Why see a dermatologist

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Dermatologist. This dermatologist is examining a woman's skin for signs of skin cancer.

A dermatologist (dur-meh-tol-uh-jist) is a doctor who specializes in treating the:
  • Skin.
  • Hair.
  • Nails.
  • Mucous membranes (e.g., lining inside the mouth, nose, and eyelids.)

Dermatologists diagnose and treat more than 3,000 different diseases. These diseases include skin cancer, eczema, acne, psoriasis, and nail infections.

Dermatologists also improve the appearance of their patients' skin, hair, and nails. For example, a dermatologist can help patients:

  • Diminish wrinkles, age spots, and other signs of aging.
  • Have less noticeable acne scars.
  • Look more like themselves after surgery to remove skin cancer.

Dermatologists see patients of all ages  from newborns to people older than 100 years of age.

How to become a dermatologist

Becoming a dermatologist requires many years of education. A person must successfully complete the following:

  1. College, earning a bachelor's degree.
  2. Medical school, becoming a medical doctor (MD) or doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO).
  3. Internship, 1 year.
  4. Dermatology residency program, at least 3 years.