What Does a Dermatologist Do?

Dermatologists treat over 3,000 diseases and conditions that affect skin, hair, nails and mucous membranes. Diseases and conditions include acne, eczema, psoriasis, skin cancer, fungal infections under nails and conditions affecting the linings of eyelids, the mouth and the nose.

In addition to treating specific diseases and conditions, dermatologists also perform skin checks and biopsies to detect and eliminate skin cancer. They also apply topical medications or inject anti-aging products on the face, neck and hands to minimize wrinkles and other signs of aging, and remove warts and other growths using in-office procedures like cryotherapy.

Many dermatologists treat patients suffering from unexplained hair loss. Dermatologists investigate the possible reasons for hair loss by asking questions about diet, stress levels and current medications that patients are taking. Dermatologists also inspect the hair and the scalp to determine potential causes.

Dermatologists must complete a doctoral degree program, a one-year internship and a three-year dermatology residency program to care for patients. During residency, dermatologists learn surgical procedures, including how to remove skin cancer growths, how to perform skin and nail biopsies and how to inject skin fillers and other anti-aging products properly. Some dermatologists specialize in cosmetic dermatology, pediatric dermatology, reconstructive dermatology or general dermatology. These specialties typically require additional education and licensing.