Dermatology deals with diseases related to skin, hair and nails. A dermatologist is a doctor who diagnoses and treats diseases pertaining to skin. The human skin is one of the most visible organs of the body and acts as a shield against germs. However, most of us at some point or other, suffer from certain skin diseases. Skin doctors treat several diseases including skin cancer, acne, nail infections, psoriasis and some dermatologists also provide aesthetic and cosmetic solutions like ‘botox’ and dermal fillers. Most skin specialists also do some skin surgery. So they take care of a range of conditions, ranging from minor problems to serious conditions like skin cancers and also dealing with cosmetic issues. There are over 4000 possible diagnoses a dermatologist can make, so the training is intensive and prolonged to achieve the coveted qualification to work as a consultant ophthalmologist in the UK.
Becoming a dermatologist in the United Kingdom
It requires several years of education to become a skin specialist. In the United Kingdom (UK) in order to become a qualified skin practitioner, one has to specialise in medicine and then sub-specialise in dermatology. The process is as follows:
- Education in a medical school for five years
- Two years of foundation training (F1 and F2) to become a registered medical practitioner.
- Training in general medicine for two or three years (Core medical training) and the MRCP (UK) or 3 years in a paediatric core medical training program plus the MRCPCH (UK) plus 12 months of core medical training.
- Applying for a specialist training programme in Dermatology for 4 years in the subject.
- Need to pass SCE (Speciality Certificate Examination) before the training ends
- Upon successful completion of the 4-year higher speciality training period and passing the requisite exam (usually in the penultimate year of the training programme) a physician is an accredited dermatologist and will be entitled to apply for the postnominal MRCP(UK) (Dermatology).
- As a general rule a physician who displays MRCP (UK) (Dermatology) is a fully accredited consultant in dermatology.
The specializations in dermatology are as follows:
Cosmetic dermatology emphasises on the look good factor. A significant aspect of cosmetic dermatology is to improve the looks and appearance of a patient. Cosmetic dermatologists have additional training in order to treat skin conditions for cosmetic reasons. Procedures and skill sets include liposuction, collagen injections, laser surgery, chemical peels, facelifts etc.
As the name suggests, dermatopathology is a combination of both dermatology and pathology. Conditions diagnosed by such a physician include melanoma, infectious and paediatric diseases. Both dermatologists and pathologists share this field.
Dermatologists specialising in paediatric dermatology treats skin disorders in children. Such a skin doctor treats conditions such as eczema, warts, birthmarks, contact dermatitis, vitiligo, hemangiomas, etc. A doctor can qualify for this specialization by completing dermatology and paediatric training.
This speciality focuses on the treatment of skin disorders that are characterized by responses defective in nature to the body's immune system. Doctors in this field work in or have access to immunopathology laboratories.
Here, telecommunication technologies are used to exchange medical information regarding dermatologic conditions. Information can be exchanged by all kinds of media made by non-dermatologists for off-site evaluation. This offers many advantages as doctors can treat a host of conditions online.
Conditions treated by dermatologists
A dermatologist treats a number of conditions. Diseases vary from person to person and doctors treat conditions such as:
- Skin cancer
- Fungal infections
- Hand dermatitis
- Cold sores
- Atopic eczema
Most skin specialists are skin surgeons as well as physicians. Skin surgery is considered to be an important part of dermatology practice. Common therapies and procedures in dermatology include:
- Botulimun toxin injection
- Hair removal
- Hair transplantation
- Radiation therapy
- Allergy testing
- Tattoo removal
So, if you are facing any skin problem visit your nearest dermatology consultant.