What is a Dermatologist?

Dermatologists are a unique group of physicians who are specifically trained to be your “go-to” experts in all issues pertaining to your skin, hair, and nails.  Dermatologists are the experts in treating acne, aging skin, rashes, nail changes, hair loss, and any skin lesion, particularly bleeding or changing spots of any color, shape or size.

Dermatologists are the most skilled physicians in the diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer.  For example, if a patient is concerned about a bleeding or changing skin lesion they should see a dermatologist.  A dermatologist has years of training to recognize patterns and clues that make a spot concerning for skin cancer.  If we are concerned about a particular lesion, we can take a sample of the lesion, called a biopsy.  A biopsy is then sent to our dermatopathologist who gives us greater details about skin lesions at a microscopic level.  These details allow us to diagnose the spot and decide whether the lesion needs additional treatment.

If additional treatments are needed, the good news is that most skin cancers are curable. Dermatologists are uniquely trained to know and perform the best treatment options for skin cancers and other skin lesions.  Such treatments can include various surgical techniques to remove most any spot.  A large portion of our 3 years of dermatology training includes the mastery of skin-specific surgery.  We are experts in removing skin cancers and benign skin lesions, placing stitches, and making the best scars.  We then follow patients to ensure the spot does not return and no new worrisome spots arise. 

Through our training as skin surgeons, dermatologists learn detailed anatomy underneath the skin, particularly where blood vessels, nerves, and muscles are located.  We recognize possible “danger zones” for certain procedures. Knowing these danger zones is essential not only for the removal of skin lesions, but also for cosmetic injections, such as neuromodulators (e.g. Botox, Dysport, Xeomin) and fillers (e.g. Juvederm, Restylane, Radiesse, amongst others). 

The popularity of cosmetic procedures has exploded over the past few years. An annual survey by the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery shows that half of our patients are considering a cosmetic medical procedure.  Given the increasing popularity of cosmetic procedures, dermatologists urge patients to investigate carefully the training that their medical provider has received before any cosmetic dermatologic procedure. Dermatologists have led the research to develop and put into practice most every cosmetic skin and laser procedure.  Dermatologists are specifically trained and rigorously tested in their knowledge of facial anatomy and muscle innervation, proper uses of the variety of neuromodulators and fillers, the dangers and complications of these procedures, and the proper diagnosis and management of complications when they do occur, albeit rarely in experts’ hands.  

In addition to injections, dermatologists are the most knowledgeable medical experts in ways to keep your skin looking its best.  Our best beauty tip is to limit sun exposure.  Wear sun protective clothing and regularly use broad-spectrum sunscreens with Sun Protective Factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. Protecting your skin from the sun is by far your best way to prevent skin aging and skin cancer. Sun exposure that has happened in our pasts leaves behind fine lines and wrinkles, brown, red, and scaly spots which can be successfully treated. Dr. Caren Campbell offers laser treatments, chemical peels, surgeries, prescription, and over-the-counter products  to help improve and maintain the overall appearance of your skin.