Health Topics

Understanding Dermatologists

Dermatologists, or skin care doctors, have expertise in the care of normal skin, as well as in the prevention and treatment of a wide variety of skin diseases, including skin cancers.

Dermatologists can also diagnose and treat patients with disorders affecting the hair and nails. In addition, dermatologists are knowledgeable in the management of cosmetic disorders of the skin (such as hair loss and scars).

What Do Dermatologists Do?

Dermatologists often perform specialized diagnostic procedures related to skin conditions. These doctors use treatments including:

  • Externally applied, injected and internal medicines
  • Ultraviolet light therapy
  • A range of dermatologic surgical procedures
  • Cosmetic procedures, such as chemical peels, sclerotherapy (used for conditions like varicose veins) and micro-dermabrasion (a procedure to exfoliate the skin)

Dermatologists might have training and experience in areas such as electrosurgery (surgical use of high-frequency electric current for cutting or destroying tissue), cryosurgery (which involves freezing tissue), laser surgery and excision surgery (removal by cutting) with appropriate closures (including skin grafts).

Certification of Dermatologists

The certification process for dermatologists includes a comprehensive examination administered by the American Board of Dermatology. With this background and knowledge, dermatologists are singularly qualified to diagnose and treat a wide variety of dermatologic (skin-related) conditions.