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What is a Dermatologist?

What is a Dermatologist?

A Dermatologist is a medical specialist who has undertaken a minimum of 13 years of study including the following:

  1. 6 years of undergraduate university medical training
  2. A minimum of 3 years hospital based training (internship and residency)
  3. 4 years specific dermatology training which is predominantly hospital based and under the auspices of Australasian College of Dermatologists (ACD)
  4. A series of exams, both written and oral, culminating in the final ACD fellowship examination in the 4th year of training.

Having passed all the exams and satisfied all other training requirements a doctor may then be admitted as a Fellow of the Australasian College of Dermatologists  (or FACD).

What does a dermatologist do?

Dermatologists are specialists in diseases of the skin, including the hair, nails, and external mucous membranes.  They are trained both as physicians and surgeons.

With further training above and beyond the basic specialty training, often overseas, some Dermatologists develop subspecialty interests such as in skin cancer, diseases of the nails, diseases of the hair etc.

Dermatologists are the only doctors with comprehensive education and training and who have passed rigorous examinations in the study of the skin, both in health and in disease.  Dermatologists are therefore the only true “experts” of the skin. In the list of letters behind all doctors’ names you should look for FACD for ensure your “skin specialist” is a Dermatologist. This is not to imply that your family GP, plastic surgeon or other specialist cannot treat various conditions affecting your skin.

Further information is available on the Australasian College of Dermatologists website in the general public section, including a section entitled “The A-Z of Skin”.



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