Dr Aimee Gavin treats skin, hair and nail conditions from her practice based in Pretoria.

Common conditions include:


Dr Aimee Gavin treats skin, hair and nail conditions from her practice based in Pretoria.

Common conditions include:


Acne arises from clogged pores. The type of acne you get depends on what clogs your pores. The leading causes of acne are; too much sebum in the skin, bacteria, skin inflammation and oil clogging up pores. Acne appears on areas with the most sebaceous glands, such as the forehead, face, shoulders, chest and back. People can get acne at any age. Hormones are one of the factors why acne is so common in teenagers.

Today, virtually every case of acne can be treated successfully. A dermatologist can help manage the condition, prevent scarring and make it appear less noticeable. Firstly, Dr Gavin will make sure of the diagnosis. Sometimes what looks like acne isn’t acne. Perioral dermatitis can be mistaken for acne. An acne treatment plan that’s right for you depends on many considerations, including the type of acne, where the acne appears on your skin, what treatments you’ve already tried, your age and whether the acne has left you with pigmented spots or scars. Dr Gavin prescribes a combination of oral antibiotics, retinoids, benzoyl peroxide, birth control pills, or oral retinoids to treat acne. Light therapy, chemical peels and steroid injections are more invasive therapies for acne.

Hyperhidrosis /Excessive sweating

Hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating. Excessive sweating happens even when you are not anxious or exercising. This condition can affect a person’s self-confidence, disrupt daily activities and lead to social anxiety and embarrassment.

Dr Gavin may be able to treat this condition by prescribing Aluminium chloride (a strong antiperspirant) or inject the area with Botulinum toxin.


Rosacea is a skin disease that often begins with a tendency to blush or flush more easily than other people. Rosacea can cause more than redness. There are four types of rosacea that all presents with different signs and symptoms. Tiny, red bumps full of pus can appear on the skin. Patients who have rosacea can develop problems with their eyes and nose. The skin on the nose thickens, creating a bulbous appearance. There are various triggers for rosacea like temperature extremities, hot drinks, spicy food, exercise, stress and alcohol.

Dr Gavin discusses treatment options and lifestyle or dietary changes with her patients. Intense pulsed light therapy and prescription creams and gels are ways to manage the effects of rosacea. Rosacea is incurable, but there are ways to manage the symptoms.


Eczema refers to a group of conditions that causes inflamed skin that presents as dry, itchy and red skin. Adults can develop many types of eczema, like contact dermatitis, nummular eczema, dyshidrotic eczema and stasis dermatitis. Adult atopic dermatitis is usually in patients who had atopic dermatitis as a child. A few people might develop it for the first time after the age of 18 years. It is important to manage eczema effectively because it could lead to depression, anxiety, sleep loss due to itching, skin infections and decreased quality of life.

There are treatments to manage symptoms and signs of eczema. Unfortunately, eczema is a chronic condition that can't be cured. A treatment plan created by a dermatologist can help reduce flare-ups, ease symptoms, prevent eczema from worsening, decrease your risk of developing thickened skin and lower your risk of infection. Part of the treatment plan will always be a skincare plan to help keep skin moisturised. Corticosteroid creams, calcineurin inhibitors and coal tar are medication options. Phototherapy is an option when topical creams don’t work. In severe cases, a systemic medication that alters your immune response might be considered.

Contact dermatitis is an unfavourable skin reaction in response to specific substances or fragrances. Substances like soap, perfumes, jewellery and cosmetics trigger an allergic skin reaction. The skin becomes dry, red and itchy when in contact with any of these products. Harmful substances affect the skin’s outer layer and trigger a reaction. Avoiding or reducing contact time with external irritants will prevent this condition from flaring up. Topical ointments and steroid creams minimise symptoms during flares.

Skin pigmentation

Hyperpigmentation may present as large dark patches on the skin – this is referred to as melasma. This is often due to genetics (skin type), sun exposure and hormones (pregnancy and medication). This condition is a challenge to treat, and maintenance of treatment is required for optimal results.

Dr Gavin will prescribe topical medicated creams as a first-line treatment, and this can also be combined with chemical peels and micro-needling. It is very important to avoid the sun as much as possible and wear sunscreen daily.


