Dermatologists treat and diagnose skin, hair and nail problems. They treat conditions such as acne, dandruff and rosacea, and diseases such as skin cancer. They combine their medical expertise and a variety of tools to treat and diagnose these dermatological problems.
Dermatologists have an arsenal of procedures to take care of your skin. For example, they use drying agents, antibiotics and even oral contraceptives to treat adult acne, and they inject Botox to treat fine lines and wrinkles. To help you retain your youthful glow, they may administer chemical peels and dermabrasion, which is a technique that uses a rough surface to scrub away the upper layers of your skin. Common treatments for skin cancer include topical medications and radiation, and if you have spider veins, your dermatologist might inject a chemical liquid into your veins. This technique is called sclerotherapy, and it causes these veins to turn into scar tissue.
Dermatologists use specific tools to treat skin care conditions. For example, they use comedone extractors to clear pores. For whiteheads, your dermatologist will use a lancet extractor, and for blackheads, they'll use loop and spoon extractors. If you have warts or moles, they'll use dermal curettes to scrape them off. A dermatologist might use a biopsy punch on chronic skin rashes or growths to check for skin diseases.
Dermatologists turn to specific machines to deal with certain skin problems. For example, they may use laser dermabrasion machines to scrub off the skin's top layers and remove wrinkles, moles, scars and tattoos. They use other laser systems to treat skin discolorations, remove hair and wrinkles, and treat vascular lesions, which might look like red, raised scars. Intense Pulsated Light, which sends powerful pulses of light to affected areas, is often used to treat vascular lesions, freckles, age marks and wrinkles, and to remove unwanted hair.
Dermatologists often evaluate the patient’s skin using microscopes. The high-powered magnification allows them to detect and identify skin parasites. They also use special suction tubes called cannulas to vacuum unwanted fat from beneath the skin in a technique called liposuction. A cryogen -- a spray device containing carbon dioxide, liquid nitrogen and argon -- is the main tool used in cryotherapy, which freezes and kills abnormal cells. For nail care, dermatologists often use nail nippers, nail drills and nail scissors to relieve blood built up under the nail.
- American Academy of Dermatology: Dermatologist Top Tips
- The Office on Women's Health: Varicose Veins and Spider Veins Fact Sheet
- Mayo Clinic: Treatments and Drugs
- Venus Worldwide: What Are Different Types Of Blackhead Remover
- Dermnet: Intense Light Therapy
- New York Times: Resurfacing Treatments
- American Academy of Dermatology: Liposuction
- Women's Health in General Practice; Danielle Mazza