Potential allergens are everywhere. And your skin, as the largest organ in your body, is the point of contact for many of those allergens. Allergies lead to hives, rashes, swelling, and other visible skin conditions. When they arise, do you know which specialist to call for? By learning the distinctions and differences between a dermatologist and an allergist, you can make sure you receive the right care.
What a Dermatologist Does
A dermatologist is a specialist in the treatment and management of the skin. In addition to treating skin, dermatologists also treat hair and nails. As specialists, dermatologists not only complete pre-med programs and four years of medical school, but they must also successfully complete a one-year internship and three years of residency. This long course of education is necessary to treat an organ as extensive as the skin. You will look to a dermatologist to treat acne, melanoma, eczema, rosacea, and psoriasis, among numerous other conditions. Some dermatologists are responsible for carrying out cosmetic procedures such as facelifts, Botox injections, and lip fillers as well.
What an Allergist Does
An allergist, or immunologist, is a physician who specializes in identifying and treating allergic reactions, as well as other immunological responses. Allergists are also medical specialists who, in addition to medical school and residency, must complete a two-year fellowship under a licensed allergist for a total of nine years of postgraduate education. Allergists are responsible for treating asthma, one of the most common allergic and immunological responses in humans. Your allergist will also help you find the best course of treatment for common environmental allergies, such as hay fever. Perhaps the best-known treatment an allergist provides is an allergy test, in which they inject small amounts of numerous allergen extracts into the skin to determine which allergens cause reactions. Some allergists may also attempt to desensitize their patients to allergens through a course of injections that introduce low-concentration solutions of an allergen into the body—a process that’s similar to vaccination.
How They Differ
Dermatologists and allergists overlap in their treatment of the skin. However, not all skin conditions are allergic reactions, and not all allergic reactions concern the skin. Allergists do not commonly concentrate on issues with hair and nails, as these traditionally fall within the purview of dermatologists. Dermatologists may be able to treat skin conditions that result from allergic reactions, but they may have to refer patients to allergists in order to identify and begin treating the root cause of the condition. Allergists also concentrate heavily on the respiratory system in treating asthma and hay fever, which dermatologists do not, marking one of the largest differences between a dermatologist and an allergist.
Though spring is often referred to as “allergy season” because of high amounts of airborne pollen, allergic reactions and asthma can strike year-round. Allergy ENT & Associates is your nearest option for an ENT clinic in Houston that features dedicated allergists who can address and ameliorate the allergic reactions that keep you from living your best life.