Dermatology is the branch of medicine dealing with the skin. Our dermatologist is a specialist doctor who manages diseases related to skin, hair, nails, and some cosmetic problems.
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 have extensive training, going to school for 12 years or more to learn to diagnose and treat more than 3,000 diseases of the skin, hair, and nails as well as cosmetic concerns. Patients see dermatologists for issues that are much more than skin deep. Problems with their skin can harm patients’ sense of self-worth, create discomfort that can make everyday activities difficult, and, in some instances, threaten lives.
If you were to watch a dermatologist at work on any given day, you might see them:
Treat a baby’s prominent birthmark that threatens the child’s eyesight
Remove a mother’s deadly melanoma at its earliest, most treatable stage
Offer relief for a student whose chronic eczema makes sleep nearly impossible
Diagnose the life-threatening liver condition causing a grandfather’s unbearable itching
Treat the hair loss of a young woman, helping her gain the confidence to complete a job search
After becoming a board-certified dermatologist, some dermatologists decide to continue their medical training. They may receive advanced training in one of the specialties within dermatology:
A dermatopathologist is a doctor who specializes in both dermatology and pathology. When your dermatologist sees an issue of concern, they may biopsy it, removing a piece of skin and sending it to a dermatopathologist to confirm their suspected diagnosis.
The dermatopathologist examines the biopsied skin with a microscope and provides your dermatologist with a written report called a biopsy or pathology report. This report will tell what disease was found and include other information, like stage or severity, that can help determine the best possible treatment.
For some conditions, like skin cancer, an examination by a dermatopathologist is the only way to be certain of the diagnosis and its severity.