What Exactly Is a Dermatologist?

Here at Skin Care & Laser Physicians of Beverly Hills, we’re proud of the fact that we’re a physician-only practice, meaning every consultation, treatment, and procedure is handled personally by a physician, not a nurse or assistant or someone similar. Since, as the name indicates, the practice focuses on skin care, the physicians are dermatologists. West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Los Angeles-area men and women are probably used to hearing that term for a medical professional—especially given the ongoing Southern California love affair between sun and skin—but may not know what it means beyond a doctor who specializes in skin.

While skin is certainly a huge component of a dermatologist’s focus, the specialist is also concerned with the health and appearance of hair, fingernails and toenails, and mucous membranes found in the nose, mouth, and eyelids. Problems a board-certified dermatologist is qualified to can range from the cosmetic (as with wrinkles) to the life-threatening (as with melanoma).

The American Academy of Dermatology reports that, among their various activities, dermatologists diagnose and treat more than 3,000 diseases that impact the skin, hair, nails, and membranes.

At minimum, a dermatologist must earn a bachelor’s degree and a medical degree, followed by a one-year internship and at least three years spent in a dermatology residency program.

From there, a dermatologist can voluntarily become board certified, which requires obtaining a license to practice medicine, passing examinations administered by one of three boards (the American Board of Dermatology, American Osteopathic Association, and/or Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada), and fulfilling any other necessary board-specific requirements. Even after achieving certification, physicians may have to maintain that certification through new rounds of testing once a decade.

The three dermatologists at Skin Care & Laser Physicians of Beverly Hills are board certified and prepared to treat a range of cosmetic and medical problems. For more information, call 310-246-0495.

Written by Dr. Derek Jones

Dr. Derek Jones is a renowned Los Angeles and Beverly Hills area dermatologist practicing in cosmetic and general dermatology.