Dermatology is a branch of medicine that deals with the study, diagnosis, and treatment of various diseases that affect the skin, hair, nails, and mucus membranes. A dermatologist is a doctor who specialises in dermatology. They are trained to address a wide range of issues, from common issues like hair fall and eczema to complex diseases like skin cancer and autoimmune disorders like psoriasis. This article delves deep into the world of dermatologists, what they do, how to become one, and the subspecialties of dermatology.

What Is A ‘Dermatologist’?

A dermatologist is a medical doctor who specialises in dermatology. A dermatologist is trained to treat various issues that affect the skin, hair, nails, and mucus membranes. Dermatologists provide expert care to patients by working in hospitals, as private practitioners, or by being an academician. They are trained to handle cases that require cosmetic procedures and surgical interventions,, too.

What Does A Dermatologist Do?

The role of a dermatologist is multifaceted. The kind of patients that the dermatologist sees suffer not only from the physical aspect of the disease but also from the social impact of the disease. It is the duty of the dermatologist to treat the patient at both these levels.

  • Diagnosis and Treatment
    The extensive training allows a dermatologist to diagnose and offer treatment for nearly 3000 diseases accurately. From differentiating and identifying skin diseases to treating them, dermatologists make use of their vast training and expertise to offer relief to people.
  • Skin Cancer Screening and Treatment
    A dermatologist, through experience and training, can differentiate between a simple skin lesion and something more serious. With the help of tests, biopsies, and blood tests, a dermatologist screens for skin cancer at an early stage. Depending on the reports, the dermatologist may treat the cancer by excisions or refer the case to an oncologist.
  • Cosmetic Procedures
    Cosmetic procedures are performed to enhance your looks. Be it botox, dermal fillers, liposuction, tummy tucks, facelifts, breast augmentation, or any other procedure that makes you look and feel good, a dermatologist is the person to go to.
  • Surgical Interventions
    A dermatologist is qualified to perform surgeries as pertinent to the case. Cyst removals, biopsies, skin grafting, and excisions are some of the surgeries that a dermatologist performs.

How To Become A Dermatologist?

The first step to becoming a dermatologist is to become a medical doctor. A valid MBBS degree from a recognised university is a prerequisite.  This is followed by a post-graduation programme along with a residency in dermatology.
During this post-graduation and residency period, there is extensive training in diagnosing and treating various disorders of the skin under the guidance of experienced dermatologists.
Once qualified as a dermatologist, further courses can be taken based on the interests. Paediatric dermatology, cosmetic dermatology,  Mohs surgery, and dermatopathology are some of the subspecialties one can choose from.

What Are The Subspecialties In Dermatology?

Dermatology offers sub-specialities that help dermatologists to focus on their areas of interest and expertise. Some of the subspecialties of dermatology include-

  • Dermatopathology- This is a branch of dermatology where dermatologists focus on diagnosing a skin condition by conducting tests on tissue samples obtained through biopsy. Dermatopathologists play a vital role in diagnosing challenging cases.
  • Paediatric Dermatology– This branch of dermatology focuses on diseases of the skin that affect specifically children. Issues like birthmarks, genetic skin disorders, and general skin diseases seen in kids are the focus points for paediatric dermatologists.
  •  Mohs Surgery– This is a very precise form of surgery performed to excise cancerous cells while preserving the healthy ones. Dermatologists specialising in Mohs surgery play a vital role in treating skin cancers located in delicate or cosmetically sensitive areas.
  • Cosmetic Dermatology- Cosmetic dermatology is the area that deals with making a person look and feel good. All procedures done to make a person look aesthetically pleasing fall under this category. Cosmetic dermatologists specialise in procedures like Botox, dermal fillers, liposuction, facelift, tummy tuck, microneedling, laser treatments, etc.
  • Dermatologic Oncology– This branch of dermatology deals with the cancers that affect the skin. Dermatologic oncologists are trained to diagnose and treat cancers of the skin by collaborating with oncologists to develop comprehensive treatment plans for skin cancer patients.

Dermatologists are doctors who specialise in diagnosing and treating disorders of the skin, hair, nails, and mucus membranes. Dermatologists undergo extensive training under the guidance of senior dermatologists to become experts in their field. Along with diagnosis and treatment, a dermatologist is also responsible for the patient’s mental well-being. Skin diseases not only affect the patients physically, but they also target their mental health by making them self-conscious, low in self-confidence, and socially isolated. A dermatologist has to keep in consideration all these factors while working on a case. Dermatologists can choose further subspecialties depending on their interests. Dermatopathology, paediatric dermatology, and dermatologic oncology are some of the fields in which dermatologists can specialise in. Cosmetic dermatology forms a crucial part of dermatology. With more and more people becoming aware of their bodies and opting for cosmetic procedures, the need for and value of a cosmetic dermatologist keeps rising.

With their skills and expertise, dermatologists make a significant impact on the lives of people suffering from skin disorders.

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