Do I Need a Dermatologist?

WRITTEN BY: Dermatology
Thursday, November 21st, 2013

A dermatologist is a doctor who specializes in treating the skin, hair, nails, and mucous membranes (e.g., lining inside the mouth, nose, and eyelids). Dermatologists treat all kinds of skin diseases and dermatologic conditions, including, but not limited to:

  • Acne: A skin condition that causes pimples, including whiteheads, blackheads, and red, inflamed patches of skin.
  • Eczema: A type of dermatitis, or “itchy rash” that comes in many types.
  • Moles: Growths on the skin that are usually brown or black and can appear anywhere on the skin.
  • Hives: Raised, often itchy, red bumps or welts on the surface of the skin usually caused by an allergic reaction to food or medicine.
  • Psoriasis: A common skin condition that causes skin redness and irritation, and thick, red skin with flaky, silver-white patches called scales.
  • Skin cancer: The most common form of cancer, although many types are both preventable and treatable; usually a result of too much exposure to the sun.

But, what if you don’t have any of these common conditions? Should you see a dermatologist? The answer is yes, if you have:

  • Had skin cancer, or a family history of skin cancer.
  • A serious or rare skin condition.
  • A condition that cannot be identified by your primary care physician (PCP).
  • A new or changing mole or a spot that won’t heal

If you are unsure whether to see a dermatologist, it is suggested that you consult with your primary care physician.



The Department of Dermatology at UPMC diagnoses and treats all kinds of skin diseases and dermatologic conditions. The Department offers services and information in the areas of general dermatology, medical dermatology, pediatric dermatology, dermatologic surgery, dermatopathology, cutaneous oncology, and cosmetic dermatology. Read More