What is a Dermatologist

A dermatologist (skin specialist) is a qualified medical specialist who, through additional years of special training, has obtained qualifications to specialise in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of skin, nail and hair diseases affecting persons of all ages. Dermatologists are also trained to treat patients with diseases affecting the genitalia and the inside of the mouth. Apart from medical dermatology, dermatologists are also trained in cosmetic skin problems and aesthetic procedures and do not require additional Certification of Competency (COC) to carry out such treatments in Singapore. And in Singapore, dermatologists can also treat sexually transmitted infections.

In Singapore, to qualify as a dermatologist, a doctor needs to obtain a post-graduate degree in general internal medicine or paediatrics which may take up to 5 years before acceptance into a full time dermatology training programme in a recognised dermatological institute lasting 3 years. At the end of this training, the Ministry of Health certifies the doctor as a dermatologist. In recent years, dermatology training no longer requires a post-graduate degree in Internal Medicine or Paediatrics, but involves 5 years of full-time post-graduate training in a recognised dermatology training program. Only doctors listed as dermatologists by the Ministry of Health are recognised dermatologists. Having a diploma in dermatology (Dip Derm) or a diploma in family practice dermatology (Dip FP Dermatology) alone does not qualify a doctor to be a dermatologist.

Dermatologists are experts in the treatment of skin conditions such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, skin infections, skin allergy, skin cancers and hair loss. Dermatologists also treat all kinds of cosmetic problems of the skin and provide advice on skin health. Special treatments such as surgery for skin cancers and pre-cancerous skin conditions, the use of ultraviolet light therapy, laser therapy, intense pulsed light (IPL), radio-frequency therapy, botulinum toxin and filler injections and hair transplantations are also carried out by dermatologists. In fact, many cosmetic lasers and treatments were initially developed by dermatologists.

Source: Dermatological Society of Singapore (DSS)