Skin Problems and When it’s Time to See a Doctor


Thanks to innovative formulations and access to a vast amount of information online, it’s easier than ever to treat mild skin concerns with OTC solutions. But if that doesn’t work, is it time to call your doctor? Dr Portia Gumede sheds some light on this often-sensitive topic.

As doctors, our number one goal is to actively improve the lives of our patients. We equally enjoy the aesthetic aspect of the job, while helping patients with skin conditions that require a more clinical approach. Though skin conditions such as eczema, acne and rosacea can be successfully managed with over the counter solutions, some cases do require a medical methodology.

If you have any of these skin concerns and you’re wondering if it’s time to make an appointment with your dermatologist or doctor who specialises in aesthetics, then read on.


This is by far the most well-known skin concern, but a visit to the doctor is not always required. Mild breakouts can effectively be managed with targeted aesthetic treatments, such as chemical resurfacing, and a good at-home routine in both adolescents and adults. Diet is another thing that should be taken into consideration – focus on fresh, unprocessed foods, drink plenty of water and minimise your sugar intake.

Make an appointment with your dermatologist or doctor if hard or sensitive cysts appear repeatedly that don’t respond to the treatment plan above. If left untreated, it may cause emotional distress and ultimately affect your psychological well-being. Cystic acne can also lead to scarring and pigmentation that may require more intensive treatments later on. It’s best to leave this treatment in the hands of a doctor or specialist.


This is a tricky one because rosacea often appears only much later in life, and­­ a patient may only notice something is amiss as time passes and the symptoms become more evident. If you start to notice persistent flushing of the cheeks that becomes ruddier over time, it’s best to get it diagnosed as soon as possible to start medical and aesthetic treatment.

A treatment plan as prescribed by a doctor may include prescription medication, specific aesthetic procedures, skin care products and avoiding triggers once they are identified. Another reason to seek medical assistance if you suspect that you may have rosacea is that there are increasing studies and anecdotal evidence that rosacea may be a marker for autoimmune diseases (among other health concerns).


Children often develop eczema (and in some cases, may even outgrow it), but adults are not immune to developing it later on in life. Eczema is an autoimmune disease that has the potential to be extremely disruptive to a person’s life and wellbeing. It can we worsened by external triggers such as allergens, harsh chemicals and perfumes, while factors such as diet, stress and lack of sleep can also trigger flare-ups.

If you have eczema, then you’re probably aware of what your triggers are and how to avoid or minimise them. If, however, your regular treatment is not working anymore; your symptoms are disrupting your daily activities and sleep; you’re developing new symptoms associated with your eczema; your flare-ups are getting more intense and last longer, or your eczema is spreading, it might then be time to make an appointment with your dermatologist or aesthetic physician to review your treatment plan.

Remember – your emotional health has a significant impact on your physical health and vice versa. If you feel that your condition is affecting your mental health, it’s a red flag to make an appointment with your doctor to review your treatment plan and possibly include prescription medicine.

Resources on request.

Written by Dr Portia Gumede – MBChB, Diploma AAAM, Board Certified AAAM. Dr Portia Gumede’s interest in dermatology and aesthetics led her to complete her aesthetic training at the renowned American Academy of Aesthetic Medicine. She also recently attended the Oculo-Facial Aesthetic Academy in London to further her skills and training. In addition to starting her own aesthetic clinic, Dr P (as she is fondly referred to) serves as a national trainer for Galderma, a global leader in dermal fillers.

A2 Disclaimer: This article is published for information purposes only, nor should it be regarded as a replacement for sound medical advice. 

Issue 31 – September 2019 (Spring)

This article was written by Dr Portia Gumede and edited by the A2 team EXCLUSIVELY for the A2 Aesthetic & Anti-Ageing Magazine September 2019 Edition (Issue 31). 

A2 Magazine prints only four magazines each year – reporting seasonally on everything you need and want to know about aesthetics, anti-ageing, integrative medicine, quality and medical skin care, cosmetic dentistry and cosmetic surgery in South Africa – where to go, who to see, what to expect, something new and so much more! Never miss an edition – click here for more info about where you can buy the print and/or digital copy of A2 Magazine (including back copies).

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