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Healthy skin is important to our overall wellbeing, fitness and vitality

If you've been suffering from any skin problem: rashes, spots, bleeding, itchiness, discolourations of some kind, hair issues, or finger or toenail ailments, your first port of call will be the dermatology department, and if you have private medical insurance or have means to self-fund your care, and you live within easy distance of Northampton, you may well find yourself being referred to the specialist dermatology clinic at Three Shires Hospital for further investigation and help.

Skin is our first line of defence against all outside threats to all our other organs. However, despite that, perhaps the largest uncontrollable threat comes from within. We're talking about hereditary diseases. Most are uncomfortable at worst, but there are many life-threatening ones too (such as basal cell nevus syndrome or Muir-Torre syndrome), thankfully though, most life-threatening inherited diseases of the skin are rare. 

The sun is a good source of Vitamin D, and we know the skin needs a certain amount of vitamin D to be healthy, however too much exposure to the sun can be detrimental and can result in the development of life-threatening conditions such as cancer.

If you have noticed any issues with your skin, or you are worried about marks on your skin such as moles changing shape or colour, or lumps forming anywhere on your body, visit your GP as soon as possible.

After an initial examination, your GP will refer you to a skin specialist or dermatologist if they suspect anything needs investigating further.

And if that referral is to the dermatology clinic here at Three Shires, you will be seen by our specialist dermatology team, where, after further examination and, if necessary, tests, we will be able to advise you of the next steps to help you on the road to recovery.

You can also contact us direct on 01604 801068 if you'd like to arrange a consultation or get a second opinion. Note that if you've been referred to us by your doctor or insurance company, we will be in contact with you to arrange an appointment. 

There are three main groups of skin cancers, but many many more within those groups. The outer layer of the skin is called the epidermis (which itself consists of 4 or 5 layers), and it's at the base of this layer that the most common skin cancer occurs called basal cell carcinoma (BCC).

According to MacMillan Cancer Support, eighty in every hundred cases of skin cancer in the UK are BCCs1. BCC cancers tend to be static in that they rarely spread to other parts of the body, and thankfully most are cured.

However, a few can grow deeper into the skin and in the worst cases, can spread to bones, making them far harder to treat. 

The second most common skin cancers are of the type: squamous cell carcinoma. This cancer starts in the basal cells of the outer skin layer and then spreads upwards into the flattened, or squamous, outer layer of the epidermis.

These can spread further and if left untreated over time can become dangerous. Some can also spread more quickly, so if you have any signs of changing marks or skin colours, it's very important you seek attention.

The third and most dangerous skin cancer type is called malignant melanoma (the other two types are sometimes referred to as non-melanomas).

These can change and spread quickly, sometimes in just weeks or months and are often associated with mole growth (they can start as new moles seen on the skin, begin within existing moles, or begin as a discolouration of the skin).

In fact, moles are sometimes called benign melanomas because they are a skin tumour, and although they are not dangerous, they are still considered to be abnormal growths.

Malignant melanomas are also closely associated with ultraviolet light from both the sun as well as technology such as sun beds. 

There are many types of rash, some are itchy, some are not. Some are painful to the touch, others are not. They can occur on every part of the body, and the vast majority are not life threatening, with many clearing up without any intervention.

However, some, if left untreated, can become a problem, and of those that do, some can go on to cause quite serious complications for people.

A few rashes are also contagious, such as impetigo which, although is more common in children, can affect adults too. 

Perhaps the most common rash is eczema, which affects 1 in 5 children in the UK and as many as 1 in 12 adults according to the National Institute for Health and Care (NICE)2.

Eczema is closely associated with allergens and is also hereditary, but it's not contagious. For most people, treatment by a specialist dermatologist will help immensely as they can advise on how to reduce the immediate effects of eczema, and how to keep it reduced.

Eczema can come and go and is not curable but getting the right advice from an expert will certainly improve your quality of life should you have this condition. Our dermatology clinic at Three Shires can help. 

Another less common skin condition we see is psoriasis. The NHS estimate that this affects around 2% of the UK population, both men and women equally, and usually under 35 years of age.

Psoriasis is not contagious and can appear on any part of the body although it's more common on knees, back, elbow, and the scalp. It's a scabby, often itchy and sore rash that in its worst state can seriously affect the sufferers quality of life.

The cause is abnormal skin cell growth up to 4 times faster than normal growth. This may be due to a problem with the immune system or it may be hereditary, but it can also happen due to an earlier trauma of some sort. 

A consultant dermatologist will help diagnose the problem and advise on the best course of treatment if you suspect you have this condition. 

An initial consultation at our dermatology clinic will usually last between 15 and 30 minutes, during which time your condition will be diagnosed or referred on to further specialists if it turns out to be due to a non-skin related condition.

Our team uses specialist equipment to ensure a proper diagnosis is made and the best follow up treatments will be recommended along with any risks so you can make an informed choice of what to do next. 

Should a stay in the hospital be required, all Three Shires rooms are private and include full en-suite facilities with medical staff available 24 hours a day. If you'd like to discuss any condition you have or would like to book an appointment at our skin clinic, please do call us on 01604 620311

Specialists offering Dermatology

Dr Kazeem Salako

Consultant Dermatologist

MRCP (UK), (Dermatology) FRCP (Lond), MSc (Medical Leadership and Management)

Three Shires Hospital

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