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What is dermatology?
Dermatology is a special branch of medicine that deals with the research, study, diagnosis and management of any health condition affecting the skin, hair, nails and membranes. A specialist doctor or a health professional practicing in this field of medicine is known as a dermatologist.
Dermatology may be a seemingly small branch of medicine but is an extremely important one. It is common knowledge that the skin is the largest organ of the body and in fact performs the role of a barrier, protecting the internal organs from injuries and coming in contact with any kind of harmful microorganisms.
What do dermatologists do?
A dermatologist specializes in the field of dermatology which means diagnosing and treating conditions impacting the hair, skin and nails. A trained dermatologist helps in the diagnosis, and treatment of any condition affecting the aforementioned parts of the body.
Dermatologists are experts in basic sciences that include pathology, microbiology, anatomy, biochemistry, physiology and endocrinology. Most skin problems arise out of an underlying issue and some skin problems could also lead to the development of a chronic health condition. A pediatrician is thus a trained medical professional having a sound knowledge of other areas of medicine too. This enables them to identify, diagnose and treat seemingly external health conditions ably.
Apart from diagnosing conditions affecting the skin, a dermatologist may also perform surgeries to prevent or control diseases affecting the skin such as skin cancer. Surgeries can also be performed by dermatologists or plastic surgeons to fix or enhance certain aesthetic features of the body such as the nose, lips, cheeks, etc.
Conditions that dermatologists treat
Conditions affecting the skin, hair and nails are pretty common and is inevitable for every person to face them at least once in their lifetime. There is a misconception that dermatology conditions only impact women, that is not the case. Dermatology includes conditions affecting the skin, hair and nails and affects both men and women.
There are also some problems that one does not identify to be of a dermatologic nature and visit a general practitioner to tend to the same. If the problem is of a minor nature, the general practitioner will usually treat the same. However, if the issue is of an advanced nature, they will refer you to a dermatologist for a more informed diagnosis and treatment.
Some of the most common conditions that a dermatologist treats are:
- Acne: This is a condition that leads to pimples on the skin. This happens because of inflammation of the sebaceous glands.
- Dermatitis: This is an irritation or allergy that leads to red, sore and swollen skin.
- Eczema: This condition involves rough and itchy skin that is inflamed and usually bleeds.
- Psoriasis: This condition involves having red, itchy, scaly patches on the skin.
- Cold sore: This is the medical term used for an inflamed blister around the mouth that is caused by the herpes simplex virus.
- Fungal infections: These are infections of the skin or nail caused by a fungus.
- Warts: This is a hard small growth on the skin that is caused by a virus.
- Skin cancer: This is a condition that involves an uncontrollable growth of skin cells.
The symptoms of each of these common skin conditions are characteristic in nature and ought to be managed in a unique fashion. Visiting a dermatologist to address any of these problems is important. A dermatologist will not only diagnose the condition but will also gauge its severity in order to customize the treatment options required to treat the same.
Treatment options in dermatology
There are different types of treatment options available in order to treat the various conditions affecting the skin, hair and nails. Some of the available treatment options or therapies are listed below:
- Topical medications
- Systemic medications
- Laser Therapy
- Photodynamic Therapy
- Dermatohistopathology, etc.
In order to manage a specific dermatologic problem, a doctor may advise any of these or a combination of these therapies and tests. While topical medications are the most common treatment option that any problem typically requires, a dermatologist is the best to decide and customize a treatment plan for the problem you are suffering from.
Some other issues that a dermatologist also treats
A dermatologist is ordinarily trained in treating roughly about 3000 problems of the skin, hair and nails. In addition to these, they are also skilled in cosmetic training and performing surgeries that involve enhancing skin related aesthetic features.
Apart from the above mentioned issues that a dermatologist usually treats, there are some other less common problems that you would find yourself visiting them for. These include:
- Treating birthmarks
- Extraction of a melanoma
- Treating hair loss
- Saggy skin
- Botox and other such treatments to make the skin appear healthier and younger
- Removing discoloration
- Performing a biopsy to diagnose an issue
Skin conditions can severely impact your health and well being. They also result in a lack of self-confidence and other chronic health conditions. At times, a prominent skin condition is also a sign that the body is suffering from an underlying health condition that could be more serious in nature. At times, signs of diabetes, hypertension, and a heart disease can also reflect through a problem of the skin or hair.
A skin problem is rarely fatal or life-threatening. However, it is only your dermatologist who will be able to address your issue and understand the gravity of your condition. Skin conditions may also lead to other problems that may impact the quality of life of an individual. These problems may include – poor self-esteem, sleep loss, depression and/or decreased productivity.
When one is facing an issue of the skin, hair or nails, it is important that they book an appointment with an experienced dermatologist. Finding one that is close to you is important as it makes follow ups easy and convenient for you to book appointments. In order to find an experienced dermatologist in your area, visit MFine now for recommendations.