Whether you are looking for a specialist to treat your skin rash or acne or are planning to undergo a skin treatment for looking younger, going to a skin specialist is the answer. And “dermatologists” is the name that comes to mind when anyone asks you about a skin specialist. And in many cases, people use skin specialists and dermatologists interchangeably. But in reality, there is much more to skin specialists than just being a dermatologist. Confused? Well, you do not have to be because we are here to shed light on this.
Be it a skin rash, pigmentation, darkening of the skin or skin itching, consulting a skin specialist is the first thing you must know about. And secondly, whatever your skin concern is, knowing about the right type of skin expert as per your needs is very important. But here comes the twist because with so many skin specialists around, most of us are clueless about the right expert to consult for our skin problems. In this series of know your doctor, we will be discussing the different types of skin specialists for different problems.
Types Of Skin Specialists
Generally, a skin specialist can be divided into four main categories based on their specialization. These include:
Dermatologist: A dermatologist is a skin doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of more than 3000 skin problems. A dermatologist is the right expert to consult if you suffer from skin problems such as:
-Scalp infections (like dandruff)
-Acanthosis nigricans (dark, velvety patches in the folds such as groin, armpits, and neck)
-Fungal foot infection
-Skin cancers (sudden appearance of moles or any skin abnormalities)
Basically, you can go to a dermatologist for any skin condition from discoloration or patchy skin to hives and other skin issues.
Cosmetologist: Cosmetologists are trained and licensed to perform cosmetic treatments of the skin, nails, and hair. They are experts at –
So basically, cosmetologists are the right skin specialists to consult if you have skin or beauty related queries or problems.
Aesthetician or cosmetic dermatologist: They are doctors who are trained primarily in dermatology but are specialized to assess and treat skin, lip, nails and mouth problems with the help of non-invasive cosmetic procedures. Cosmetic dermatologists are the one who performs:
For example, a dermatologist will treat eczema but a cosmetic dermatologist will treat wrinkles, fine lines, and spots to improve your aesthetic appeal. You can consult a cosmetic dermatologist for treatment of acne scars, cellulitis, birthmarks, and laser hair removal.
Plastic Surgeon: Plastic surgeons perform invasive surgeries that help improve the shape and appearance of a patient’s body. This includes performing:
1. Cosmetic surgeries such as nose jobs and facelifts.
2. Reconstructive surgeries for people who are
-Injured in accidents
-Born with defects such as cleft lip palate
How To Choose A Dermatologist?
Whether you are planning to go under the knife for fixing a birthmark or are looking for a dermatologist for your chronic skin condition, there are few things you need to keep in mind. These are:
Ask for referrals: You can ask for a reference from your family doctor about the best dermatologists in your locality. Even friends and relatives can recommend doctors based on their first-hand experience or word of mouth. You can even look for reviews and fix an appointment with a dermatologist you feel can treat your skin condition.
Check the credentials: There might be a bunch of experts in your area who specialize in treating deadly skin disease or can provide the best aesthetic options. However, it is wise to first check the credentials of the doctor before fixing an appointment. This is very important as it not only tells you about the skills, training, and experience of the doctor but also gives you a clear idea of whether you can trust the doctor.
Check hospital facilities: It goes without saying that it is important to do your bit of research in checking the quality and facilities provided by a hospital. Also, check the history and reviews of the doctors and services of a hospital by its patients as it can be of great help. The certification and accreditation of a hospital are crucial for better outcome and treatment.
Talk to your dermatologist: Before undergoing any surgery or treatment, it is imperative to know about the pros and cons of it. And who’s best to answer all your concerns and queries than a good expert. So do visit your dermatologist with all the questions you have regarding your skin problem and treatment. If your doctor doesn’t welcome your questions, not giving you a clear picture of the problem, is rushing you to make a decision or sharing information about the topic, then it is wise to look for a better one. Find a dermatologist who can listen to your problems and gives you full freedom to choose a procedure or treatment plan by clearing informing you about the pros and cons and respect your decision.
Knowing about the types of skin specialists and tips on how to choose one can help you to determine the right expert for your skin problem. Stay informed, stay healthy!
(The article is reviewed by Dr. Lalit Kanodia, General Physician)