North Western Dermatology provides a full range
of general dermatology services to patients of all ages.
General Dermatology is the branch of medicine involving conditions of the skin, nails and hair, including rashes, alterations of skin colour or texture and changes in the hair and sweat glands.
In addition to having a broad knowledge in these areas your Dermatologist may also have a subspecialty area of expertise.
Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that presents with thick scaly plaques appearing on many parts of the body including the scalp. The nails can be affected and some people also develop a form of arthritis. Psoriasis is a treatable condition and often management by a specialist is required. Treatments include prescription ointments, UV therapy and tablets. For those with extensive psoriasis or involvement of the face, palms or soles newer injectable agents may be subsidised under the PBS and these can lead to a dramatic improvement.
Eczema (or dermatitis) usually develops in infancy or childhood but it is a condition that can also affect adults throughout life. Melbourne’s dry climate, made worse by heating during the winter, results in eczema being common and troublesome. However in most cases moisturising, avoidance of soaps and the application of steroid ointments under medical guidance can provide control of the itch and clearance of the rash. UV therapy and tablets are other options that can be prescribed by a Dermatologist.
Allergic Contact Dermatitis
Some cases of eczema are due to chemical substances contacting the skin and causing an allergy. Allergens that cause this problem can be found in metal jewellery, cosmetics, fragrances, sunscreens and baby wipes. To confirm the diagnosis a form of allergy testing called “patch testing” may be needed. This procedure, which involves the application onto the back of multiple patches containing the test allergens, can be performed on-site in the clinic.
Acne is common and may result in psychological distress and in some cases permanent scarring. Treatment varies depending on the type of acne and its severity and includes creams and gels, tablet antibiotics, hormonal therapy (for women) and in more severe cases oral isotretinoin (a prescription medication available only from a Dermatologist). Extractions and chemical peels are suitable in some cases. Scar treatment may involve the use of a laser or radiofrequency device.
Vitiligo is an autoimmune condition that results in the formation of white patches on the skin. It can occur at any age and in some cases the hair can also become white. Treatment must be commenced soon after onset to achieve the greatest chance of successful repigmentation and therefore assessment by a Dermatologist should not be delayed. Standard therapy includes the use of steroid creams and UV light and these require close monitoring by a specialist.
Axillary hyperhidrosis is the medical term for excessive underam sweating. Although sweating is a normal response to heat, exercise and anxiety for some people the production of an excessive amount of sweat can be a great cause of embarassment. Hyperhidrosis in general can be managed with strong antiperspirants, tablets, iontophoresis or surgery however Botox is a particularly effective and convenient treatment for sweatiness of the armpits.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition that results in small patches of baldness on the scalp or elsewhere. It can occur in both children and adults and in rare cases large areas of hair loss can result. The majority of cases recover completely, whether this occurs naturally or following treatment with steroid injections. In more severe cases immune suppressing medications may be needed. As treatment is more successful if given early it is important to consider seeing a Dermatologist promptly.
Androgenetic alopecia is the medical term for “male pattern baldness” and “female pattern hair loss”. Most cases of early onset androgenetic alopecia are related to genetic factors, with inheritance being from either parent. With newer treatments most cases can be slowed down and sometimes rethickening can be achieved. Future therapies are more likely to be successful if the thinning has not progressed and so it is always worthwhile discussing treatment options with a Dermatologist.
Phototherapy refers to the use of artificial or natural sunlight to treat various skin conditions including psoriasis, eczema and vitiligo. Under the guidance of a Dermatologist narrowband UVB provides a safe and effective treatment that is administered onsite two or three times a week. Treatments are several minutes in duration and the cost is fully covered by Medicare. A separate machine for the treatment of the hands and feet is used for conditions involving these sites only.