Dermatology is the branch of medicine which deals with the numerous disorders affecting the skin, nails and hair. A dermatology specialist, also known as a dermatologist, is a physician with specialization in the diagnosis and management of patients with complaints related to the skin, nails and hair. He also deals with many cosmetic problems associated with these parts of the body.
Examples of common skin disorders a dermatology specialist often deals with are acne, especially among teenagers; contact dermatitis, a reaction of the skin when exposed to irritants; poison ivy rash; and scalp problems. Other problems associated with the skin are psoriasis, where the affected skin becomes red, scaly and itchy; warts, a tumor caused by the human papillomavirus; and fungal infections like oral thrush which is often caused by the heavy growth of yeast, known as Candida albicans, in the mouth. A dermatology specialist is also responsible in the assessment, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of many skin cancers.
Patients often seen by a dermatology specialist frequently present with symptoms such as rashes, itchiness, dry skin, hair loss, and skin discoloration, among many others. Mole evaluation as well as its removal for cosmetic and medical reasons are also performed by a dermatology specialist. He may also perform patch testing, a method done to identify the specific substances causing skin inflammations, in patients with many allergies.
A dermatology specialist usually undergoes many years of medical training before becoming a certified dermatology specialist. After four years of medical school and getting his medical license, he usually undergoes one year of surgical or medical internship. After this, a three-year residency in dermatology usually follows. He may then opt to spend a year or two of fellowship training for subspecialization.
Some subspecialties of dermatology are cosmetic dermatology, immunodermatology, Mohs surgery and pediatric dermatology. A dermatology specialist with a subspecialty in cosmetic dermatology usually performs many procedures for the physical improvement of an individual. These include face lifts, liposuction and wart removal, among many other procedures.
Immumodermatology usually deals with immune system diseases of the skin such as eczema, psoriasis and vitiligo, a skin disorder characterized by the depigmentation or lightening of some skin areas. Mohs surgery, is a subspecialty dealing with the excision or removal of skin cancers, like basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. A pediatric dermatologist, on the other hand, frequently focuses on many skin diseases, inherited or acquired, which often affect children and newborn babies.