Dermatology and Dermatologists

What is a Dermatologist?
A dermatologist is a physician who specializes in skin care. This doctor receives extensive training in treating skin problems and helping keep skin healthy. With this extensive training, experience, and passion, a dermatologist helps keep skin, hair, and nails healthy, and healthy-looking, throughout your lifetime.

Your Dermatologist's Training
After earning a medical degree and completing an internship, a dermatologist receives three more years of specialty training to become an expert who is dedicated to skin, hair, and nails. Many dermatologists have general practices and see patients with all types of skin concerns. Some dermatologists gain additional training and expertise in specific areas of dermatology, such as pediatrics, surgery, or cosmetics, and go on to have practices specializing in these areas. Whether you need medical, surgical, or cosmetic treatment for your skin, you can find a dermatologist who meets your needs. Use the Academy's Find a Dermatologist tool to locate a dermatologist in your area.

Who Needs a Dermatologist?
Dermatologists' eyes are uniquely trained to analyze the skin, hair, and nails. They can spot potential problems and diagnose a multitude of conditions that range from minor to life-threatening.

These skills and knowledge can improve the lives of patients of all ages — the infant with a red birthmark, the child with eczema, the baby boomer with sun-damaged skin, the senior citizen with shingles — effectively treating their skin conditions and making them look and feel their best.

Dermatologists also are a great resource for learning how to prevent skin, hair, and nail concerns. They can teach you how to protect yourself from the sun to avoid skin cancer, caution you about hairstyles that can contribute to hair loss, and advise you about how to care for your nails to prevent common conditions such as nail fungus.

Whether a dermatologist provides general medical care for the skin or focuses on a specialized area of medical, surgical, or cosmetic dermatology, he or she can be your trusted partner in maintaining the health of your skin, hair, and nails.

What Does Board-Certified Mean?
When a dermatologist is board-certified, it means that the dermatologist has:
  • Completed a three-year residency in dermatology;
  • Passed a rigorous two-part test administered by the American Board of Dermatology.
Most members of the American Academy of Dermatology are board-certified in dermatology.