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How to Become a Dermatologist

How to Become a Dermatologist

If you have been finding a way to be a medical practitioner without being a geek doctor, dermatology is a place for you. All you need to do is add your love for medicine to your passion for beauty, and then you are good to go.

Dermatologists diagnose and treat people with skin diseases. They help people maintain healthy skin. Unlike popular belief, dermatologists do more than just work on skins; they can work on nails and hair. Their work can range from treating common acne to conditions as serious as cancer.

Dermatologists are in high demand, and they are well-paid. An average dermatologist in the US earns over $270,000 per annum. However, this article will take a detailed look at what dermatologists do and how to become one. We will also enumerate skills that can help you become a successful dermatologist.

What do Dermatologists do?

Dermatology is an area of medicine that deals with managing and treating skin, hair, nails, and mucous membranes conditions. Some conditions can significantly impact your appearance, comfort, and well-being.

The skin is the largest organ of the body. It contains nerve endings, pores, hair follicles, blood vessels, and sweat glands, among other structures. Dermatologists have several duties, and the career can keep giving you new challenges every day.

Below are some of the responsibilities that dermatologists perform:

Diagnosing skin-related issues

The primary most-popular duty of a dermatologist is addressing issues related to the skin. First, they check people’s skin, medical history, and other information to determine what is wrong with their skin. They then figure out the cause and possible solution. They also do laboratory examinations to determine what is wrong with a person’s skin. Furthermore, they help assess people’s hair and nails.

Making recommendations and suggestions

Another primary duty of a dermatologist is recommending skincare products and routines. They make recommendations after examining the skin. They can also recommend diets that can help with certain skin conditions.

Developing treatment plans

Dermatologists also develop treatment plans with the help of their diagnosis of skin diseases. They can prescribe medications, surgical processes, or meal plans to treat a particular condition. They also do follow-ups and make sure their patients maintain the treatment.

Addressing cosmetic concerns

Another popular thing that dermatologists do is address concerns related to skincare products and cosmetics. They advise people on skincare product types and uses. They also help people find cosmetics that are good for them.

Formulating skincare products

Another duty of dermatologists is the formulation of skincare products. Some dermatologists take their science a notch higher and go into cosmetics chemistry. They use their hair, skin, and nail knowledge to make products that can be good for them. These set of dermatologists are more scientists than medical doctors.

Experimenting and testing new skincare products

Dermatologists help skincare companies do dermatological tests before their products are released. They also check for the product’s strengths, flaws, and the best people to use them.

How to Become a Dermatologist

Becoming a dermatologist is not a day’s job. It takes a lot of time and expenses to become a certified dermatologist.

Being a dermatologist involves taking meticulous steps that involve a lot of education, training, and gathering experience. Below are the paths to trend to become a dermatologist.

Get a University Degree

The first step toward being a dermatologist is getting a university degree. You should attend the university and pass the coursework to get admitted into medical school. Some universities run their Bachelor’s degrees with a medical degree. University degrees can take between four to seven years.

Attend a Medical School

If you did not attend a university that combines a medical degree with a university’s Bachelor’s, you need to proceed to medical school after university. Medical school takes an average of four years to complete. However, if your Bachelor’s degree has been combined with a medical degree, then you do not need to take this step separately.

Complete Your Internship and Residency

The next thing after medical school is to complete your internship. During residency, you will start putting all you have been taught into practice under the guidance of experienced professionals. You also get to learn from professionals. It can take a daunting period of up to three years.

Become Board Certified

After completing all the educational requirements and residency, the next thing you should do is to get licensed. Please find out the necessity for getting licensed in your area and apply for it. Some Board certifications require you to take an examination, while some do not. Board certifications need to be renewed every ten years.

Do the Fellowship Training

Another thing that you should do when you want to become a dermatologist is a medical fellowship. Some people take this step before the board certification because some areas require them to be licensed. However, some people do not even do it at all.

Skills That You Need to Become a Dermatologist

Apart from the education requirements in dermatology, other skills can help you stand out and thrive in the career line. We have itemized some of them below.

Clinical and Diagnostic Skills

A diagnostic skill is one of the crucial skills necessary to be a dermatologist. It helps you to quickly pinpoint the issue and what causes it so you can recommend the proper medication. You will also be able to use clinical skills to make inferences about a person’s skin and hair condition.

Excellent Attention to Detail

Another vital skill for a dermatologist is being keen and detail-oriented. For instance, there are different skin and hair types. These differences may affect the reaction to the process. There are also many skin diseases, and some may seem similar. The dermatologist’s ability to pay detailed attention will help prevent mix-ups, which can ruin people’s beauty.

Flexibility and Adaptability

Beauty revolves around trends and seasons. Also, one of the most constant-changing medical sciences is dermatology. As a dermatologist, you must be open to changes.

Great Communication Skills

Dermatologists have to convey information about their patients’ skins to them. These may be concerns, advice, and cautions. Dermatologists must be able to share these in the best way possible without creating any fear for their patients. They also must be able to communicate their opinions without being judgmental.

Accuracy and Dexterity

Dermatologists work directly on people’s skin, hair, and nails. Their work makes it easy for people to immediately see the effect of whatever they do. This means they have to be very careful not to do something that might harm their patients or their careers.

Dermatologists also work with sharp tools and must ensure they don’t injure people. They must also be careful not to hurt themselves with some chemicals and tools they use.

Organization and Coordination

Dermatologists work with a lot of patients. Therefore, they must be organized and coordinated to avoid conflict.

Disadvantages of Being a Dermatologist

As prestigious as dermatology and well-paying are, it has some downsides. Some of the drawbacks that you may experience if you want to become a dermatologist are:

  • It requires a lot of time
  • Becoming a Dermatologist is very expensive
  • The trends change and may be challenging to catch up with
  • It may become a routine and boring
  • There is a risk of infections


Dermatologists are doctors and beauty therapists at the same time. They do not only treat skin diseases or make people beautiful; they also make recommendations for hair and nails.

Unlike other hospital consultant areas, dermatology is mainly an outpatient specialty. Hence, the profession offers wide clinical variety and an excellent work-life balance. You can now make an informed decision regarding your chosen career path.

Date: 30 September 2022
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