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Dermatological Care and Your Private Health Insurance in Singapore

Singapore’s sunny climate, perpetual heat, and humidity can aggravate skin conditions. If you suffer from skin woes like acne, hives, rashes, or eczema, you’re not alone. With the right dermatological care, you can better manage and take care of your skin. 

Dermatological care in Singapore, however, can cost a fair bit, especially if you need frequent consultations, medications, and creams. Ensuring your private health insurance in Singapore covers such care is, therefore, paramount. 

In this Pacific Prime Singapore blog post, we discuss the most common skin conditions in the Lion City, public vs. private dermatological treatment, the cost of dermatology treatment in Singapore, and what to consider when it comes to dermatology health insurance.

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Rising demand for best dermatologists in Singapore

If you’re in need of seeing a dermatologist in Singapore, you’re not alone. Whether it’s for eczema, psoriasis, or acne, demand for help with skin conditions is on the rise in the city-state. 

According to Channel News Asia, the National Skin Centre (NSC) reported 304,000 dermatological outpatient clinic attendances in 2016, a relatively large increase from 263,000 in 2008.

The reasons why dermatological treatment is increasing in demand are manifold. In the aforementioned article, Dr. Lynn Chiam, a dermatologist at Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital, says increased awareness of skin conditions and treatments available is the main reason behind the hike in demand. 

Another main reason is that more Singaporeans are traveling frequently; this results in exposure to different climate conditions, which can in turn aggravate skin problems.

Common skin problems in Singapore

Here, we take a brief look at three of the most common skin conditions in Singapore and provide tips on how you can better manage such ailments:


Affecting approximately one in 10 people, eczema refers to a group of conditions that cause the skin to be red, itchy, and inflamed. Eczema is one of the most common causes of dry and sensitive skin. Most often, over-the-counter eczema cream in Singapore can relieve the pain.

Singapore’s hot and humid climate can lead to excessive sweating, which can irritate and exacerbate the conditions even more. Spending time in chlorinated pools and using sun creams containing harmful chemicals can also cause the conditions to flare up.

Eczema is also commonly aggravated by allergic reactions, which are commonly caused by dust mites, shellfish, peanuts, and a prebiotic found in milk formulas called Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOCS) in Singapore. 

How to better manage eczema: Those with eczema will have particularly sensitive skin, so it’s important to take a shower soon after excessive sweating. 

Ensure that you frequently moisturize your skin with dermatologically approved moisturizers, as people with eczema are prone to having dry and flaky skin. Visit your eczema dermatologist or a general practitioner if simple moturizers aren’t doing the trick. 

Heat Rash

Commonly referred to as sweat rash or prickly heat, heat rash occurs when sweat ducts are blocked and affects roughly 30% of people living in hot and humid countries. 

Those with this condition tend to experience itchy rashes, blisters, or tiny bumps on their skin. Non-breathable and synthetic clothes, as well as excessive sweating, can further aggravate the condition.

How to better manage heat rash: The most effective way of preventing heat rash is to keep your skin cool by wearing loose cotton clothing and taking cold baths or showers.

To calm and soothe the itchy or prickly rash, apply something cold (e.g., an ice pack) to the affected area for no more than 20 minutes and try to avoid perfumed shower gels, as they will likely further aggravate the condition.


Excessive sweating is common in hot and humid climates, which can easily trap dust and grime within the skin’s pores, causing them to clog up. Heat can also cause the skin to create excess sebum, making the skin more oily and clogging the pores even more, resulting in acne flare-ups. 

How to better manage acne: Cleanse the skin after excessive sweating, and use an anti-bacterial wash to get rid of bacteria and excess sebum on the skin. Products containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid can help clear the skin. 

If you’re experiencing more severe types of acne (e.g., cysts), it’s best to see a dermatologist who will be able to prescribe antibiotics to help kill the bacteria and reduce inflammation. 

