Sunday, January 07, 2007

Acne - Dermatologists

Dermatologists are skin specialists who treat disorders of the skin. But they don't just treat skin problems: they treat health problems of the hair and nail as wells. They are full-fledged medical doctors trained to diagnose and treat diseases and disorders of the skin, hair and nails.

The most common skin disease that dermatologists treat is acne. Acne is a skin condition that nearly all people have to contend with at some point during their teen years. The cases of acne vary from mild (the occasional pimple or zit) all the way to very severe (which consists of deep acne lesions and often extensive scarring). Acne is caused by the overproduction of oil from the hair follicles sebaceous glands, which combines with dead cells to clog pores. This can lead to whiteheads, blackheads, pustules and papules, or in the most severe cases, cysts.

Most acne cases don't require the services of a dermatologist, as a healthy skin care regimen and over the counter medications can control it. But for those persistent, moderate to severe cases, a dermatologist is almost always needed. These doctors can prescribe stronger topical medications as well as oral antibiotics, to help get a handle on difficult cases. They can also provide the medical means by which acne scars are reduced or eliminated.

Dermatologists also diagnose and treat other skin disorders such as skin cancer. Doctors will examine suspected skin cancer sites on the body and if need be, perform a biopsy to verify cancer's presence. There are a variety of types of skin cancer of varying degrees of seriousness. Needless to say, a doctor should examine any person who suspects that he or she may have some form of skin cancer, immediately.

Psoriasis is another skin ailment treated by these skin doctors. This is a chronic red scaly, sometimes itchy rash that affects a fairly large segment of the population. It can range in severity from barely noticeable, to needing hospitalization. Aside from the skin rash, a person may experience some degree of pains in various joints - which can be debilitating. It is thought that the immune system is involved in causing psoriasis, though this is not certain. There does seem to be a genetic predisposition to this disease. While there is no cure for it there are effective treatments that a dermatologist can provide after diagnosis.

Dermatologists also treat warts. These rough skin tumor-like growths can appear anywhere (but usually on the hands and feet), and are caused by viruses. Some warts go away by themselves but others can persist for many years. Dermatologists can treat warts in several ways. One option is to wait and see if it goes away on it's own. Also, they can use salicylic acid in liquid form or patch. This often will gradually make the wart disappear. They can freeze it, gently, over a period of time. They can also employ surgery, lasers, and chemical cautery to get rid of them.

Dermatologists can also treat patients to remove scars. They can use lasers of varying types to reduce, or completely get rid of scars. The types of scars that can be treated are those that result from injury, acne scars, keloids, and hypertrophic scars. With today's modern lasers, scarring can be reduced to a degree that it never could be before.

These are but a few of the many conditions dermatologists can treat. This is a field of many different specialties and areas of expertise and it is the state of the art in medicine.

Stephanie McIntyre and Wendell Bryant are Internet developers. Visit their site at

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