What is dermatology?

Dr Marianne Nolan|General dermatology
6 February 2020


If you need to see a dermatologist

We would be happy to see you in our clinic, however we recommend visiting your GP first, and requesting a referral, in order to ensure you need specialist attention and to maximise your Medicare rebate.

Call our receptionists to schedule your appointment on (02) 9953 9522.

Dermatology is an everyday term for us here at the clinic, but we do realise that for most people, dermatological issues may not be so clearly understood.

So we’ve decided to go back to basics and explain a bit about what dermatology is.

What is dermatology?

Dermatology is really the medical specialisation that deals with issues of the skin, the hair, the nails and our mucous membranes (think inside our noses, eyes and genital areas).

This is a field that includes both general medical consultation as well as surgical skills, which is why it’s considered a specialisation, unlike when your GP makes a diagnosis about something on your skin.

How is a dermatologist different from other doctors

A dermatologist is a doctor who has done the basic undergraduate training all doctors complete, and has gone on to study several extra years of postgraduate study in the field of dermatology, to become a specialist.

The most common dermatological conditions

The most common conditions that dermatologists treat are the common conditions people experience on their skin, such as skin cancers, eczema, dermatitis (particularly dermatitis brought on by occupational exposures), psoriasis, acne and rosacea.

Some dermatologists may pursue a special interest and become particularly experienced in treating those conditions. These can include cosmetic dermatology and lasers (that’s our clinic’s special focus), paediatric dermatology, nail disorders or skin cancer surgery, including Moh’s surgery.

Different treatment modalities in dermatology

Dermatologists use many different modalities to treat the skin issues they see. These can include topical treatments like creams, oral treatments like antibiotic tablets, skin surgery to cut out an affected area of skin, radiotherapy to kill cancer cells in the skin, ultraviolet light & laser therapies that can change how the skin looks and can also change hair growth patterns, or break up the ink in tattoos.

Seeing a dermatologist

Most dermatologists work in private practices, and will see patients either directly or via a referral from another practitioner.

One in ten patients who visits a GP will do so for a skin condition. The more complicated of these are referred to a dermatologist. When patients are referred by a GP, there is a Medicare rebate available for part of the cost of the appointment. There may be no rebate without a GP referral.

Dermatologists can also work in hospitals, in both the private and public systems.

Patients who prefer to see a dermatologist in the public system will likely do so at a public hospital outpatient clinic.

The most common reasons Australian’s see a dermatologist

Because of our harsh sun and sun-loving lifestyles, Australians are at a high risk of skin cancer and most Aussies will find they need regular skin checks once they hit middle age or after a diagnosis of skin cancer. You can find out the signs of increased risk of skin cancer here and learn what brown spots should lead you straight to the doctor for checking.

Acne is another very common reason to see a dermatologist. There are a range of treatments available, depending on the type of acne a patient is experiencing and their preferences for types of treatments, but they can include creams, drugs or light-based therapies.

Skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and other rash-like conditions are the other most common reason people see a dermatologist.

Dermatology here at our clinic….

Neutral Bay Laser & Dermatology Clinic sees patients for both general medical dermatology and more specialised cosmetic treatments.

We have over 15 lasers and light-based therapies that can remove tattoos, treat unwanted hair, rejuvenate or resurface the skin, remove brown pigmented spots (like age spots or freckles), red pigmented spots (like birth marks) and raised lumps and bumps (like moles and barnacles). We also offer injectables for the treatment of wrinkles and plumping skin (like lips), as well as for treating double chins.

We also have lasers that can treat surgical scars, leg veins, acne scaring, genital lesions such as PPPs and more.

We have a day surgery for dermatological surgical procedures and we offer advanced light treatments for skin cancer and pre-cancerous lesions, (PDT) and acne (Kleresca)

Finally, we also have our own range of skin care products, Radiance.