Public vs Private Treatment for Skin Conditions in Singapore

As we discuss in our Private vs. Public Healthcare in Singapore guide, one of the main differences between public and private care for most medical specialties is time and convenience vs. costs.

Private Dermatological Treatment

As one might expect, it’s usually much quicker to see a private-sector dermatologist; many clinics will be happy to give you an appointment slot within one or two days of calling them. This is often the preferred option for those wanting immediate dermatological attention for skin flare-ups. 

Private dermatologists charge a hefty sum to pay, especially if you require frequent care; hence, we highly recommend that individuals and families take time to find the right private health care in Singapore.

The Cost of Private Dermatological Care

Making appointments with private dermatologists in Singapore is much faster. Most clinics will offer appointments within two days of contact. The usual fees for consultation cost SGD $120-140 and another SGD $15-300 for medication.

Public Dermatological Treatment

If you decide to take the public route and visit the National Skin Center, you will usually have to wait a long time, as walk-ins are not accepted. This route is a lot more affordable. Singaporean citizens, for example, only need to pay a subsidized rate for their initial consultation at the NSC.

It’s important to note here that all foreigners are not qualified for subsidized rates at the NSC. You can, however, visit an NSC dermatologist via the unsubsidized private route, which gives you a quicker appointment date, and the ability to choose the same dermatologist.

The Cost of Public Dermatological Care

If you choose to go to a public dermatological care center in Singapore, you may need to book months in advance, as the average wait time is 50 days. Moreover, expats will not receive subsidized rates, and the cost of consultations starts at SGD $115.

How Much is Dermatology Treatment with Health Insurance? 

If your plan covers outpatient treatment, meaning care that does not require an overnight hospital stay, then it will cover the costs of GP or family doctor visits to have your skin irritation initially examined, but referrals to specialist dermatologists will be a separate benefit. 

If you already have a skin condition prior to signing up for private health insurance in Singapore, you’ll likely find coverage for your condition falling into a pre-existing condition exclusion. 

International health insurance providers are typically more lenient towards applicants with pre-existing conditions; some will allow the option of covering such conditions as long as you agree to a waiting period or pay an extra premium. 

Another point worth mentioning here is whether your condition needs ongoing care. Health insurance plans only cover care that is “medically necessary,” so dermatological treatments that are cosmetic in nature (e.g., Botox, chemical peels) will be excluded from their individual or group health plan. 

Every policy will vary as it pertains to its benefits and limits, so it’s imperative that you read the fine print before purchasing private health insurance in Singapore.

Navigating the World of Health Insurance in Singapore

If you have more questions about what coverage you can get for dermatology or if you are wondering if cosmetic surgery is covered by insurance, you should reach out to the insurance experts at Pacific Prime. 

With the advent of the internet, finding insurance is easy in Singapore. Comparing and selecting the best health insurance options for you and your family’s needs, however, can be a whole other ball game. 

Check out Pacific Prime Singapore’s Guide on Health Insurance in Singapore to learn about the main differences between Medishield Life, local plans, and international health insurance plans, or get in touch with our advisors today for free, impartial advice.

For more information, contact us, or compare quotes.

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Senior Content Creator at Pacific Prime Singapore
Serena Fung is a Senior Content Creator at Pacific Prime, a global insurance brokerage and employee specialist serving over 1.5 million clients in 15 offices across the world. With 2+ years of experience writing about the subject, she aims to demystify the world of insurance for readers with the latest updates, guides and articles on the blog.

Serena earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of British Columbia, Canada. As such, she is an avid advocate of mental health and is fascinated by all things psychology (especially if it’s cognitive psychology!).

Her previous work experience includes teaching toddlers to read, writing for a travel/wellness online magazine, and then a business news blog. These combined experiences give her the skills and insights she needs to explain complex ideas in a succinct way. Being the daughter of an immigrant and a traveler herself, she is passionate about educating expats and digital nomads on travel and international health insurance.
Serena Fung