Newswise — SCHAUMBURG, Ill. (Nov. 1, 2017) — While it’s easy to find skin care advice —  from friends, family, social media, blogs and elsewhere — getting accurate advice is another matter. With so many opinions circulating, it’s important to turn to a trustworthy source. And when it comes to the skin, no source is more trustworthy than a board-certified dermatologist.

November is National Healthy Skin Month, and the American Academy of Dermatology is reminding the public that dermatologists are the recognized experts in skin health. Board-certified dermatologists can diagnose more than 3,000 skin, hair and nail diseases — including skin cancer, acne, eczema and psoriasis — and provide effective medical and surgical treatment. In addition to diagnosing and treating these and other serious skin conditions, board-certified dermatologists can safely perform cosmetic procedures to improve the skin’s appearance and provide advice to help people care for their skin at home.

And every day, dermatologists across the country are utilizing their expertise to make a difference in their patients’ lives.

“Twice, my dermatologist helped save my life by diagnosing breast cancer that appeared as a rash,” says patient Nancy Nagler of Medfield, Mass. “Sometimes if you’re not looking for something, you don’t see it. The dermatologist sees a rash and says ‘Hmm, there’s something suspicious.’”

“My dermatologist is always going to be there to help with any issues my kids or I may have,” says Virginia Maxwell of Lexington, S.C., who, along with her twin sons and daughter, has the rare skin disorder pityriasis rubra pilaris.

“It’s really critical to work directly with someone who understands your disease, has seen a lot of it and is staying up-to-date with new treatments,” says Susan Thornton, who has been living for 25 years with cutaneous lymphoma, a type of blood cancer that affects the skin. “It’s been so important to have a strong relationship with my dermatologist — it has enabled us to manage the disease so I can live a productive life.”

“Dermatologists care for patients of all ages, from an infant with a birthmark to a child with eczema, from a young woman with acne to an older man with skin cancer,” says AAD President Henry W. Lim, MD, FAAD. “No matter what your skin concern may be, a board-certified dermatologist has the education, training and experience to provide you with the best possible medical, surgical and cosmetic treatment.”

After earning a bachelor’s degree and medical degree, a board-certified dermatologist must complete at least four additional years of education — a one-year internship and three years of an Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education-accredited dermatology residency. Once his or her education is complete, a dermatologist must take an exam to get board certified by the American Board of Dermatology, the American Osteopathic Board of Dermatology or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

While many providers may claim to be dermatologists or offer dermatologic services, these individuals do not have this rigorous training and therefore cannot offer the same level of high-quality care as a board-certified dermatologist. Before seeking dermatologic treatment, patients should make sure their health care provider is certified by the ABD, the AOA or the Royal College; the public should be wary of certifications issued by other organizations.

To find out whether a health care provider is board-certified, patients can check the doctor’s website or the websites of the recognized certifying bodies. Patients also can look for “FAAD” after the dermatologist’s name; this stands for “Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology.” To earn this designation, a dermatologist must be board-certified.

“As the only physicians who are specifically trained to diagnose and treat skin, hair and nail conditions, board-certified dermatologists are uniquely qualified to be your trusted partner in maintaining the health of your skin,” Dr. Lim says. “If you have a question or concern about your skin, seek the expertise of a board-certified dermatologist.”

To find a board-certified dermatologist near you, visit

More Information

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About the AAD

Headquartered in Schaumburg, Ill., the American Academy of Dermatology, founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential and most representative of all dermatologic associations. With a membership of more than 19,000 physicians worldwide, the AAD is committed to advancing the diagnosis and medical, surgical and cosmetic treatment of the skin, hair and nails; advocating high standards in clinical practice, education and research in dermatology; and supporting and enhancing patient care for a lifetime of healthier skin, hair and nails. For more information, contact the AAD at (888) 462-DERM (3376) or Follow the AAD on Facebook (American Academy of Dermatology), Twitter (@AADskin) or YouTube (AcademyofDermatology).