Dermatologists are physicians trained in the medical, surgical, and cosmetic care of the skin. To become a dermatologist, physicians must spend an additional year of internship in general medicine, and then another three years training in the specialty of dermatology after they complete medical school. This training includes medical, surgical, and cosmetic dermatology.
All dermatologists can treat patients of any age, from the very young to the very old, although some dermatologists do have an additional expertise in particular areas, such as pediatric dermatology, dermatologic surgery, laser or cosmetic dermatology. In general, skin conditions can be grouped into those primarily seen in the pediatric age group, and those primarily seen in the adult age group. Dermatologists are also trained in the proper care and treatment of problems associated with hair and nails. We also regularly perform full-body mole checks on patients of all ages who request them.
Conditions primarily associated with the adult age group include skin cancers (basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma), pre-cancerous lesions (actinic keratoses), eczema (atopic dermatitis), rosacea, psoriasis, seborrheic keratoses, hair loss, shingles, allergic reactions and hives, and other rare, benign, and possibly malignant skin disorders.
Because the risk of developing skin cancer increases as one gets older, it is recommended that a regular skin examination be performed by a physician, preferably a dermatologist, who is skilled in recognizing the subtle changes that may occur in moles and skin growths.
Conditions primarily encountered in infancy and childhood include port wine stains, hemangiomas (strawberry birthmarks), congenital nevi (pigmented birthmarks), eczema and dry skin, cradle cap (seborrheic dermatitis), acne, allergic reactions, insect bites, fungal infections, warts, molluscum, and rarely, genetic disorders and congenital malformations.
Dermatologists are trained in extensive surgical techniques of the skin and mucous membranes. Although some of the surgeries that we perform may be purely for cosmetic reasons (such as repairing an earlobe after an ear piercing, or the surgical removal of acne scars on the face), most of the surgeries that are performed by dermatologists in our group are for medical reasons, such as removal of skin cancers and moles. This is considered excisional surgery. Other types of surgical techniques commonly used in a dermatologist’s office include cryosurgery (liquid nitrogen), which is commonly used to treat warts and pre-cancerous lesions, and electrosurgery, which can also be used to remove benign and malignant skin lesions.
Sometimes a dermatologist will need to take a biopsy of the skin. This means taking a small piece of the skin for definitive diagnosis. All of our surgeries are performed right in our offices on an outpatient basis.
At Adult & Pediatric Dermatology, PC, we are fortunate to have both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) phototherapy lights available at our Concord and Marlborough offices. Ultraviolet light therapy and photochemotherapy (PUVA) can be very useful for treating a variety of skin disorders. Among these are psoriasis, eczema (including hand and foot eczema), and vitiligo. Certain other acute and chronic types of rashes can also respond well to phototherapy. Scheduling for phototherapy for our patients in either of our offices is made as convenient as possible during weekdays.
Psoriasis is a group of chronic skin disorders that cause itching and/or burning, scaling and crusting of the skin. More than seven million men and women in the U.S. of all ages have some form of psoriasis, which may be mild, moderate or severe. The most commonly affected areas are the scalp, elbows, knees, hands, feet and genitals.
Psoriasis cannot be cured, but it can be treated successfully, sometimes for months or years at a time and occasionally even permanently. Treatment depends on the type, severity and location of psoriasis; the patient’s age, medical history and life; and the effect the disease has on the patient’s general mental health. The most common treatments are topical medications, phototherapy, photochemotherapy (PUVA), and oral or injectable medications (for severe symptoms).