A dermatologist is a doctor that specializes in treating skin, hair, nail, and mucous membrane disorders and diseases.
They can also address cosmetic issues, helping to revitalize the appearance of the skin, hair, and nails.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that, in the United States, there were 39 million visits to office-based dermatologists, who were not federally employed, in 2010.
Below, we explore common issues that dermatologists encounter, the treatments they offer, and the qualifications involved.
What is dermatology?
A person may visit a dermatologist if they are experiencing an issue with their skin, hair, or nails.
Image credit: FRED TANNEAU/AFP via Getty Images.
Dermatology is an area of medicine that focuses on health issues affecting the skin, hair, nails, and mucous membranes.
The skin is the largest organ of the body. It is also the first line of defense against pathogens and injury, and it can be a good indicator of overall health.
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It is important to know that a dermatologist has a full license or certification before visiting them. Some practitioners in spas and beauty clinics call themselves dermatologists but do not have the necessary accreditation.
In the U.S., a qualified dermatologist will be certified by the American Board of Dermatology, the American Osteopathic Board of Dermatology, or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) is the largest membership dermatology group in the United States, with more than 20,000 members.
To qualify for registration with the AAD, a dermatologist has to finish both college and medical school as either a medical doctor (MD) or a doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO). They will also have completed a residency involving 1 year of hands-on work.
Some dermatologists have the initials FAAD after their names. This abbreviation stands for: Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology. It indicates that the dermatologist:
has a license to practice medicine
has passed exams given by either the American Board of Dermatology or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada
is a member of the AAD
The AAD provide a search tool to help people with skin, hair, or nail conditions find a nearby dermatologist.