Dermatology is a field of medicine that takes a focus on ailments of the skin or scalp and of hair and nails to a lesser extent. The word 'dermatology' itself means 'study of the skin' (derma).
Specialists in dermatology are known as dermatologists. They are experts in diagnosing patient problems that relate to the skin, such as skin allergies, rashes, infections or severe acne. This field of medicine is always growing along with statistics for skin disease. Currently, one in every sixth visit to the doctor's office is due to a skin problem.
You'll want to visit a dermatologist for any disease, disorder, cancer or ageing condition related to skin health, which includes the hair, scalp, nails, and skin in oral or genital areas of the body. A dermatologist may work closely with another expert too, as many skin problems are the result of an internal condition.
Dermatologists tend to have further specialties within dermatology itself. It helps to choose a dermatologist with the specialty that is most applicable to your skin concern. For example, if you suspect you have a skin allergy, you aught to consult with a dermatologist who specializes in immunodermatology, or if your infant has a skin complication, a pediatric dermatologist will be best.
Diagnosis of skin disorders commonly requires a family history and prior medical history of the patient, blood tests, skin swabs or samples, biopsies, and skin pricks. The dermatologist will use all this data to make an informed diagnosis.
Treatments in dermatology range from specialized surgeries to treat skin ailments (such as removing skin tumors) to prescribing topical medications to help a skin rash.
Other treatments include:
- Laser Therapy
- Photodynamic Therapy
- Systemic Medications