Dermatologists are doctors who specialise in the study and treatment of diseases of the skin. Dermatologists treat patients with a wide range of different problems, and are often asked to advise other doctors on the care of their patients where skin problems are associated with a particular condition, or perhaps a side-effect of the medication. Most dermatologists will undertake at least some surgery. Some dermatologists may specialise further, for example in surgical care, allergies, or children’s skin disorders (paediatric dermatology).
Although there is no law governing who may use the title ‘dermatologist’ or ‘skin expert’ in the UK, a doctor described as a ‘consultant dermatologist’ or ‘dermatologist’ will be registered on the General Medical Council’s List of Registered Medical Practitioners. If they became an NHS consultant after 1 January 1997, they will also be registered on the Specialist register.
There are many over-the-counter treatments that can help you with skin, hair and nail diseases. If you’re suffering from conditions such as acne, scars, dandruff or rashes that won’t go away through the application of over-the-counter ointments or medicines, you should consider a consultation with your GP. Your GP may refer you straight to a dermatologist or provide you with stronger, prescription medications that may offer more to your wellbeing than over-the-counter products. You may then be referred to a dermatologist should these medications serve no benefit.