Dermatology is a medical specialty that deals with disorders of the skin, hair and nails. Most people have concerns relating to their skin at some time in their lives—from teenage acne to age spots. A dermatologist is specially trained to diagnose and treat many skin disorders including skin cancer, eczema, psoriasis and nail infections.
Caring for a Vital Organ—Your Skin
Measured in terms of weight and surface area, your skin is the largest organ in your body. Forming a protective barrier between your internal organs and the external world, it performs several important functions:
- Protects you from bacteria and viruses that can cause infections
- Helps you sense whether conditions outside your body are hot, cold, wet or dry
- Regulates your body temperature
If your skin becomes irritated, inflamed or clogged, you may experience redness, swelling, burning or itching. Your genetic makeup, allergies and certain diseases or immune system disorders may cause dermatitis, hives or other skin disorders.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Basal cell cancer, squamous cell cancer and melanoma are the most common types of skin cancer. Although anyone can develop skin cancer, those at highest risk are people who:
- Have had excessive sun or radiation exposure or have been sunburned
- Have light-colored skin, hair and eyes
- Have a family history of skin cancer
- Are over age 50
Because skin cancer is best treated when caught early, it is important to check your skin often and see a doctor when you notice any suspicious changes in your skin, including:
- Spots on the skin that change in size, shape or color or that bleed
- An unusual sore, lump, spot, blemish or change in the way an area of the skin looks or feels
Learn more about skin cancer and other skin conditions in our online Health Library.
Expert Dermatologic Care
You can trust the experienced dermatologists affiliated with Portsmouth Regional Hospital to answer your questions about skin conditions and offer advanced, compassionate care for skin disorders. In addition, we can connect you to dermatopathologists, highly trained physicians who specialize in identifying disorders of the skin at the microscopic level.
For related information, learn about allergy and immunology services at Portsmouth Regional Hospital.