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What is a dermatologist and when should you see one?

A dermatologist is a medical doctor who specializes in conditions that affect your skin. Skin diseases are especially common, affecting one in four Americans each year. A dermatologist can identify and treat more than 3,000 conditions involving the skin, hair, and nails including eczema, psoriasis, and skin cancer, among many others.
Dermatologist examining patient in clinic

Gaining the expertise to provide the level of care a dermatologist provides takes many years of schooling and hands-on experience:

  • Four years of college to earn a bachelor’s degree
  • Four years of medical school to become a medical doctor
  • A year-long internship
  • Three years of residency, working alongside experienced doctors and completing 12,000 to 16,000 hours of treating patients.

After successfully completing residency training in dermatology, a dermatologist can become board-certified, completing a challenging exam on the knowledge and skills acquired during their years of training. Board certification from the American Board of Dermatology or the American Osteopathic Board of Dermatology lets you know you are receiving care from someone who has received the most rigorous education in the field.

Today, there are an estimated 9,600 dermatologists and 7,800 dermatology practices in the U.S (IMS Health) including Dermatology Specialists of Florida right here in Navarre. Locals can call (850) 932-1455 to schedule with board-certified dermatologist John Phillips, MD who has over 30 years of dermatology experience.

“For more than thirty years, I’ve dedicated my life to improving the health and appearance of my patients’ skin with the latest in advanced technology, treatments and procedures. I enjoy taking care of the dermatology needs of my patients and educating them on the importance of proper skin care and, especially, the prevention and treatment of skin cancer,” commented Dr. Phillips.

Dermatologists treat a wide variety of skin conditions from deadly skin cancers to warts. On any given day, a dermatologist may treat patients with chronic conditions such as psoriasis to allergic reactions. Dermatologists treat infections caused by bacteria or a virus, and life-threatening conditions such as cellulitis or melanoma. Many dermatologists also care for patients who want help with cosmetic concerns, including revitalizing aging skin and diminishing scars due to acne or other causes.

Still uncertain about when to make an appointment with a dermatologist? Here are our top 5 reasons to schedule that appointment soon:

  1. You have a mole that is new or changing shape/size. This includes any new spots on your skin, spots that are different from others, or spots that are changing, itching, or bleeding.
  2. You have a lesion that won’t heal. A sore that doesn’t heal (or heals and returns) and may bleed, ooze, or crust over is concerning.
  3. You have acne that won’t go away. A dermatologist will help with scarring from acne and any persistent acne that won’t go away.
  4. Your skin is dry, itchy, irritated, scaly and/or red. Your dermatologist will recommend specific treatments depending on your individual needs.
  5. You haven’t had an annual skin check. Early detection is extremely important and potentially lifesaving.

TIP FROM DR. PHILLIPS: Making your annual skin check at the same time each year, around an event such as your birthday, can serve as a helpful reminder.

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