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6 Reasons why you need to see a dermatologist

Many people don’t realise that your skin is the largest organ of the human body and is made up of multiple layers including the epidermis, the hypodermis and the dermis. It has important functions like regulating body temperature, protecting body tissue, assisting with vitamin production, providing immune defence and facilitating sensation. There are also numerous medical conditions that affect the skin, some more serious than others, which means that you might have to see a dermatologist. Bloom Financial Services, in conjunction with Momentum Health4Me, discusses common skin conditions and what you can expect if you have to visit a dermatologist.

What does a dermatologist do?

A dermatologist is a medical doctor who specialises in a broad range of conditions related to the body’s skin, hair and nails. They can diagnose and treat conditions relating to these specific areas, and identify underlying health problems that may be linked to your thyroid, kidneys or stomach. They also perform certain types of surgeries, like removing moles or performing skin biopsies.

Why and when should I see a dermatologist?

You should book an appointment with a dermatologist if you develop any of the following skin conditions or begin showing symptoms of these conditions:

1. Acne

This is one of the most common skin conditions and is especially prevalent amongst teenagers. The symptoms include blemishes that appear on the face, back or chest as whiteheads, blackheads or cysts. The cause is related to either blocked pores or bacteria. While the condition is not life-threatening it can cause a lot of emotional distress and, without proper treatment, can lead to permanent scarring. Treatment is usually prescriptive or over-the-counter topical or oral medication.

2. Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune condition that causes skin cells to multiply too quickly. This causes inflammation on the skin, which presents as red patches, called plaque, on the elbows, face, legs and scalp. The affected areas are typically itchy, scaly and painful. There are many different types of psoriasis, like pustular psoriasis and guttate psoriasis, and the condition itself is often triggered by certain factors, like the cold or stress. Those who suffer from psoriasis are usually prescribed medication that suppresses their immune system. There are also topical treatments that can be applied to the skin to soothe the infected areas.

3. Eczema

Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is a chronic condition where the skin develops a rash that becomes red, inflamed, swollen and dry. Eczema often affects babies and small children, and should grow milder in adulthood. It’s often caused by allergens so it can be controlled through medication and proper skincare. For instance, those who experience eczema are encouraged to keep the affected area well moisturised to prevent it from drying out.

4. Rosacea

This is a chronic skin condition that causes a red, flushed look on the skin around the face, particularly the cheeks and nose. It’s characterised by tiny bumps and swelling on the skin’s surface. This condition can be triggered by external factors such as the temperature, spicy food and even stress. Rosacea can be controlled with medication and by making certain lifestyle changes. 

5. Varicose veins

Varicose veins are painful, swollen veins that are caused by faulty valves. They often appear on the legs or ankles and have a raised appearance that is either blue or purple in colour. Varicose veins increase one’s risk of developing blood clots, which is a serious health risk. The condition is often caused by weight gain or hormonal changes and it is treated by making smart lifestyle changes, like following a healthy diet, and through laser treatment.

6. Skin cancer

The Cancer Association of South Africa confirms that skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the world and asks that people be aware of any changes to their skin as early detection is a key recovery factor. Symptoms to look out for include irregular growths that change size or colour. Treatment for skin cancer will depend on the type of cancer, but could include surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

What to expect when you visit a dermatologist

If you need to visit a dermatologist we suggest removing any make-up or nail varnish first. You can expect them to take your full medical history, including what type of medication you may take, your diet, stress levels and lifestyle habits. They will then conduct a skin exam where they will take note of and evaluate any skin discolourations, growths, moles or rashes in order to make a diagnosis. Be advised that you may need more than one visit to the dermatologist in order to rectify your skin condition as there is often no ‘quick-fix’ when it comes to certain types of chronic skin problems, like acne. 

What does it cost to see a dermatologist?

The typical consultation rate to see a dermatologist is approximately R1,000 for a visit and this would exclude any treatments.

Will Health4Me health insurance cover a dermatologist?

Yes, Momentum’s Health4Me Gold Plan option does include specialist cover, such as a dermatologist visit. Members are limited to two visits per year at a limit of R1,000 per consult, per member. This means you will need to settle the balance of any additional fees out of pocket. It’s important to note that, in order to visit a dermatologist, you must first make an appointment with your local GP who will obtain authorisation from Momentum and then provide you with a referral letter. Thereafter, you may make an appointment with a dermatologist who is part of the Momentum CareCross medical network. The Momentum Health4Me Gold plan starts at just R524 per month for a principal member.

Takeaway

At Bloom, we encourage our members to lead and live a healthy lifestyle, so take care of your skin and be aware of any changes that could pose a serious health risk. If you do need to visit a medical specialist, like a dermatologist, there are health insurance plans that cover this type of consultation. Contact our team of trained brokers for your medical insurance quotes or get health insurance online by simply filling in your details on our website.

Medical Content Disclaimer

You understand and acknowledge that all users of the Bloom Financial Services website are responsible for their own medical care, treatment, and oversight. All content provided on the website, is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Neither is it intended to be a substitute for an independent professional medical opinion, judgement, diagnosis or treatment.