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What is Dermatology?

Doctors and Medical Specialties
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Dermatology is the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the skin, nails, hair, and adjacent mucous membranes. Management of these conditions includes the use of dermatohistopathology, topical and oral medications, surgery, cosmetic surgery, immunotherapy, radiotherapy, phototherapy, photodynamic therapy, and laser therapy.

Fifteen percent of all visits to the family doctor are related to skin problems. In many cases, diseases of the skin can be treated through referral to a dermatologist with effective and inexpensive means. Common diseases and conditions treated with dermatology include acne, skin cancer, warts, psoriasis, hair loss, fungal infections, dermatitis, eczema, dandruff, scars, and cold sores. Many dermatologists also perform elective procedures, such as laser treatments, botox injections, anti-aging therapies, and collagen injections.

Dermatology specialties include dermapathology, pediatric dermatology, and clinical and laboratory immunology. A dermapathologist is a dermatologist who specializes in the microscopic diagnosis of skin diseases. Pediatric dermatologists have additional training in diseases of the skin common to children, such as birthmarks, pediatric infections, and neonatal dermatology. Clinical and laboratory dermatological immunology consultants help to diagnose skin diseases due to immune system responses.

Finding a dermatologist should begin by asking your general practitioner or family doctor for a recommendation. Check your insurance policy to ensure coverage. Look for a dermatologist with good references and accreditation with the American Academy of Dermatology. Schedule an interview if possible and be sure you find out what can be done about your condition, how long treatment will take, and what you should expect. Be sure your questions are answered. Some dermatology offices require a long wait for appointments. If you have a condition that is not an emergency, a highly qualified dermatologist with a good chair-side manner may be worth the wait. Look for someone who fits your criteria to receive the highest quality care for your individual needs.

Related topics: Plastic Surgery, Pathology

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