What is a dermatologist?

A dermatologist is a medical doctor with special training and skills in diagnosing, treating and preventing skin diseases and skin cancers.

Why your child might see a dermatologist

Your child might see a dermatologist if he has rashes, eczema, psoriasis, birthmarks and acne.

A dermatologist can also look at any moles on your child’s body to check for problems (moles can turn into melanoma, but this rarely happens in childhood).

Dermatologists can take off warts or other growths on your child’s skin.

To see a dermatologist, you need a referral from your GP. Your GP can help you decide about seeing a dermatologist and help you find someone who’s right for your child.

Before going to a dermatologist

Before seeing the dermatologist, it’s a good idea to find out about the following things:

  • Why you’re going to the dermatologist: talk with your GP about why your child needs to see a dermatologist.
  • Waiting lists: how long before you can get an appointment to see the dermatologist?
  • Is there anything you can do while you’re waiting for the appointment?
  • Making an appointment: it might take you more than one phone call to make an appointment.
  • Costs: how much will the appointment with the dermatologist cost? It might be expensive, so you could check whether you can get money back from Medicare or private health insurance, or whether you can get some other kind of financial help.
  • Locations: find out where you have to go to see the dermatologist – for example, a public or private hospital, or consulting rooms. You might have to travel further than you expect, depending on your child’s needs.

You can talk about these things and any other questions you have with your GP before you go to the dermatologist. You could also ask the dermatologist’s clinic when you make your appointment. It’s a good idea to write down any questions you have, so you don’t forget.