Dermatology as presented by television, (particularly “Grey’s Anatomy”) may have you believe it involves drinking raspberries in water, hand massages, and “rubbing lotion on people for a living.”   

Television, particularly medical television, has never been known for its accuracy.

Dermatology is the study of skin and skin appendages. What are skin appendages?: hair, nails, sweat glands and sebaceous glands. A dermatologist deals with a variety of problems ranging from rashes to pigmentation to skin cancer.

Dermatology has a unique position as an intersection between medicine and surgery. A dermatologist’s day involves patients from infancy to the end of life. Many systemic disorders present themselves in the skin. These conditions can be genetic, autoimmune, signs of hormonal imbalance, signs of vitamin deficiency, or even signs of internal tumors. The dermatologist manages many of the conditions alone with a combination of creams, pills, or physical therapies such as light or liquid nitrogen. A dermatologist may remove lesions that range from annoyances to serious skin cancers. Dermatologists deal with a variety of occupational disorders and chronic wounds.

Dermatology, like so many other areas of medicine, is vastly underserviced and wait times across the country can be lengthy. Skin cancer rates are increasing with the aging population and societal attitudes toward tanning. The new division of Dermatology at Queen’s has been established to help address this need.