Dermatologists are doctors.
This seems like a simple one, but it should be noted that dermatologists are doctors. After obtaining their bachelor’s degrees, those seeking a career in dermatology attend medical school, becoming a medical doctor (MD) or a doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO). They subsequently complete a yearlong internship and at least three years in a dermatology residency program.
After receiving one’s license to practice medicine, an individual can become a board-certified dermatologist by completing board exams, which test a doctor’s knowledge, experience and skills. To maintain board certification, a doctor must retake the exams every ten years. This ensures they stay up to date on industry trends, conditions and treatments.
Dermatologists don’t just focus on skin.
In addition to treating skin conditions, dermatologists specialize in the treatment of hair, nails and mucous membranes (the lining of the mouth, nose and eyelids).
Dermatologists are trained in four areas of expertise.
1. Medical dermatology is the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases that affect the skin, hair and nails.
2. Dermatopathology is the diagnosis of diseases by removing and examining a sample.
3. Surgical dermatology treats these diseases through surgical procedures.
4. Finally, cosmetic dermatology treats the skin, hair or nails in an attempt to improve a patient’s appearance.
Dermatologists are able to diagnose more than 3,000 diseases including some you’ve heard of, such as acne and psoriasis, and some you may not have, like argyria, which is caused by excessive exposure to chemical compounds of the element silver, or to silver dust causing the skin to be stained a grey-blue shade.
There are many reasons to visit a dermatologist.
Patients visit skin specialists for a host of medical and cosmetic reasons. Acne is the most common skin condition in the U.S., affecting approximately 85 percent of people between the ages of 12 and 24, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). While there are dermatologist-approved skin care products that can effectively treat acne and other conditions, serious and persistent problems may require consultation with a professional. For Dr. Avshalumova, acne is a leading impetus for visits to her office, along with rashes, psoriasis, eczema, and many other common skin conditions. She also frequently performs cosmetic treatments like Botox, laser hair removal or chemical peels. Other common concerns include the treatment of age spots and wrinkles.
Certain skin concerns warrant immediate consultation.
Any new or changing moles should be evaluated by a dermatologist. These could be indicators of skin cancer, which is the most common cancer in the U.S. The AAD finds that almost 10,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with skin cancer every day. It is, therefore, a healthy practice to regularly give oneself a skin check at home. If you have family history of a serious skin condition, it is also advisable to visit a dermatologist—even if you don’t suspect anything.
Come to your first dermatology appointment prepared to ask questions.
As with all medical consultations, you’ll want to be prepared when you first visit a dermatologist. If you have several skin concerns, it may be helpful to write a list so you don’t forget what to bring to your doctor’s attention. Also don’t forget: You need to pay attention too. It’s a good idea to take notes at your appointment to reference once you get home.
You’ll need to answer questions, too.
In terms of what questions you’ll be expected to answer, your dermatologist will ask questions based upon the specific issues you have. You’ll want to inform your doctor of any over-the-counter products, medications and treatments you’ve tried in the past, and how you reacted to each one. The doctor will then perform an examination and make treatment recommendations—which may range from lifestyle changes to a medical procedure.
You may need a referral to see a dermatologist.
When searching for a dermatologist, there are numerous online resources including ZocDoc and Health Grades, which offer ratings and reviews of doctors. You can search the American Academy of Dermatology website for local skin specialists. Additionally, many hospitals have dermatology departments with top-rated skin specialists. Another route is traditional word of mouth, to solicit a recommendation from your personal or professional networks.
It is important to note that while certain insurance carriers do cover visits to the dermatologist, you may need a referral from your primary care physician (PCP). Check with your insurance carrier before booking an appointment with a specialist to see if a visit to your PCP will be necessary.
You’ll want to check with your insurance provider before booking a procedure or treatment.
If during your visit to a dermatologist they recommend any treatments or procedures, you’ll want to see if your insurance company will cover the costs. You could check with your carrier beforehand, if you have an idea of what treatment you might need. Another approach would be to go to your appointment and get recommendations. Afterward call your insurance carrier to see if a recommended procedure is covered and what the costs would be, then make a follow-up if you want to do it. For example, cosmetic treatments are typically not covered. You’ll likely have to pay out of pocket for something unrelated to health concerns.
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Acne is a very common skin condition. It is estimated to affect 80% of 11 to 30 year olds and, while the aim is to treat the condition before the skin becomes too damaged, this is not always possible. As such, the after effects of acne can be as damaging as the condition itself. Acne scarring can be a result of any type and any severity of acne. Picking and squeezing spots can also damage surrounding skin and increase the risk of scarring. Acne scarring can be distressing for patients, leading to lack of self-confidence and even depression. Here at 212SKIN® Dermatology we offer a number of treatments to aid patients in improving their scars and becoming more confident in their appearance. One of them is Microneedling.
Microneedling refers to both the Dermaroller treatment and the Dermapen; it is also known as collagen induction therapy. Microneedling is a minimally invasive procedure used to rejuvenate the skin. It is most commonly used for the reduction of scars such as acne scarring, hypertrophic scars and surgical scars. It is also used for fading stretch marks, reducing fine lines and tightening sagging skin.
The Dermaroller is a mechanical device that contains a wheel of microneedles. The Dermaroller is rolled over the skin in order to create a controlled area of trauma in the skin’s top layer. As each microneedle punctures the skin a small channel is formed. This stimulates the production of collagen and elastin in the deeper layers of skin. The microtrauma also leads to the formation of new capillaries (small blood vessels) reducing the appearance of scars and improving the texture of the skin.
The Dermapen is similar in that it uses microneedles to create a controlled area of trauma but instead of a mechanical device it is a smaller electronic device that resembles a pen. The Dermapen uses the same principal as the Dermaroller but instead of the rolling action, the Dermapen is moved backwards and forwards across the skin as the microneedles automatically go in and out of the device around 1000 times a minute. After the procedure your skin may be slightly red. This can last up to 4 days depending on the depth and intensity of the treatment you have.
Like with microdermabrasion, the top, dead layer of skin is removed and so the skin is temporarily much better at absorbing topical lotions. Any product applied to the skin during or immediately after a Dermaroller or Dermapen treatment is very easily absorbed into the skin, rendering it much more effective than with a traditional topical application.