When choosing a dermatologist in Singapore, you can opt for a public or private skin specialist. In this article, we will go through the differences in each to help you make a more informed decision.
How much does a dermatologist cost in Singapore?
On average, the total cost of consultation and medication with a public skin specialist would range from ~$100-250. Meanwhile, a consultation (not including prescriptions and medication) with a dermatologist at a private clinic would cost around $120-$160.
Do note that private clinics do not offer subsidies for medications. Oftentimes dermatological services aren’t covered by health insurance or medical subsidies, since many are considered cosmetic procedures.
Aside from the cost, there are pros and cons to consulting with either a public or private skin specialist. At a public clinic, you might have to wait up to 7 weeks for an appointment, as they do not take walk-in patients.
What is the fastest way to see a dermatologist?
On the other hand, booking an appointment with a private dermatologist in Singapore tends to be faster. Most specialist skin clinics can offer an appointment one to two days after calling. In fact, as long as the doctor’s schedule permits, some skin clinics even accept walk-in patients.
You can only be eligible for subsidies on your skin treatment, medication, or surgery depending on the dermatologist’s assessment and diagnosis of your skin condition. However, if the procedure needed is considered cosmetic by the Ministry of Health, you will not be able to get any subsidies.
When should I see a dermatologist?
If you have any of the following conditions, you will benefit from getting an accurate diagnosis by a qualified skin specialist who has undergone proper board certification to diagnose your dermatological condition and recommend appropriate treatment. Do note that all skin conditions are actually medical in nature, save for certain types of pigmentation which are due to photoaging.
Acne and acne scars
A dermatologist can help you treat your acne and acne scars. The skin specialist can also help reduce scarring and prevent acne from coming back. Treatment may include skin cream, oral medication, cosmeceuticals, light therapy, chemical peel etc.
Eczema causes patches of skin that may be scaly, itchy, bumpy, red, or flaking. A dermatologist can help to diagnose eczema. If you have eczema, your skin specialist may recommend lifestyle interventions to help manage and treat eczema. Prescription steroids, creams, pills, or adjunct cosmeceutical treatment may also be necessary.
If you think that you have skin sensitivity on your face, for example whenever you travel, when there’s a change in environment, or when you change your skincare products, you may actually have more than just skin sensitivity. Skin sensitivity or reactivity, can be a form of eczema which is due to a dysfunction of the skin barrier. The skin barrier is what protects you from the external environment. When you have sensitive skin, it means that your skin function is no longer as good as it was. A dermatologist will be able to correctly diagnose the cause of the sensitivity, which may be due to underlying atopic dermatitis, or application of an external substance such as skincare, or due to environmental triggers such as a change in climate, or the presence of airborne pollutants or volatile agents.
When you have facial sensitivity, it is important to note that the key thing is to reduce skin inflammation. You will be prescribed a topical steroid to reduce inflammation. Use this under medical supervision as it can cause skin thinning, and may even be ineffective if used inappropriately. This is in conjunction with a barrier repair moisturiser, a prescription emollient device – the gold standard of eczema therapy. It contains anti-inflammatory botanical ingredients, on top of the ceramide-based moisturisers which is now indicated for the treatment of eczema and sensitive skin.
A dry and flaky scalp is often due to seborrheic dermatitis, more commonly known as dandruff. This is a chronic recurrent condition that can result in redness, itching and flaking of the scalp. A dermatologist will recommend treatment in the form of anti-fungal shampoos, steroid creams, or other cosmeceutical hair treatments.
It is normal to have 50-100 strands of hair fall a day. However if you see bald patches, severe hair thinning or a receding hairline, do visit a dermatologist. Treatment options include topical or oral treatments, cosmeceuticals, or other therapies.
Dermatologists can offer skin treatments to improve the look of your scars, including acne scars and keloid (raised) scars. For more serious scars such as those due to burns, a dermatologist may refer you to a plastic surgeon for enhanced treatment.
Conditions like rosacea are often mistakenly diagnosed as acne or facial eczema because of the redness of the skin. Rosacea is a common skin disease that characterizes the tendency to blush or flush more easily than others. The redness can spread slowly between the nose and cheeks, to the chin and forehead. Even the ears, back and chest can be red all the time. Rosacea, however, does have long term effects – it leads to thickening of the skin, irregular skin texture. Individuals with enlarged pores may actually have rosacea that has gone undetected and untreated for a period of time. Visit a dermatologist to manage and treat your rosacea.
One example of a conditions which may be mistaken for cosmetic concerns is perioral dermatitis. It appears as an acne-like condition, but with flaking and redness in clusters around the mouth area and jawline. This is sometimes mistaken as hormonal acne by non-dermatologists. The key thing here is perioral dermatitis is incredibly stubborn, difficult to treat, and will require a course of oral medications such as oral antibiotics, for it to be under control.
Do you have a skin or hair concern? Dr. Teo Wan Lin is an accredited dermatologist in Singapore who specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of facial skin diseases. She is also the founder of cosmeceutical skincare line Dr.TWL Dermaceuticals, which develops evidence-based cosmeceutical actives for adjunct treatment of skin conditions.