Dermatology

Achieve healthy skin with help from dermatologists at Essentia Health. You can count on our team to address common and complex skin concerns and provide comprehensive care to protect your skin for a lifetime.

What's a Dermatologist?

A dermatologist is a physician with specialized training in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the skin, hair, and nails.

When to See a Dermatologist

Your primary care provider can treat many skin, hair, and nail conditions. Talk to your doctor if you notice:

  • Dark discolorations on your skin
  • Moles that change color or shape
  • Severe acne
  • Severe scars
  • Skin rashes, redness, itching, or hives

If you have severe or chronic symptoms, you may be referred to a dermatologist. 

Conditions Treated

See the full list of conditions we treat, and select a condition to find providers and locations near you.

Conditions

Psoriasis & the XTRAC Laser

See how psoriasis, an inflammatory disease that can cause red patches on skin, can be treated by the XTRAC laser.

Medical Insight: Psoriasis and the XTRAC Laser Video Transcript

(SPEECH)
SPEAKER: Welcome to Medical Insight, a weekly health care feature brought to you by the experts at Essentia Health.

(DESCRIPTION)
The Essentia Health logo appears, consisting of three leaves in a circle. Text, Essentia Health, Here with you. Title, Medical Insight. Maureen Talarico --Host.

(SPEECH)
MAUREEN TALARICO: Today on Medical Insight, dermatologist Dr. Michael Wolz and nurse practitioner John Slettendahl talk about psoriasis, and a new treatment known as the Xtrac laser.

(DESCRIPTION)
Man in white lab coat. Text, Dr. Michael Wolz, Dermatologist.

(SPEECH)
DR. MICHAEL WOLZ: Psoriasis is a common chronic inflammatory disease. Most people think of red patches with silvery scales on top of them. But it's important to note that there are many forms of psoriasis. MAUREEN TALARICO: According to Dr. Wolz, psoriasis, medically known plaque psoriasis, affects nearly 3% of the world's population. Psoriasis can be physically painful due to itching and cracking of the skin. And while there is currently no cure, medical advances now provide numerous treatment options for those battling psoriasis. DR. MICHAEL WOLZ: We start with topical therapies. Those include special creams, ointments, frequent moisturization. And then the next step up would be field-based treatments, such as laser and photo therapy. MAUREEN TALARICO:

(DESCRIPTION)
Holds hand held device with a bright blue light on the end to a patient's leg

(SPEECH)
One of these new treatments is the Xtrac laser. According to nurse practitioner, John Slettendahl, the Xtrac laser, which is a light therapy treatment, is completely painless and can treat any area in the body with psoriasis.

(DESCRIPTION)
Man in lab coat, Text, John Slettendahl, CNP, Dermatology

(SPEECH)
JOHN SLETTENDAHL: The Xtrac laser has the advantage of being able to apply this light treatment in small little spots on the skin. And so we can treat just the spots where the plaques are, rather than exposing the rest of their skin to this ultraviolet light.

(DESCRIPTION)
Blue light on device turns green.

(SPEECH)
MAUREEN TALARICO: The Xtrac laser is also the leading technology for treating scalp psoriasis. JOHN SLETTENDAHL: With the Xtrac laser, we can part and move the hair around on their head, and just pulse right through those plaques in the scalp. MAUREEN TALARICO: To learn more about psoriasis, schedule an appointment with your doctor. For Medical Insight, I'm Maureen Talarico. SPEAKER: To learn more about this topic, call our experts at 786-3107.

(DESCRIPTION)
The Essentia Health logo, three leaves in a circle. Text, Essentia Health. Here with you. essentia health. org

Care for Severe Acne

If you have severe acne, or scars caused by acne, work with your dermatologist to find a solution that works best for your skin. Your doctor may recommend:

Cosmetic Skin Care

Rejuvenate and enhance your appearance with Essentia’s skin renewal services.

