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Understanding Dermatology


Dermatology is the medical science of diagnosing and treating skin diseases affecting the skin, hair, and nails. It is a specialty with both medical and surgical aspects.


Why See a Dermatologist?

Dermatologists are medical specialists trained in the diagnosis, treatment and management of all skin diseases including skin cancer.

The skin is the largest organ in the body and also includes hair, nails, the wet areas of the mouth and genitalia.

Typical skin consultations include acne, psoriasis, atopic eczema, skin infections, skin cancer, and dermatitis. Some dermatologists also conduct Mohs surgery –and deliver cosmetic services such as laser therapy.


How to see a Dermatologist?

If you have a skin condition, visit your General Practitioner (GP). GPs are the appropriate coordinator for primary health care.

Your GP will have an overarching view of your medical history, previous treatments or conditions, as well as any other factors which may impact your health.

If your skin condition is complex, high risk or requires specialist care, your GP will refer you to a dermatologist. You can ask your GP for a referral to a dermatologist if you are concerned about your condition.

The majority of Australian dermatologists work in metropolitan private practice. However, many provide outreach services to rural and remote areas on a regular basis.

A large number of dermatologists conduct outpatient clinics in public hospitals, and are involved in the training of dermatology registrars. Many are also involved in research, at both the basic science and clinical levels.