A dermatologist is a physician who has obtained an M.D. degree after four years in medical school, trained in internal medicine via an internship and/or residency, and taken a three-year residency in dermatology. Some dermatologists spend years in laboratory research at some point during their training as well. He or she then specializes in the treatment of skin conditions and diseases. Some elect to share their knowledge and experience with dermaologists in training by teaching at an academic institution.
Dermatologists are certified by the American Board of Dermatology after their extensive education and medical residency. They are specialists just as are rheumatologists, neurologists, cardiologists, and gastroenterologists, for example. They treat everything from minor skin rashes, like hives, to chronic skin diseases, such as eczema or psoriasis.
Dermatologists are good diagnosticians and can distinguish between conditions that share similar symptoms. They are also skilled surgeons who can remove skin cancers and other growths. Today many dermatologists are also well-versed in cosmetic dermatology procedures to help improve the appearance of skin as we age, and may acquire skills in the delivery of laser, radiofrequency, and cryolipolysis treatments for improving aging and disorders of the skin.