Dr. Zirwas received his undergraduate and medical school degrees from the University of Pittsburgh. He completed his dermatology residency at the University of Pittsburgh as well, developing an interest in contact dermatitis during his residency which led to additional training at Penn State University and the Cleveland Clinic.
One of the most important moments of Dr. Zirwas’ life happened when he was a young dermatologist. He realized that so much of what he was being taught to tell patients didn’t have the proof to back up the claim. Even worse, much of what he was supposed to tell them either didn’t work or was making their problems worse. At that moment he started looking for the actual causes for what he was seeing in his patients and for explanations that made sense. His interests, in particular, focus on acne, allergic and irritant contact dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, pruritus, and psychodermatology. Most of his patients are referred from other dermatologists for whom Matt has innovated approaches beyond the textbook.
The most frustrating thing for Matt is that there are still so many things that we either don’t have good explanations for, or that we can explain, but don’t have a good way to fix. He is constantly listening to his patients and reading the medical journals, looking for clues to send him in new directions.