Who is a Dermatologist?

Dermatology is the branch of medicine dealing with the skin, nails, hair and its diseases. A dermatologist is a qualified medical practitioner who goes on to specialize in treating diseases of the skin, hair, nails and mucous membranes. Dermatologists are also specialized in the treatment of sexually transmitted infections and diseases, including HIV/AIDS. It is a specialty that has both medical and surgical aspects.

Dermatologist treat over 3,000 diseases including eczema, acne, skin and nail infections, and cosmetic problems of the skin, scalp, hair, and nails. The dermatologist is also trained to recognize systemic diseases which may present with skin signs such as diabetes, liver, kidney and thyroid diseases, among others. Hair loss scars and skin changes associated with diseases and aging are also managed by the dermatologist.

Becoming a dermatologist after medical school requires specialty rotation in internal medicine, plastic surgery, histopathology, and laboratory medicine, and at least two full years in a dermatology/venereology unit. Training to become a dermatologist after medical school, therefore,  spans over a period of at least five years.

History of Dermatology
Since the beginning of Medicine, skin diseases have been reported in early Egyptian, Grecian, Roman and Arabian medicine. Ancient records of the 17th and 16th century gave emphasis to skin diseases including cosmetics.  Until the 18th century, dermatology was part of general medicine. Early dermatological diseases documented in the literature include alopecia (hair loss), leprosy, white skin, herpes, itching, scabies, boils and syphilis. Some of these were attributed to the activity of demons

By the middle of the 19th century, Hebra was able to classify skin diseases on a pathological basis, thus inaugurating the modern period of dermatology. Dermatology has come a long way since then and at present, boasts of many subspecialties, all aimed at improving dermatological treatment and practices.


A dermatologist is a medically qualified doctor who has then chosen to spend several years training specifically in dermatology. Click here to find a Dermatologist in Nigeria

Membership Portal