A dermatologist is a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating disorders of the skin, nails, hair and neighboring mucus membranes. They treat over 3,000 diseases and disorders, including skin cancer, psoriasis, acne and rosacea. A dermatologist can also provide advice about skin care, including how to protect the skin from the sun or reduce the signs of aging.
What Kind of Education is Required?
Dermatology is a field of medicine, so the aspiring dermatologist needs to undertake the usual medical education. They need to go to medical school and earn either a degree in osteopathic medicine or a medical degree. Afterward, the physician serves a year-long internship followed by a dermatological residency that lasts for at least three years.
What Happens During a Skin Cancer Screening?
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. Experts, therefore, recommend that people undergo a skin cancer screening once every year. Basal cell cancer and squamous cell cancer have a 95 percent cure rate if they are caught early. Melanoma, the deadliest cancer, also has a high cure rate, providing it is caught before it metastasizes.
A typical skin screening takes 10 to 20 minutes, and it will take place in our office. The dermatologist will then examine the patient from head to toe. She will examine such places as the scalp, eyelids and nails. She will also examine the lymph nodes, especially if the patient has a history of melanoma. The doctor will make note of anything she finds.
If the dermatologist does find something suspicious, she may decide to monitor it over time, or she may perform a biopsy on the spot. In a biopsy, she takes a tissue sample from the suspicious-looking site and analyzes it in a lab.
What About Acne?
Acne is one of the most common skin disorders, and it often responds to over-the-counter treatments. It usually takes such treatments about four to six weeks to clear up the skin. If the acne persists for longer than that, or the treatments stop working, a dermatologist can help. The patient should also consult the dermatologist if they have scars from the acne or if they develop cystic acne, which is the most severe form of acne and involves infected pimples that are red, swollen and painful. Cystic acne, if untreated, can last for years and leave scars.
Other Reasons to See Dr. Grossman
A patient should visit our dermatologist if they have any kind of skin problem that doesn’t heal or go away on its own. Persistent itching, for example, might be caused by eczema or an allergy. Patients should also see our doctor about any changes they notice in their skin. For example, if they find a new mole, or if an existing mole is bleeding or getting bigger, they need to see our dermatologist. Changes involving moles can indicate cancer.
With offices in Santa Monica and New York City, Grossman Dermatology also provides a variety of cosmetic treatments that can eradicate such blemishes as scars or stretch marks. Contact us today to schedule your consultation to learn more about how our dermatologist can help you.