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Skin Is In

NewannaAnna Burkhead -- Serpiginous. Violaceous. Herpetiform.

Who else gets to use words like this on a regular basis?

Dermatology is skin medicine. Dermatologists see patients with diseases they cannot hide. While the majority of skin conditions seen and treated by dermatologists are not life-threatening, they are damaging to self-esteem, relationships, and overall health status.

(Although, as a side note, I would like to reference the article “Psoriasis: the heart of the matter”, in the March 2008 issue of Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, which describes the relationship between psoriasis and heart disease: “The degree of risk for myocardial infarction conferred by severe psoriasis was similar in magnitude to that of other major cardiovascular risk factors such as diabetes.”)

But besides being an important medical field in terms of prevalence of disease and patient-centered outcomes, dermatology is just plain awesome for many reasons.

1. You get to see people from newly out of the womb to nearly in the grave.

2. Teaching prevention is super important.

3. You get to practice medicine ranging from primary care to emergency to surgery.

4. Instead of boring color names, you say “violaceous”, “erythematous”, “honey-colored”, “dusky”.

5. You get to do biopsies and surgical excisions pretty much every day.

6. When you help people, they can see and feel the improvement.

7. Your eventual career path can range anywhere from private practice cosmetic procedures to caring for HIV and transplant immunosuppressed patients and their myriads of skin problems.

As you can tell, I am very much enjoying my elective in Dermatology. Skin is in, and I’m stuck on it!

June 23, 2008 in Anna Burkhead | Permalink


"surgery?" dermatologists don't do surgery - they remove moles - 3rd year medical students can do that. dermatologists are extremely important...they make sure that american teenagers have clear skin, and thus a good self esteem. no reason to sugarcoat reality here.

Posted by: paulery | Jun 25, 2008 11:33:14 AM

Appreciate the comment! It's definitely a common misconception that all dermatologists do is take care of "american teenagers" with acne, and remove moles. But the reality is that dermatologists take care of all age ranges with a huge variety of chronic, debilitating skin conditions. Some dermatologists do fellowships in Mohs Surgery, which is most definitely "surgery", with multiple excisions, correlation with path, and reconstruction. You can check out http://www.mohssurgery.org/ for some good info. As you can see, I'm on a mission to "un-sugarcoat" reality, and let everyone know what academic dermatologists REALLY do.

Posted by: Anna | Jun 25, 2008 3:50:45 PM

Hey Paulery,
I really need to back Anna here. My fourth year of med school was rudely interrupted by a melanoma - making me the receipient of a dermatologist's "surgery". A general surgeon and a plastic surgeon were also on the team (and I'm thankful for it) but compared to the dermatologist's role their's was minor. I certainly was not able to do the work, even if I am capable of cutting out a mole... I can also attest to the fact that the other patients in the waiting room were NOT teenagers hoping to clear up their acne, but people with very real, very visible problems (like Anna pointed out). A good dermatologist is an essential member of many a good medical team: my mother (a rheumatologist) rues the fact that they are so hard to find and that they tend to be very, very busy - more so than some of the other "more important" specialities.

Posted by: Elsje | Jun 27, 2008 2:08:36 AM

Hi Paulery,
I'm glad you pointed out that dermatologists work with acne and help teenagers to have a higher self esteem. while your statement true, they work with tons of other conditions in different age groups. Some conditions are manifestations of chronic illnesses and very important to every patient. Many skin conditions might not be life threatening, but they certainly lower the quality of life with pain, appearance, and many other reasons. I hope you feel that improving the quality of patient's life is an important part of health care.

Posted by: sunny | Jul 1, 2008 5:00:00 PM

skin is the largest organ in the body , unfortunatly almost all dermatologist worldwide are failed to reach there best in managing the common dermatology condition e.g. acne !! with poor outcome.
I certainly agree with my colege Paulery .

Posted by: NAT | Jul 3, 2008 5:44:14 PM

Skin is cool and more diverse than some people think, but don't fool yourself and think it's primary care! Stay enthusiastic though, that's a great quality.

Posted by: FP Doc | Jul 6, 2008 11:39:26 AM

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Posted by: fgerth | May 21, 2009 8:45:43 AM

There is no greater joy in life than helping a fellow human being and bring them to a level of comfort and happiness...

Posted by: Fritz | Dec 15, 2009 3:23:20 AM

Interesting blog. It would be great if you can provide more details about it. Thanks a lot!

Posted by: laser tattoo removal Seattle | Nov 4, 2011 12:26:30 AM

I had bad skin when I was in my teenage years, and uhh, it was such a downer. But after a special treatment from my derma, my skin got better. And the best part about this is that I got my self-esteem back.

Posted by: Sabrina Moore | Jan 19, 2012 12:47:43 PM

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