Myths, Facts, and Fun Stuff about Dermatology

Myths, Facts, and Fun Stuff about Dermatology!

You probably know that when it comes to your skin, you can’t be too diligent or careful. It’s just not possible to keep your skin, hair, and nails perfect all the time! 

You may also have heard that doctors don’t actually “do” dermatology – instead, it’s a subset of general medicine that specializes in the treatment of skin diseases and problems. Although there are some differences between the medical practices of dermatologists and other physicians, as a general rule, they fall into the same practice area: applying patented treatments to maintain or improve your skin condition. They might specialize in another area or specialty altogether, but they all fall under the umbrella of dermatology.

It’s true that there are various types of dermatologists – some focus on specific ailments (e.g., acne), while others diagnose and treat people with common skin conditions (e.g., eczema). Some may even offer cosmetic treatments for people with sensitive skin issues. However, regardless of what type you happen to work with, you’re likely going to deal with the same set of problems at some point in your life: sometimes referred to as “allergies” or “psoriasis”. 

Here are 6 common myths about doctoring it up.

1. Dermatologists have to have a degree in medicine! – This one is a tough one – many doctors go into dermatology because they want to help people, and they don’t necessarily need to be able to prescribe medications. This is why medical school is such a crucial first step – you have to be completely serious about wanting to be a doctor and get your degree first. 

Once you’ve done that, you can choose to spend a few years as a general practitioner, or you can go back to school and earn a medical degree. In fact, there are many specialties that only began as separate medical specialties after medical school, such as oncology, hematology, radiology, and others. It’s important to understand why you majored in economics or political science in college – you’re much more likely to get a serious medical degree if you choose this path!

2. You can’t just go into practice and end up as a dermatologist! – This one is a myth – in fact, many medical specialties, including dermatology, have extremely low rates of consolidation (i.e., joining a larger group of medical practices). The majority of dermatologists are still located in medical practices – they’re just hired as “staff” or “clinic” doctors, and they report to the Dermatologist-In-Chief (usually the Dermatologist-In-Charge of the Clinic). Plus, there are many subspecialties that are almost exclusively practiced by Dermatologists, such as Cutis Minima (white skin syndrome), erythema (muscle spasms), lentigines (constricted pupils), pemphigus (an auto-immune disease that causes sores on the face), actinic damage (from lights and electronics) and others.

3. There are only specialist dermatologists practicing today! – Not necessarily (although there are fewer of them). 

4. A dermatologist is always pretty mean! – This one is also a myth – many doctors (including dermatologists) are actually very sweet, caring, and understanding, such as the dermatologist of Schweiger Dermatology in Philadelphia. However, some doctors have a “mean” personality due to their job or the way they choose to help people. Others may be “nice” in that they don’t say things they don’t mean, but they don’t necessarily mean what they say. It’s important to understand your doctor’s “style” and “brand” – some doctors are both more empathetic and hard-nosed at the same time. Ask your doctor about his or her medical specialties, and you’ll probably notice that they fall into different categories!

5. All dermatologists wear white coats! – While a majority of doctors do take off their shoes and gloves before entering the patient room, there are still some who aren’t fully comfortable in this environment (or at least people we don’t feel completely at ease around). 6. You can’t become a doctor unless you finish school first! – This one’s true in a lot of ways, but not all – you can usually become a doctor immediately after high school after you take the required exams and get your license. However, there are some specialties that require a longer path, like oncology and hematology. It’s worth noting that medical school is very rigorous – it’s like a four-year bachelor’s degree program in medicine for real – and you’re likely to have trouble making time for a full-time job.