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Dermatology is the study and management of the diseases affecting the skin, hair, and nail. A doctor who is trained in the field of dermatology is called a dermatologist. They deal with both medical and surgical treatment. They also manage cosmetic disorders like hair loss, scars, and skin changes from aging. The range of treatments offered by a dermatologist includes topical and systemic medications, cosmetic surgery, immunotherapy, phototherapy, laser therapy, radiotherapy, and photodynamic therapy.
A dermatologist helps in the diagnosis and treatment of common skin disorders like warts, fungal infection, psoriasis, acne, contact dermatitis, eczema, and skin cancer. Apart from skin diseases, they also treat conditions affecting the hair and nails. They perform skin surgery in emergencies like skin cancer or to remove any skin growth like skin tags or to treat discoloration due to sun exposure and aging or for biopsy.
Dermatology is continuously changing to adapt itself to the changing society. New dermatological problems keep coming up due to exposure to new drugs, pesticides, industrial compounds, and cosmetics. Most skin diseases are due to an allergy that can be caused by an infinite number of things. An experienced dermatologist, with the help of various tests, will be able to narrow down the cause for such skin diseases and will provide appropriate treatment. With the support of online medical platforms, you can consult a professionally trained dermatologist online, either through video consultation or by posting photos of your skin disorder.
Frequently Asked Questions
What conditions can a dermatologist treat?
A doctor specialized in treating conditions affecting the skin, hair, nails, and the mucus membrane is called a dermatologist. The common conditions that a dermatologist treats are vitiligo, acne, dermatitis, eczema, fungal skin infections, hair fall, dandruff, psoriasis, rosacea, warts, skin tags, skin cancer, and nail disorders.
How are skin problems diagnosed?
Various diagnostic tests are performed to detect skin problems like infections and allergies, but common tests include: Patch test - To diagnose skin allergies, allergens are applied on the skin surface, and the skin is examined for any reaction. Culture - The surface of the skin or nail is scraped and tested for the presence of bacteria, virus, or fungus. Biopsy - A sample of the skin is taken from abnormal skin growth or lesion to diagnose conditions like skin cancer.
What are the different types of specialization in dermatology?
A dermatologist can specialize in cosmetic dermatology, dermatopathology, immunodermatology, Mohs surgery, pediatric dermatology, teledermatology, and dermatoepidemiology.
Who is a dermatopathologist and a pediatric dermatologist?
The study of skin, nail, and hair disorders at a microscopic level after taking biopsies is called dermatopathology. A doctor who specializes in treating skin conditions like birthmark, psoriasis, and eczema in children is called a pediatric dermatologist.
Are dermatologist and plastic surgeon the same?
Dermatology and plastic surgery are not the same, but both these specialties overlap with each other. A plastic surgeon is experienced and inclined to do surgical procedures like facelifts, breast augmentation, nose jobs, and to correct congenital disabilities and injuries. And a dermatologist is concerned more with problems on the surface of the skin like skin lesions, allergies, and growth.
Does a dermatologist provide chemical peel or dermabrasion treatment for skin condition?
Chemical peels use chemical solutions, and dermabrasion uses a rotating instrument to exfoliate the top layer of the skin, which eventually peels off. These procedures are used for acne scars, age spots, wrinkles, and uneven skin tone, as the underlying skin is younger and smoother. A dermatologist performs both these procedures.
Are hair transplantation or hair removal treatments provided by dermatologists?
Yes, a dermatologist can help diagnose, manage, and prevent hair problems like hair fall. Depending on the cause, they might prescribe you topical or oral medicines, or perform hair transplantation. They also perform laser hair removal procedure, which helps you get rid of unwanted body hair permanently.
How do I prepare for an online dermatologist appointment?
Asking dermatologist queries online can be tricky, as a diagnosis in dermatology relies heavily on physical examination. So when you post a dermatology query online, make sure you include all the information of the skin problem like when it started, what are the factors that trigger it, what are the things that make it better, and if it is a lesion or mole, describe in detail about the color, location, and borders. It is crucial to attach a picture of the affected skin along with the query, even if it is about an acne problem.
Will dermatologist remove a mole on the first visit?
No, your dermatologist will not remove the mole on the first visit. A mole is removed only if it is asymmetrical, has irregular borders, does not have an even color, is larger than 6 mm, or if the size or shape changes. If the dermatologist suspects it to be cancer, he or she will take a biopsy and then remove the mole. And if the mole is esthetically disturbing, then it can be removed.