This page provides some background information to help you understand what a dermatologist is and whether is the right specialist for you.

If you native language is Italian and you find easier to speak to a doctor in your mother-tongue, please check out our directory of Italian speaking dermatologists in London and the UK

A dermatologist is a doctor who investigates and treats skin, nails, hair and its diseases or cosmetic problems.

In the UK, to become a dermatologist it is necessary to complete a training in Dermatology which lasts for four years (one of the admission requirements is to be a member of the Royal College of Physicians and therefore to have a degree in medicine).

Dermatologists treat numerous conditions, which may appear very similar. For this reason, it is important to remember that many of them can be diagnosed only after a visit with a specialist.

The most common conditions are:

  • Acne;

  • Dermatitis;

  • Eczema;

  • Fungal infections (such as candida);

  • Hair disorders;

  • Nail problems;

  • Psoriasis;

  • Rosacea;

  • Skin cancer;

  • Herpes zoster;

  • Vitiligo;

  • Warts;

  • Cellulitis;

  • Urticaria;

  • Impetigo;

  • Albinism;

  • Decubitus Ulcer.

After collecting information regarding the medical history and health problems of the patient, the dermatologist will carry out an examination (it could be a thorough examination of the whole skin or involve only the affected area, depending on the symptoms).

The main investigations used by a dermatologist are: swabs, blood tests, skin scrapings, allergy tests, skin biopsy and patch and skin prick tests.

Many conditions can be treated with medication and non-invasive therapy, but others may require surgical intervention. The specialist who carries out surgical procedures and invasive treatments is called dermatologic surgeon.

The common treatments used in dermatologic surgery are: age spot and birthmark correction, skin cancer, scar improvement and vein treatments.