Dermatologists are trained to recognize, diagnose, and treat more than 3,000 types of hair, skin and nail disorders. They are also trained to perform a variety of treatment procedures, including some surgeries. Dermatologists may perform diagnostic procedures such as skin biopsies, skin scratch tests and allergy tests, among others. These skin specialists are also trained to identify (and sometimes treat) skin cancers, playing a vital role in the early diagnosis of diseases such as melanoma – as with any type of cancer, early recognition and diagnosis is crucial.
After diagnosing the patient’s condition, dermatologists provide treatments such as chemical peels, dermabrasion or microdermabrasions, prescribing medications to manage the condition, a variety of surgical procedures and many others, depending upon the patient’s condition. Dermatologists also educate patients with regard to preventive measures that can keep hair, skin, and nails healthy.