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Medical Dermatology

Discover the fascinating world of medical dermatology as we unveil groundbreaking treatments and insights to help you achieve healthier, radiant skin.

USMLE Guide: Medical Dermatology


Medical Dermatology is a subspecialty of dermatology that focuses on the diagnosis, management, and treatment of various skin diseases. In this USMLE (United States Medical Licensing Examination) guide, we will provide an overview of important concepts and topics related to medical dermatology that are commonly tested. Let's dive in!

1. Anatomy and Physiology of the Skin

  • Epidermis: The outermost layer of the skin, consisting of multiple layers of epithelial cells.
  • Dermis: The layer beneath the epidermis, containing blood vessels, nerves, hair follicles, and sweat glands.
  • Hypodermis: Also known as the subcutaneous tissue, it is the deepest layer of the skin and contains fat cells.
  • Understand the functions of different skin components and their roles in maintaining skin health.

2. Common Skin Conditions

a. Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis)

  • Definition, clinical presentation, and risk factors.
  • Understand the role of genetic and environmental factors in the development of eczema.
  • Learn about the treatment options, including topical corticosteroids and emollients.

b. Psoriasis

  • Definition, clinical features, and the difference between plaque psoriasis and guttate psoriasis.
  • Understand the role of immune dysregulation in psoriatic pathophysiology.
  • Familiarize yourself with treatment options, such as topical corticosteroids, phototherapy, and systemic medications.

c. Acne Vulgaris

  • Understand the pathophysiology of acne, including the role of sebum production, follicular hyperkeratinization, and bacterial colonization.
  • Differentiate between comedones, papules, pustules, and nodules.
  • Learn about various treatment options, including topical retinoids, benzoyl peroxide, and oral antibiotics.

d. Dermatophytosis (Tinea)

  • Understand the clinical features and causative organisms of common types of dermatophytosis (e.g., tinea corporis, tinea pedis, tinea capitis).
  • Learn about diagnostic techniques, such as KOH (potassium hydroxide) examination and fungal culture.
  • Familiarize yourself with treatment options, including topical antifungals (e.g., terbinafine, clotrimazole) and oral antifungals (e.g., griseofulvin, fluconazole).

3. Skin Cancer

a. basal cell Carcinoma (BCC)

  • Understand the etiology and risk factors associated with BCC.
  • Learn about the clinical presentation and various subtypes of BCC.
  • Familiarize yourself with treatment options, including surgical excision, cryotherapy, and topical medications (e.g., imiquimod).

b. Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)

  • Understand the etiology, risk factors, and clinical presentation of SCC.
  • Differentiate between in situ SCC and invasive SCC.
  • Learn about treatment options, including surgical excision, Mohs micrographic surgery, and radiation therapy.

c. Melanoma

  • Understand the risk factors associated with melanoma, including UV radiation exposure and genetic predisposition.
  • Learn about the ABCDE rule for identifying melanoma.
  • Familiarize yourself with treatment options, including surgical excision, lymph node biopsy, and adjuvant therapy (e.g., immunotherapy, targeted therapy).

4. Autoimmune Skin Diseases

a. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)

  • Understand the pathophysiology of SLE and its impact on the skin.
  • Familiarize yourself with the characteristic cutaneous manifestations of SLE, such as malar rash and discoid lupus.
  • Learn about the diagnostic criteria and treatment options for SLE.

b. Pemphigus Vulgaris

  • Understand the etiology and pathophysiology of pemphigus vulgaris, an autoimmune blistering disorder.
  • Learn about the clinical presentation, including the characteristic flaccid bullae.
  • Familiarize yourself with treatment options, including systemic corticosteroids and immunosuppressive agents.

c. Bullous Pemphigoid

  • Understand the clinical features and pathophysiology of bullous pemphigoid.
  • Differentiate between bullous pemphigoid and pemphigus vulgaris.
  • Learn about treatment options, including systemic corticosteroids and immunosuppressive agents.


Medical Dermatology encompasses a wide range of skin conditions, including eczema, psoriasis, acne, skin cancer, and autoimmune disorders. Understanding the anatomy, pathophysiology, clinical presentation, and treatment options for these conditions is crucial for medical professionals. By reviewing and mastering the topics covered in this

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