  • Over-the-counter products
  • Prescription medications, such as Accutane
  • Photofacials
  • Laser skin resurfacing

Rely on your dermatologist to monitor the progress of your acne healing. For some treatments, such as Accutane, you may need regular check-ins and blood tests.

Detect Skin Cancer Early

Skin cancer is easiest to treat when it’s caught early. Check your skin every month for warning signs of skin cancer, such as:

  • Skin growth that increases in size
  • Mole, birthmark, or spot that changes color, size or texture
  • Spot or sore that itches, hurts, crusts, scabs or bleeds
  • Open sore that doesn’t heal within three weeks

If you notice any warning signs, see a dermatologist for a professional skin exam.

Skin Cancer Surgery

Essentia has dermatologists who are experienced in performing Mohs surgery. Mohs surgery is often the most effective treatment for the two most common types of skin cancer—basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.

During this procedure, tissue is carefully removed in thin layers until only healthy cells remain. This helps save as much healthy skin as possible, and may prevent the need for additional treatments. Most people need only local anesthesia and can go home right after the procedure.

Sun Safety

Medical Insight: Sun Safety Video Transcript

[MUSIC PLAYING]

(DESCRIPTION)
The Essentia Health logo appears, consisting of three leaves in a circle. Text, Medical Insight. Varying footage of people sunbathing are played.

(SPEECH)
TRACY BRIGGS: It's as common in summertime as blue skies and backyard grills-- people soaking up the sun with little to no protection from its harmful effects. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, close to 10,000 Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer every day. In addition to the cancer risk, sun exposure also leads to premature aging. While many sun worshippers might use sunscreen, mistakes are being made.

(DESCRIPTION)
Dr. Michael Blankinship, dermatologist, speaks to the camera. He wears navy blue scrubs, and sits in a patient examination room.

(SPEECH)
DR. MICHAEL BLANKINSHIP: The biggest is they buy it and they don't put it on. So it doesn't do any good in a bottle. TRACY BRIGGS: Dr. Michael Blankinship is a dermatologist at Essentia Health in Fargo. He says along with sun protective clothing and sunglasses, sunscreens are one tool in fighting the sun's dangers. But too many people aren't maximizing its benefits.

(DESCRIPTION)
A woman at a beach applies sunscreen to her arm.

(SPEECH)
DR. MICHAEL BLANKINSHIP: There's two problems that people usually run into. One is that they don't reapply the sunscreen. So the sunscreens will break down, will wear off, especially if you're heavily perspiring or you're in the water. So they do need to be applied. TRACY BRIGGS: The second problem is not putting on the sunscreen thick enough or early enough.

(DESCRIPTION)
A man at a beach applies dabs of sunscreen to his cheeks.

(SPEECH)
He says while reflective physical sunscreens contain either titanium dioxide or zinc oxide work immediately, most sunscreens classified as chemical sunscreens can take 20 to 30 minutes to start protecting the skin.

(DESCRIPTION)
A photo of a young boy's back at a beach is covered with sunscreen.

(SPEECH)
DR. MICHAEL BLANKINSHIP: So it is possible if you get to the beach, take everything off except for your swimming trunks, spray on some sunscreen, that you may get burned before that sunscreen becomes maximally active.

(SPEECH)
TRACY BRIGGS: Dr. Blankinship says if you're applying a sunscreen the way you should, an SPF of 30 should be sufficient. But you might want to try an SPF of 50 for added protection. You can still enjoy the warmth of the summer sun, just be smart about it.

(SPEECH)
DR. MICHAEL BLANKINSHIP: You don't need to be a hermit. You can be out, you can be exposed. You just have to take steps to protect yourself.

(SPEECH)
TRACY BRIGGS: With this Essentia Health Medical Insight, I'm Tracy Briggs.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

(DESCRIPTION)
The Essentia Health logo appears, consisting of three leaves in a circle. Text, Essentia Health. Medical Insight.

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