Dermatologists: What Do They Do and Which Conditions Can They Treat?

person scratching his arm

If you have ever experienced a skin condition such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, or rosacea, chances are you have sought the expertise of a dermatologist. But what exactly is a dermatologist and what do they do?

In this blog post, we will delve into the world of dermatology, exploring the responsibilities of dermatologists, the various conditions they are equipped to handle, and specifically focus on a common skin ailment known as dermatitis.

So, let’s dive in and uncover more about dermatologists and their field of expertise.

What is a Dermatologist?

A dermatologist is a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating diseases and disorders of the skin, hair, nails, and mucous membranes. They can prescribe medications, perform surgeries, employ laser treatments, and offer other therapies to address skin problems. Additionally, they can also conduct cosmetic procedures aimed at enhancing the appearance of the skin.

Dermatologists undergo extensive training and experience. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, they can diagnose and treat more than 3,000 skin, hair, and cosmetic diseases.

The field of dermatology encompasses several specialized types, which include:

  • Dermatopathologist
  • Mohs surgeon
  • Pediatric Dermatologist

Skin conditions can affect individuals of all ages, from newborns to those over 100 years old. Dermatologists possess knowledge about conditions that may indicate underlying health issues, such as signs of diabetes and heart disease that manifest on the skin.

Continue reading to gain a deeper understanding of dermatologists and their role.

Dermatitis: Types, Symptoms, and Causes

One of the most common skin conditions that dermatologists treat is Dermatitis. Dermatitis is a broad term encompassing skin inflammation, resulting in symptoms like redness, itching, swelling, and in some cases, blisters or crusts.

As the NHS explains, dermatitis can manifest anywhere on the body, though the most common sites are the face and hands. In individuals with fair skin, it may appear as redness, while those with darker skin may experience dark brown, purple, or grey discoloration.

Dermatitis exists in various forms, including:

  • Contact dermatitis: This type of dermatitis arises as a reaction to substances that come into contact with the skin, such as allergens or irritants.
  • Atopic Dermatitis Atopic dermatitis is the most prevalent form of eczema, a group of conditions causing skin irritation and dryness. It often leads to itching, scaling, swelling, and blistering, and is frequently associated with allergies, asthma, and stress.
  • Nummular Dermatitis: Characterized by the presence of coin-shaped patches of dry, itchy skin on the arms, legs, or torso, nummular dermatitis is more commonly observed in men, with the peak age of onset between 55 and 65, according to WebMD
  • Seborrheic Dermatitis: Commonly known as “cradle cap” in children and “dandruff” in adults, seborrheic dermatitis results in flaky, yellowish scales on the scalp, face, ears, chest, or back.

The precise causes of dermatitis or skin irritation are not always fully understood. However, factors such as genetics, stress, environmental triggers, or certain medications may contribute to or exacerbate its symptoms.

The NHS outlines two primary factors responsible for dermatitis:

  1. Irritants: substances that directly damage the outer layer of the skin. Examples of common irritants causing contact dermatitis include soaps, detergents, solvents, and repeated exposure to water.
  2. Allergens: Allergens are substances that elicit an immune response, which in turn affects the skin.

How to treat Dermatitis?

Dermatitis can be a frustrating and uncomfortable condition that significantly impacts one’s quality of life. However, with an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment administered by a dermatologist, it can be effectively managed and prevented from worsening.

According to the NHS, dermatologists may recommend the following treatments for dermatitis: 

  • Emollients: These are moisturizers designed to prevent the skin from becoming dry.
  • Topical corticosteroids: Dermatologists may prescribe ointments and creams containing steroids to alleviate severe symptoms.
  • Oral corticosteroids: In cases of severe contact dermatitis covering a large area of the skin, dermatologists may prescribe oral corticosteroids.

Treatments for Dermatitis will always depend on the condition’s type, severity, and location. To ensure the best care for your skin health or dermatitis, it is advisable to consult a doctor or dermatologist for expert advice and guidance.

If you are seeking a specialist to address any skin conditions at DaVinci Health, our clinic boasts a team of medical experts, including dermatologists, who possess the knowledge and experience necessary to provide accurate diagnoses, effective treatments, and prevention advice.

Visit our Consultant’s Timetable to find a doctor and book an appointment. Our private clinic in Birkirkara, Malta, offers a wide range of services, cutting-edge technology and esteemed physicians dedicated to your well-being.

Book your appointment today