What is a Dermatologist?

A Dermatologist is a skin specialist. Whilst many GP's have an interest in skin cancer - they are not dermatologists.

Only a Dermatologist has the FACD qualification which stands for "Fellow of the Australasian College of Dermatologists".

To become a dermatologist, doctors must complete medical school (usually 4-6 years) followed by several years of hospital training. Only a small fraction of those who apply to become a dermatologist are succesful as competition is high. Many applicants have additional degrees e.g. masters or phd.

The dermatology training course is at least 4 years of full time study and includes extensive surgical training, paediatric training, pharmacology, dermatopathology, dermoscopy etc etc. Publishing original research in scientific journals is a requirement of training.

Testing is rigorous throughout the training course with very extensive examinations throughout the 4 years along with a final exhaustive 2 day written and oral examination.

Our dermatologists have not only been through this training themselves, but have also been supervisors and examiners for junior dermatologists. They have all had appointments at Perth's major teaching hospitals. They are involved in the formal RACGP education programme.

In contrast, many other so called 'skin experts' have simply attended a 2-3 week training course.

In most cases, the best person to see for regular, routine skin checks is your own family GP. If your GP has any concerns, he or she will refer you to a Dermatologist. There is no need to attend one of Perth's growing 'Skin Cancer Clinics' - these are not staffed by Dermatologists.

In terms of equipment, the vast majority of dermatologists in Australia do not use any specific computerised mole mapping or mole scanning methods. At Loftus Street Dermatology we believe the best hardware is the human brain, and the best software is 4 years of dermatology training, and years of experience.