Forum

Question:
Is there a good website for patient information leaflets on skin conditions?
   
Answer:
The New Zealand dermatology website has a wide range of excellent patient information leaflets written by skin specialists. Click Here To View
   

Question:
Why haven't you replied to the question I submitted?
   
Answer:
I make a point of replying to all emails. Occasionally my reply comes back as undeliverable and I have no other way of contacting you. Please make sure you type your email address carefully and if you do not receive a reply then please telephone any of my clinics to leave a message. Please note I cannot diagnose or treat skin conditions by email.
   

Question:
Can you recommend a sunblock as I am going on holiday to Egypt? sd Bridgend
   
Answer:
Choose a sunblock that has UVA and UVB photoprotection. Roc and Uvistat are the ones I normally recommend. A private or NHS prescription is not needed and they can be bought over the counter rather than going to your doctor or a dermatologist. However you should not rely on them to prevent sun danage, ageing and skin cancer. Limit your sun exposure as far as possible by seeking the shade and covering up. Avoid getting sunburnt at all costs and take special care with children.
   

Question:
I have heard from a skin specialist on the radio that a cream for skin cancer can also be used to stop the ageing process and make your skin younger and more tight. FW Cardiff
   
Answer:
There is a cream called Efudix which is used to treat certain 'pre-cancers' of the skin and there is some evidence that it improves the quality of the skin by removing unseen sun damaged areas. I have used it alot for pre-cancers and also a few times for cosmetic reasons in private practice and it does seem to work although the change is subtle. The worse the sun damage the greater the effect. As always the best advice is to limit your sun exposure to prevent skin ageing happening in the first place.
   

Question:
My eczema is not better even with a steroid cream like hydrocortisone. HH St Fagans Cardiff
   
Answer:
Topical steroids are one of the main stays for eczema treatment, but 1% hydrocortisone is the mildest. Often it is just too mild to be effective. Topical steroids are safe to use in ecezema and other skin diseases as long as they are prescribed correctly. A doctor such as your GP or a dermatologist will be able to advise.
   

Question:
My doctor has diagnosed me as having rosacea. I am taking erythromycin which makes me feel sick. Is there another treatment I can use. AG, Sketty, Swansea
   
Answer:
Erythromycin is a reasonable treatment for rosacea but it does have side effects and is probably not regarded as the most effective by skin specialists. I prefer to use lymecycline which is much better tolerated and very effective. It has replaced minocycline which is now seldom used. You should also be using a cream as rosacea is a very superficial condition and requires both topical and oral treatment. Once the inflammation has settled any remaining redness can be treated with a pulsed dye laser.
   

Question:
Can you do private laser hair removal?
   
Answer:
We are very fortunate to have an alexandrite laser for hair removal at the Princess of Wales Hospital, Bridgend. This is the best type of laser for light coloured skin and gives excellent results. We treat around 10-20 people per week. Laser hair removal is available on a self funded basis and sometimes on the NHS with a GP referral. I will be able to advise as to whether NHS treatment is available. Your initial consultation can be on the NHS [with a GP referral] or privately [referral not necessary - normal private clinic charges apply].
   

Question:
What is it when you have itchy, dry skin on one hand? RGV Port Talbot
   
Answer:
Obviously it is difficult to be sure without seeing you in person but a fungal infection can often present in this way. Fortunately that is relatively straightforward to cure. Another possibility would be an allergy [contact dermatitits].
   

Question:
I have some skin tags that I would like to have removed by a private dermatologist. Please can you tell me the cost?
   
Answer:
Skin tag or mole removal is performed under local anaesthetic. Sometimes it can be done for no extra charge as part of the private consultation. Otherwise the procedure depends on the number of skin tags or moles. Removal of one to three moles under local anaesthetic in Bridgend might cost ?180 for example.
   

Question:
There is a mole on my shoulder which has been itching and bleeding. I am worried it might be skin cancer although it might be a spot or boil becasue I have had acne before. JR Barry Cardiff
   
Answer:
Any changing mole should be assessed urgently by your GP or a dermatologist to check for skin cancer. Early detection of skin cancer is vital.
   

