The skin is the largest organ of the human body. It’s the most visible one, too. Physicians who specialize in this most public part of the human anatomy are called dermatologists.

A dermatologist specializes in diagnosing and treating ailments of the skin and the smaller units that are part of it, such as hair, sweat glands, and pores. Proper personal and medical care of the skin is not just a cosmetic concern; it can be life threatening as well.

During the course of a normal life, the condition of the skin is likely to change due to hormonal shifts associated with the processes of maturing and aging. Puberty, pregnancy, and menopause produce the biggest hormone-influenced changes in the skin but anybody can experience change at any time in life.

Infants and small children sometimes have issues with the skin that call for consultation and treatment from a pediatric dermatologist, a doctor trained to understand the skin of children.

Puberty often brings acne along with hormonal shifts. At this phase of life, a dermatologist can help ease the embarrassment associated with this unsightly but rarely serious skin condition. Acne isn’t limited to puberty, however, and older adults may experience a sudden eruption that may need medical attention, too.

The aging process brings skin changes for both men and women. Sometimes the care of a dermatologist is needed to minimize discomfort caused by excessive dry skin, to minimize the appearance of wrinkling, and to repair damage caused by a lifetime of exposure to the damaging effects of too much sun.

A dermatologist specializing in cosmetic issues can help with the normal effects of the aging process or repair damage done by illness or injury.

Many internal diseases produce changes in the skin, at any stage of life, and a dermatologist may be needed, in addition to treatment from other medical specialists.

Some diseases specifically target the skin and a dermatologist is needed to treat these conditions. Skin cancer is common in people who spend a great deal of time outdoors but other conditions target the skin, too, including autoimmune diseases, allergies, and problems with veins near the surface of the skin.

Perhaps because it is the organ we see every day, we tend to take it for granted. Like our other organs, though, it is a highly complex part of our bodies that, fortunately, is easy to see. Changes, which often signal internal distress, can be quickly spotted and treated and our dermatologist will let us know if further medical attention is required.

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