Dermatologists are medical professionals who specialise in skin physiology. With the rate of patients being diagnosed with skin cancer increasing this is a medical speciality of more importance than ever before. This is one reason as to why it is such a fast developing branch of medicine. Through the use of medical and laboratory techniques a dermatologist would need to ascertain what, if any, skin disease a patient has and then recommend the best choice of treatment. Conditions that a dermatologist would typically deal with include skin cancer, eczema and warts.

There is the possibility of specialising in one area of dermatology such as laser surgery. This would typically involve the treatment of conditions such as birthmark removal. A specialist of dermatology would need a broad knowledge of skin physiology, and would also need an understanding of other medical specialities such as immunology and genetics. This is a specialist area that would require you to keep up-to-date with any new advances in the testing and treatment of patients.

Work activities

Typical work activities a dermatologist would need to carry out include the following:

  • Deal with skin and other appendages such as hair.
  • Carry out testing and treatment for conditions such as eczema, skin cancer and hair loss.
  • Use techniques such as laser surgery, skin surgery and soft tissue fillers.
  • Use investigative techniques to ascertain what skin problem a patient may have.
  • Continue to study in order to keep up-to-date with any advances in the diagnosis and treatment of skin diseases.
  • Undertake outpatient duties and work with patients on the ward.
  • Carry out administrative tasks.
  • Work closely with a host of medical professionals.
  • Collate and analyse any patient referral material you are given and ensure that it is updated.
  • Be comforting when informing people that they have a skin disease.

Essential skills

  • Deal with topics that can be hard hitting for both patients and yourself.
  • Organised and professional approach.
  • Desire to help improve peoples’ lives.
  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Self-motivated in order to continue studying throughout your career.
  • Flexible manner.
  • Ability to work as part of a medical team and as an individual.
  • Analytical skills.
  • Extensive knowledge of skin physiology.
  • Understanding of other medical sub-specialities such as immunology.
  • Attention to detail.
  • Leadership qualities and the ability to teach other upcoming medical professionals.