Question:
I have warts on my hands and have been using a wart treatment from the chemist but this has not worked. ALJ Cyncoed Cardiff
   
Answer:
Cryotherapy [freezing spray] is usually the most effective treatment for hand warts. Laser and topical treatments are also available.
   

Question:
I have been prescribed a steroid cream for my 2 year old's eczema. Is it safe to use and will it cure the eczema? IS, Pentrebane, Cardiff
   
Answer:
Unfortunately there is no cure for eczema but there are treatments available which are very effective. Steroid creams make up a big part of eczema management and it is important to use the correct strength in the correct dose. On the skin conditions page you will find a link to an article I wrote on eczema for the Western Mail which gives an overview of the condition and its treatment.
   

Question:
I have heard that there is a pension available for ex-servicemen with skin cancer.
   
Answer:
You are right that the Veteran's Agnecy provides a one off compensation payment to ex-servicemen and women who were stationed in hot countries and later develop skin cancer. It is normally ?3000 or more and is fairly straightforward to claim. There is no time limit and I have had many WW II and national service veterans who have claimed successfully. In fact it is rare for anybody to be turned down. Any NHS or private dermatologist can provide you with the information you need to claim.
   

Question:
Is there a good website for skin cancer pictures? SH, Gorseinon Swansea
   
Answer:
The New Zealand Dermatology website http://www.dermnet.org.nz/ has very good information and pictures on all types of skin cancer and skin rashes. I would not recommend it as an alternative to seeing your doctor or a skin specialist but it does have very good information.
   

Question:
A skin specialist in South Wales has told me that I cannot have my moles checked regularly but I am worried that I might have a risk of skin cancer developing in a mole.
   
Answer:
Ideally everyone would have their skin checked for changing moles or suspicious lesions to make sure that skin cancer is caught early. In Wales, as in the rest of the UK, the NHS does not have the resources to perform regular skin cancer screening. In America it is fairly common practice but here it is usually limited to people with a high risk of developing skin cancer eg those with multiple moles or a family history of malignant melanoma. Privately a dermatologist / skin specialist can assess your skin and advise whether regular skin cancer screening is worthwhile.
   

Question:
What is the difference between a skin specialist and a dermatologist?
   
Answer:
Essentially they are the same thing. A dermatologist is a skin specialist who is included on the General Medical Council's Specialist Register. You can use this to search for any doctor by name or GMC number [mine is 4105208] to see their qualifications. You can check whether a skin specialist is included on the register at http://www.gmc-uk.org/
   

Question:
Do you have any acne cure? Dave, Radyr, Cardiff
   
Answer:
A cure implies that a condition will go away and not come back. In fact this generally is the case with acne. It is just a question of how far along the acne treatment pathway you need to progress before you are clear. Any consultant dermatologist will have access to all the necessary treatments for acne.
   

Question:
Do you have a clinic in Swansea? I have some spots that I would like to get rid of. LT Swansea
   
Answer:
I do have a clinic every Wednesday in the Sancta Maria Hospital, Swansea.
   

Question:
Do you offer free consultations? SM Newport
   
Answer:
I don't offer free consultations routinely as I think they always introduce an element of bias into decision making. I have had many patients over the years who have been talked into having unnecessary or unsuitable procedures in clinics offering a free consultation. The only exception is with Botox where I deduct the cost of the consultation from the first treatment if someone decides to go ahead, which means it ends up being free.
   

Question:
I have been suffering from acne and spots for many years. They have begun to appear under my arms as big boils. My GP says I have hidradenitis suppurativa. I live in Swansea. Is there any treatment?
   
Answer:
Hidradenitis was a very difficult condition to treat until a few years ago. We can now use a combination of antibiotics called Rifampicin and Clindamycin for 3 months. They are almost always very effective giving a long remission if not a complete cure. The course can also be repeated if the problem recurs.
   

Question:
Is there a good website for patient information leaflets on skin conditions?
   
Answer:
The New Zealand dermatology website has a wide range of excellent patient information leaflets written by skin specialists. Click Here To View
   

Question:
Where can I find out more information about an acne cure?
   
Answer:
I have written an article for the Western Mail about acne which hopefully you will find useful. Click Here To View
   

 

 

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