What is a Board-Certified Dermatologist?
Updated: Sep 20
A dermatologist is a physician who has earned an MD or a DO degree and has done specialized training in diseases of the hair, skin, and nails. You should always look for someone who is board-certified by the American Board of Dermatology. To earn this title, one must complete, after high school, 4 years of college and earn a bachelor’s degree, 4 years of medical school, one year of medical or surgical internship, and three years of dedicated dermatology residency training. They also have passed an exam for certification and maintain that certification with regular, extensive educational courses and testing. That is 12 years of training!
Our aim, as dermatologists and medical doctors, is to facilitate the overall greatest health of the largest organ of the skin and correlate that with your general health. The medical doctor, dermatologist, is also licensed to prescribe medications and perform skin surgeries and procedures.
There are a lot of people who are fall within the category of skin care professionals. Depending on your condition, treatment goals, and other considerations, you may work with a number of industry practitioners over time. Understanding the general aspects of training, focus, and approach can help make informed choices, and promote collaboration when necessary.
A physician assistant studies for approximately 2.5 years, including didactics and clinical rotations. After that, he or she must practice under the guidance of a physician, and are frequently trained on-the-job. A nurse practitioner first earns his or her registered nursing degree and then does an additional year of didactics and clinical rotations. Each of these professionals have great knowledge and are vital to our medical system in providing access and continuity of care to patients. Training for PAs and NPs is primarily on-the-job rather than a focused curriculum and time of study. All of these professionals require certification by your state medical board.
A cosmetologist completes a training course that emphasizes the cosmetic aspect of the skin and hair and nails. In-depth training regarding the diseases of these structures is usually not part of the training. This area of study would more likely be part of the training level for an aesthetician (although some aestheticians are RNs as well) or a nail technician.
Some cosmetic-specialists receive extra training as a laser technician or an electrolysis provider. In any case, these professionals must work under the supervision of a medical director, who holds and MD or DO degree.
A trichologist is someone who studies the hair and scalp extensively, frequently a cosmetologist who has focused his or her expertise in hair care. There are a number of training programs for this specialty, but as of the writing of this blog, they are not standardized or regulated, so it is very hard to comment on specific aspects of training.
All of these professionals in the spectrum of skin care and health have a vital place in your overall health and appearance.