The field of dermatology and venereology is one of the oldest medical specialisations after internal medicine and surgery. The disciplines encompass the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disorders of the skin, mucous membranes near the skin as well as hair and nails. Dermatology and venereology deal with infectious, hereditary allergic, auto-immune skin conditions as well as prevention and upkeep measures. Because the skin provides protection against a variety of environmental effects, it is often exposed to physical, chemical and many other harmful factors. Nonetheless, it is possible to recognise and guard against these effects through prevention. Many internal diseases have skin-related symptoms and can often be diagnosed in this way and treated with specific measures.
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