The practice of dermatology has indeed evolved into a sophisticated, and highly scientific field of Medicine that is way beyond the breadth of the dermis and epidermis. Understanding skin pathologies entails a holistic knowledge of various systemic disorders that can manifest in the skin, hair and nails.
It is now one of the highly established specialty of Medicine for good reasons. In fact, it remains to be one of the most sought after specialties for training among young doctors. It is perceived to lead to a lucrative practice, with one of the lowest rates of burn out among practicing physicians.
From a period of ambiguity, in terms of scope, in the first half of the century, it is now a well-defined branch of Medicine dealing with the skin, nails and hair. But dermatologist-specialists do not only enhance the cosmetic aspects of these structures, they also treat the diseases associated with these structures. They treat over thousands of skin conditions, such as acne, psoriasis, skin cancer, and vitiligo, to name a few.
One thing which makes it an appealing specialty is that it has both medical and surgical aspects. They do interventions like simple skin grafting, laser treatments, skin biopsies and the excision of lesions, tissue injection of treatments and many more procedures.
Because of the wide scope of dermatology practice covering medical and surgical facets, it’s important that one has to be adequately trained to handle all the diseases they treat, and all the procedures they perform.
Time and again, we hear of doctors who claim to be dermatologists blamed for botched procedures leaving the patients with irreparable physical damage.
Indeed, as Dr. Ma. Purita Paz-Lao, president of the Philippine Dermatological Society (PDS) stressed in an interview with H&L, ““We cannot stop anyone from setting up any clinic, or a spa. But what we always ask remind the public, is to please ask if the dermatologist is PDS-certified. You can then be assured that your doctor is well-qualified to diagnose and treat you.”
We support the campaign of PDS against pseudo-dermatologists who prey on gullible victims who only wish to look better with a fairer skin. Everything comes with a price. It’s never a good deal to be enticed with lower costs but with substandard treatments and questionable skills and competence of the person who claims to be an expert.
Making sure that only well trained, competent specialists treat and do procedures on our skin is essential to prevent sad experiences that can lead to lifelong irreparable scars. Better to be sure than be sorry the rest of one’s life.
RAFAEL R. CASTILLO, MD