Seeing a skin specialist is the best way to get a prompt diagnosis and expert treatment. Each of our consultant dermatologists retains a position in an NHS hospital and are up to date and familiar with all kinds of dermatological conditions.
Common conditions we treat include:
- Acne/ rosacea
- Hair loss
- Skin infections
- Mole checks
- Skin cancer
- Skin allergy (allergy testing)
Your consultation will be in one of our 10 spacious and light consulting rooms. Diagnosis may require a skin biopsy which can be performed on the day, on site, in one of our 3 newly refurbished theatres.
Acne causes a great deal of concern to many patients, from teenagers to older adults. We see many patients who feel that they should have "grown out of their acne" by now and feel very frustrated. Acne sufferers can have reduced quality of life and often feel socially isolated or have a negative self image.
However, for the vast majority of acne patients, there is treatment that can help. Many people spend large sums of money on remedies from pharmacies or cosmetic counters, yet feel that they are not making sufficient progress. It may be better to focus your time and money on treatments that are likely to produce good results.
Treatments for acne include:
- Face washes
- Benzoyl peroxide washes and creams
- Retinoic acid creams and gels
- Antibiotic creams
- Combination creams - mixtures of antibiotics, anti-inflammatories (eg zinc, benzol peroxide) and retinoids
For some patients, medications taken by mouth (oral treatment) may be more appropriate:
- Contraceptive pills (certain types only)
- Antibiotic tablets
- Isotretinoin tablets (commonly known as Accutane or Roaccutane)
Which treatment is right for me?
This is the key to success. Only a specialist dermatologist can assess your skin and your general medical health to determine the appropriate treatment for you . For your acne, this will depend on several factors:
- Is you acne inflammatory - with pus spots and nodules?
- Is your acne mainly pore blockage (whiteheads and blackheads) - comedonal acne?
- Are you getting scars?
- Are you getting increase pigmentation at the site of old spots?
- Is for acne worse with menstruation (females only!)
The answers to these and other questions will help guide how your treatment is chosen. It may be that you start off on one treatment but change over the months as your dermatologist learns how your individual skin and acne is responding to treatment.
Will I need any special tests?
Acne can be diagnosed by the appearance of your skin, by an expert dermatologist. However, sometimes tests regarding hormonal conditions may be necessary or sometimes you need tests prior to treatment such as with isotretinoin. Female patients who might have polycystic ovarian syndrome may have an ultrasound of the ovaries performed if appropriate. Any tests will be discussed with you at the time of the consultation. If you think you have had these tests recently, please bring copies of the results with you for your appointment.
What should I do next?
If you would like to have an individual assessment of your acne and your treatment options, the best thing is to book in to see a dermatologist. We shall explore the history of your acne and your medical history: it would help if you could bring a list of your previous treatments, if you can remember them.
Eczema is a skin condition characterised by dry, itchy skin, which readily becomes inflamed and at times infected. Treatment of eczema is best under the care of a specialist dermatologist who can understand the type of eczema and it's most appropriate treatment. There are other skin conditions that can mimic eczema, which a dermatologist will be looking for whenever examining an eczema patient.
Eczema and allergy
Eczema can be related to allergy for a minority of eczema patients. Although most patients, or parents, who attend are concerned about allergies, only a few will have a relevant allergy. Where appropriate, we will conduct allergy testing, but the majority of patients are able to carry on with a normal diet and normal life.
Young children with eczema do have a slightly increased risk of developing a food allergy. In assessing these patients, it is important to gather information relating to their diet, and any foods that lead to vomiting, diarrhoea or a rash. Also, it is important to know if children are gaining weight and height at an appropriate rate so your records in the "red book" will be helpful. Food allergies can be tested by skin prick testing or by blood tests, if appropriate.
Contact dermatitis is a kind of eczema that occurs when the skin comes into contact with a substance that you are allergic to. This is different from the food allergy described above. Commonly, this type of rash is triggered by preservatives found in cosmetics or domestic products, fragrances, metals such as nickel in jewellery, rubbers, clothing dyes and other materials. Your dermatologist will explore whether this is relevant to you and whether you will benefit from patch tests.
Eczema skin care plan
It is important that eczema patients have clear skin care plan which is tailored to their individual case. This will be explained you at the time of your consultation. The plan will include:
- A body wash (soap free, often antibacterial)
- A moisturiser - many patients will be given one for night and one for daytime use
- An anti-inflammatory - this may be a steroid or a steroid free cream depending on your case
Following the skin care plan will dramatically improve most patients skin if adhered to. There are some patients who require more potent therapy such as immunosuppressant medication.
What to do next?
If you would like to have your or a family member's eczema assessed, you are welcome to book in. If you can bring a list of previous treatments, that can be helpful. Sometimes you may even be given a product you have used before, but it's a matter of how you use it, not just what you use.