I was recently asked how someone develops a passion for Dermatology. And for one of the very few times in my life I was a little lost for words. As all the skin conditions I’ve ever experienced flashed before me I realised that a chronic skin issue was much more than just an annoying rash or a bulging pimple, rather they forge a unique and often frustrating relationship with an organ of the body that is mostly overlooked.
And so, Dermatology is about taking care of that relationship, skin counselling if you will – where the physical outer skin is just as important as the being living (or trapped) inside it.
Perhaps I take my passion for skin for granted and assume it’s hard to communicate to those who haven’t suffered any major skin issue, but what I know for sure (thanks Oprah) is that there is something that connects those who have suffered at the hands of acne or psoriasis, dermatitis or eczema, and many other conditions besides; yes, you can see it but we see it more.
Day in, day out, the skin serves up all kinds of problems and the issue with a chronic condition is that this can become exhausting! What then are the mental health implications of, quite literally, living with these conditions? Because it is just that, ‘living’ but living with the skin you’re in and living with a very large creature who although mostly friendly and helpful does not always play ball.
Yes, a good case study will have me teary-eyed at a conference, I’ve wanted to hug many strangers who’ve revealed their skin stories, and I truly wish I could let acne go once and for all. I even tried to run away from my skin – focused firmly on the world of fashion: because if they looked at my clothes they wouldn’t look at my skin, right? – and I thought it was all going so well.
This passion then, has quite literally been bubbling away since birth. A little hard to explain to someone you’ve only just met but more importantly is to be asked what you’ll do with that passion?
What I know is that I enjoy talking about skin, I enjoy learning about skin, and I enjoy listening to the skin stories of others. I hope you will too.