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Dermatology 101: Everything You Need to Know About Dermatologists

Dr. Adnan Mehmood

3 min read

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The skin is the largest and most visible organ of the body which protects the underlying organs from damages and infections. Despite this vital purpose of our skin, most people in Pakistan only refer to a dermatologist (also known as a Skin Specialist) when a potentially life-threatening disease-e.g. skin cancer-is involved. In reality, dermatologists can help you deal with a wide set of issues related to your skin; keep reading to learn more about these Specialist Doctors.

Who is a Dermatologist?

Dermatologists are not just ‘Skin Specialists’ but also extend their services to nail, hair and mucous membrane-both oral and genital-treatment. They are also experts in pathology, microbiology, biochemistry, physics, physiology, and endocrinology as skin diseases are often associated with other internal conditions. As medical doctors (DO), they help diagnose and treat dermatological (skin, nail, hair etc.) issues and perform surgeries, when needed, to improve the skin’s appearance and prevent advancement of certain diseases.

What Conditions Do Dermatologists Treat?

Including Acne-both cystic and common-and various fungal infections, dermal specialists treat over 3,000 minor and major skin conditions, some of which are:

  • Skin cancer; the typical types of skin cancer are melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and basal cell carcinoma. These can be dealt if detected early on.Early treatment can resolve most skin cancers.
  • Warts; these are bumps that appear due to an infection on the skin. They are usually not harmful, but contagious. These might be indicative of some other problem, but commonly go away on their own. 
  • Dermatitis; this is a swelling up of the skin. The skin becomes inflamed and start to itch with a rash. Dermatitis is of different types including seborrheic dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, and contact dermatitis. 
  • Psoriasis; this is a persistent skin disorder which raises the rate of skin cell growth. It is autoimmune and results in raised, red scales on the skin. There are different types of psoriasis. 
  • Acne; a fairly common disease, acne affects the oil glands in skin. It is usually found among teenagers. Acne leads to different types of pimples which causes depression and low confidence in patients. 
  • Nail Problems; these include fungus in nails and in-growth. These may be indicative of other issues as well. 
  • Hair Problems; this is another common issue. Loss of hair can be hereditary or symptomatic of other conditions like alopecia. Hair is also affected by lice.

Other problems that dermatologist treat includes Hand Dermatitis, Atopic Eczema, cold sores etc. Some treatable nail problems include ingrowing toenails, foot and toenail fungus, nail infections and nail cancers. These are also treated by Dermatologists.

What Treatments Do Dermatologists Provide?

Depending upon the condition, dermatologists can prescribe topical treatments in the form of creams and lotions, oral medications or various types of surgeries, including cosmetic procedures. Some of the common treatments include:

  • Biopsy: For diagnostic purposes.
  • Chemical Peels: To treat sun-damaged skin and some types of acne and age spot removal.
  • Cosmetic Injections: To temporarily reduce wrinkles, scarring and increase facial fullness, with required periodic repetition.
  • Cryotherapy: To freeze warts and destroy affected skin cells.
  • Dermabrasion: Erosion of scar tissue, fine wrinkles and potentially precancerous skin patches
  • Lesion Excision: For re-infection and disease prevention, diagnosis and cosmetic purposes.
  • Hair Restoration: To combat hair loss.
  • Laser surgery: To permanently remove, tumors, warts, moles, tattoos, birthmarks, scars, wrinkles, and unwanted hair (electrolysis is also an option).
  • Mohs surgery: Removal of cancerous skin by Mohs surgery specialists.
  • Skin grafts and flaps: Replacement of missing skin using skin from free pieces of tissue in other parts of the body.
  • Tumescent liposuction: Used for cosmetic body contouring.

What are the Types of Dermatologists?

Like all other medical fields, dermatology is also divided into several sub-specialities that are listed below:

  • Medical dermatologists: They diagnose, treat, and prevent diseases of the skin, hair and nails.
  • Dermatopathologists: This is a lab-based specialism where doctors diagnose dermatological diseases through microscopic study of samples.
  • Surgical Dermatologists: They specialize in surgical procedures to treat dermatological problems.
  • Cosmetic Dermatologists: Specialists who are well versed in cosmetic procedures-mostly surgical.
  • Mohs Surgeons: These dermatologists are experts on skin cancer treatment and surgery.
  • Pediatric Dermatologists: They treat genetic, congenital and acquired dermatological diseases affecting children, including newborns and toddlers.

When Should You Visit a Dermatologist?

You know it’s time to book an appointment when you have cystic or stubborn acne, itches and rashes, scars, stretch marks, cellulite, dark discolorations or regularly blushed skin. Patients undergoing treatment for other cancer types can also refer to a dermatologist if they experience medication induced skin side effects.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),  there were approximately 39 million visits to just the non-governmental, clinic-based dermatologists in USA in 2010. It may be better for us to refer to a dermatologist as well. 

Instead of making do with over-the-counter treatments or home remedies, consult a specialist if you experience any of the symptoms above. Book an Appointment with a top Dermatologist in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad through oladoc.com. Or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT Doctor for your dermal needs.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Dr. Adnan Mehmood
Dr. Adnan Mehmood - Author Dr. Adnan Mehmood is a dermatologist and hair transplant surgeon based in Lahore. He offers a whole bunch of services including hair translplatnion, anti-aging, skin brightening, and cosmetic surgery.

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