A look at the past of the medical profession known today as dermatology, including its earliest incarnations in classical cultures, is provided in the following essay.
What’s dermatology about?
It is worth quickly summarising what it really entails before looking at the past of dermatology as a discipline and as a phrase. Dermatology is the branch of medicine connected to the skin in a very fundamental way. As a consequence, it will cover procedures dealing with skin-affecting disorders, tumours, illnesses, allergies and hormone responses, as well as solely aesthetic improvements and/or the removal of ‘blemishes.’ Therefore, those procedures will include fields such as surgery and pathology (diagnosis and treatment of diseases). Dermatologists with more complex names based on their fields of specialisation are considered specialists in the region (e.g., a dermatolopathologist will specialise in dermatolopathology – the pathology of skin).Learn more about us at Dermatology-West Dermatology Encinitas
Despite the fact that skin disorders were handled and accepted over the period of human culture, dermatology as a developed term only came into existence towards the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th century. The coining of the word offered the branch of medicine a standardised name that covered procedures and activities that may have been carrying out for thousands of years. Any of the first mentions of advanced skin care actually date back to the ancient Egyptians. The tales of Cleopatra soaking in ass’s milk are known to all, and the skin symptoms of the lactic acid in the milk are still remembered today. The Egyptians, however, were believed to use other ingredients such as alabaster, oils, and salt to change the colour of their face. Some contaminants have also been added to the skin for medicinal rather than aesthetic uses, with arsenic being used, for example, to cure skin cancers.
The forerunners may also be tracked back to the Egyptians in several other non-invasive dermatological procedures that are still being studied today. In the usage of sandpaper to smooth down rough skin and wounds, methods such as dermabrasion may be found while they also knew the advantages of exposing skin to sunshine (a tradition that persisted across the ages), in their case natural sunlight.
Throughout the ancient period, the aesthetic effects of skin treatments appeared to be appreciated. A combination of substances such as natural oils and resins (e.g. myrrh and frankincense) with pumice was used by the Greek and Roman cultures to smooth and exfoliate the skin. In India, they substituted the natural resins with urine throughout Asia to obtain the same effects and the ancient Turks accomplished their exfoliation very dramatically by simply cutting the flesh.
Modern Dermatology’s Emergence
The term dermatology itself derives from the Greek from first the French dermologie and then the Latinized term dermatologia for ‘face’ derma and ‘to study’ logy. The French were, in reality, early pioneers of the modern field of dermatology, opening the first school at the Hôpital Saint-Louis in Paris in 1801. However, what we now recognise as dermatology can be traced back to Europe in the early 16th century, and most of this early study centred on the application of classical chemicals as well as sunshine in conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.