General Overview

A dermatologist is a physician and skin care professional who specializes in treating integumentary system disorders. A dermatologist diagnoses and treats conditions such as skin cancer, acne, psoriasis, eczema, rosacea, hair loss or excessive hair growth, and varicose veins. Many dermatologists are also skilled in other branches of medicine, including surgery, endocrinology, neurology and infectious diseases because the fact that many skin disorders are often a sign of an underlying, and more serious, condition. Many dermatologists also practice cosmetic dermatology, which deals with treating acne, wrinkles, discoloration, scarring and spider or varicose veins.

Typical Workday

A typical day for a dermatologist starts early and is spent seeing patients for a variety of skin disorders. A dermatologist will often spend most of her day examining patients dealing with aging skin, acne or various skin cancers. The majority of a dermatologist’s daily duties includes prescribing strong acne medication such as benzoyl peroxide, filling in wrinkles with Botox or Restylane, treating scarring with microdermabrasion or laser treatments, diagnosing or treating malignant melanoma, and performing surgery to treat varicose veins or skin cancer. Setting up appointments with new patients and scheduling follow-ups with older patients is also a part of a typical workday.

Other Duties

Besides the typical daily duties, dermatologists also take part in new and important research regarding diagnosis and treatment. Whether in a team or individually, a dermatologist spends a lot of time researching new treatment methods for different skin diseases, applying the new techniques to the treatment of various disorders and engaging in the ongoing search for a cure for skin cancer. In recent years, research into the genetics of the integumentary system has grown rapidly, and many dermatologists include themselves in this research to benefit their field and personal practice.