I am reposting my very first blog post that somehow has disappeared from the archives. My daughter is almost 11 years old now–and she knows the difference between being a dermatologist and just saying one is one. It seems this post is still relevant today. Enjoy! #tbt
“I’m a dermatologist!” shouts my precocious five-year old daughter as she stands in the hall of my office, laughing, wearing purple gloves, laser goggles, and holding a piece of gauze. Although my daughter is, of course, a genius who is taking names in kindergarten, she is not, of course, a dermatologist. Sometimes it seems that she is not the only one who thinks that all it takes to be a dermatologist is to say that you are one, wear the gloves and buy the laser.
What is a “dermatologist?” Technically, a dermatologist is a doctor who treats skin, hair and nail disorders.
What’s the difference between someone who says he or she is a “dermatologist” and a board-certified dermatologist? Why does it matter? To become a board-certified dermatologist, one spends 1 year after medical school building a foundation in medicine, surgery or pediatrics. Afterwards, one must spend 3 additional years of focused, specialty training under the supervision of experts during which one learns how to diagnosis and manage conditions of the skin, hair and nails. Once this training is successfully completed, then one must pass a specialty examination in which one must demonstrate in depth knowledge of the field. Only then can one claim to be board-certified in dermatology.
Any doctor can claim to be a “dermatologist,” or to be a practitioner of any other specialty. Are they, however, board-certified in that specialty? Would you want a psychiatrist doing your neurosurgery? When you want the best care for your skin, hair and nails, or for any specialty, your best choice is a doctor board-certified in that specialty.