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Dermatologists specialise in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of skin, nail and hair disease. A Dermatologist is a doctor who specialises in diagnosing and treating diseases or infections affecting skin, hair, nails, sweat and oil glands, and mucus membranes. Examples of conditions Dermatologists may treat include eczema, psoriasis, and skin cancer.

They employ an array of treatments, from topical and oral medications to intricate surgical procedures, lasers, light and ionizing radiation. Future Growth Very StrongDermatology is very 'visual' as the outcomes of treatment are obvious to both patient and physician, and can be a source of great satisfaction for both parties.

ANZSCO ID: 253911

Specialisations: Cosmetic dermatologist, Mohs micrographic surgery, Paediatric dermatologist

Knowledge, skills and attributes

A dermatologist needs excellent understanding of the following:

  • the skin and subcutaneous tissue anatomy

  • cutaneous microanatomy and biology

  • clinical pharmacology

  • basic immunology

  • basic radiation physics and radiobiology, and basic laser physics

They also need:

  • an understanding of the common association between skin disease and other disorders typically within the realm of General Medicine

  • to be able to perform procedures including biopsies, cryotherapy and the removal of skin lesions

  • good interpersonal and communicative skills with people of all ages

  • empathy to counsel patients who suffer psychological stress from their visible disease.

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(Source: Montereybay Holistic)

Duties and Tasks

  • Examines patients and carries out or arranges for specialised tests.

  • Prescribes medicine and advises patients on regiment to preserve or restore the health of the skin.

  • Diagnosing and treating skin cancer, skin diseases and infections.

  • Providing advice on skin conditions and treatments.

  • Carrying out skin grafts and laser treatments.

  • Performing cosmetic treatments.

  • Maintains clinical records.

Working conditions

Dermatologists either work in private practice and/or attend clinics at major teaching hospitals and institutions. A small number have full-time positions in major hospitals and institutions. Dermatologists rarely attend emergencies or have on-call responsibilities. There is a high level of patient contact and in many cases long-term ongoing care for patients with chronic skin conditions.

Tools and Technology

Dermatologists need to be familiar with advances in ultraviolet light therapy, photodynamic therapy, laser therapy and drug treatment. Advances in genetics, molecular biology, pathology and immunology have also assisted dermatologists in the diagnosis and treatment over the past few years.

Although many skin diseases can be treated with topical therapy, such as creams and lotions, in Australia today, surgery is widely used by dermatologists in the treatment of skin cancers, including melanomas. Radiotherapy is also utilised by dermatologists in the treatment of skin cancers.

Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a dermatologist, you must first become a qualified medical practitioner and then specialise in dermatology.

Many postgraduate degrees in medicine usually take four years to complete. Entry requirements include completion of a bachelor degree in any discipline. You must also sit the Graduate Australian Medical Schools Admissions Test (GAMSAT) and attend an interview at your chosen institution. Contact the university you are interested in for more information as requirements may change.

On completion of the postgraduate medical degree, you must work in the public hospital system for two years (internship and residency). To then specialise in dermatology, doctors can apply to the Australasian College of Dermatology to undertake further training and ultimately receive fellowship.

Did You Know?

Acne Stages

Acne Stages

(Source: Skinpossible)

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