Dry, red and scaly patches of skin on the elbows, knees and scalp characterise psoriasis. Psoriasis is a chronic, incurable skin and nail condition that can also affect the joints. Psoriasis occurs when there's a problem with the immune system that causes skin cells to regenerate rapidly. This rapid skin cell production rate causes skin cells to pile up and form visible scaly, red patches. There are different forms of psoriasis, and each type looks different.

Part of Dr Gavin's treatment plan is to identify triggers in her patients with psoriasis. Triggers differ from person to person. Triggers include dry, cold weather, sunshine, stress, smoking, alcohol, skin injury, infection or medication. A comprehensive, individualised treatment plan is necessary to manage all aspects of psoriasis. Eating healthily, exercising daily and maintaining favourable body weight is essential in minimising symptoms of psoriasis.

Skin infections

Skin infections can be caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi or mycobacteria. The skin can also be infested by parasites such as scabies or lice.

Common bacterial skin infections include impetigo, bacterial folliculitis, abscesses and cellulitis. These infections are managed with appropriate oral or topical antibiotics.

Common viral skin infections include shingles (herpes zoster) and herpes simplex infections such as genital herpes. Shingles present with grouped blisters and can have severe long-term sequelae. Therefore, it is crucial to treat as soon as possible with antiviral medication to prevent complications.

Fungal infections often affect nails in adults but can also affect the soles of the feet and the folds of the skin all over the body. Diabetic patients and other immunosuppressed people are more prone to these infections and often present with recurrent infections.


Vitiligo is an autoimmune disorder that causes the skin to lose its natural colour. Vitiligo can affect skin, hair and the inside of the mouth. Melanin is a pigment that colourises the skin. Melanocytes, the cells that produce melanin, are affected in vitiligo. Vitiligo is not contagious, and it isn't life-threatening, but it can be associated with other autoimmune disorders, and Dr Gavin will screen for this. It is challenging to predict how a patient will respond to treatment. It is important to remember that one particular treatment doesn’t work for everyone. Results can vary from one area of the body to another too.

Treatment for vitiligo restores colour to white patches but doesn’t stop it from happening again. Treating vitiligo depends on the patient's age and the extent of the affected skin. Light therapy, corticosteroid creams, calcineurin inhibitors and surgical techniques are options for treatment. It is very important to prevent sunburn or suntan by wearing sunscreen and using sun-protective clothing.

Autoimmune connective tissue disorders

Autoimmune connective tissue disorders are relatively uncommon but are severe and sometimes life-threatening diseases. This group of disorders include systemic and cutaneous lupus erythematosus, dermatomyositis, rheumatoid arthritis and systemic sclerosis (scleroderma). These conditions often present with skin signs and symptoms like sensitivity to the sun, ulcers, blisters or a non-specific skin rash. It is important to know that it affects many other organs. The joints could be painful and stiff; there might be shortness of breath or gastrointestinal symptoms like difficulty in swallowing or cramping. Blood tests are needed to confirm a specific autoimmune connective tissue disease..

Treatment of these conditions needs to be multidisciplinary, and often rheumatologists are involved in caring for these patients.

Hair loss (alopecia)

Hair loss (alopecia) occurs in men and women and people of all ages. Alopecia can be either scarring or non-scarring. It can present in various patterns, and this often guides the dermatologist on a possible diagnosis. Alopecia could result from genetics, stress, radiation therapy, hormonal imbalance and chronic medical conditions. Hair grooming practices might also play a role as either the primary cause or worsening alopecia due to other causes.

Dr Gavin will first establish the cause of the hair loss, and then treatment is aimed at the cause. Sometimes a small punch biopsy might be needed to confirm the diagnosis.


Keloids are thickened, unsightly scars that can either occur spontaneously or as a result of trauma/surgery in a predisposed individual. Symptoms include pain and itchiness.

It is managed with serial injections of steroids and local anaesthetic directly into the keloid. This helps to soften and shrink the keloids. Although laser and surgery are treatment options, these should never be done without the injections, as recurrence is very common.


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– Eleanor Roosevelt