The following article looks at the history of the medicine field known as dermatology today, including its earliest incarnations in classical cultures.
What exactly is Dermatology?
It is worth briefly summarising what it actually means before looking at the past of dermatology as a discipline and as a term. Dermatology is the field of medicine that applies to the skin in a very fundamental sense. As a consequence, it can include procedures associated with illnesses, tutors, infections, allergies and hormonal responses affecting the skin, as well as strictly cosmetic changes and/or ‘blemish’ care. Therefore, these procedures will include fields such as surgery and pathology (diagnosis and disease treatment). Practitioners in the profession are referred to as dermatologists with more complex names based on their fields of specialisation (e.g., a Dermatol pathologist specialises in dermatopathology-skin disease). Read more about English Dermatology Ahwatukee, Phoenix.
Dermatology as a developed term only came into being at the end of the eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth century despite the fact that skin disorders may have been handled and accepted throughout history. The coining of the word gave a branch of medicine a standardised name that included procedures and activities that would have been practised for thousands of years. Some of the oldest records of advanced skin care reportedly date back to the ancient Egyptians. Everyone knows Cleopatra’s tales of swimming in butt milk, and the effects of lactic acid in milk on the skin are still remembered today. But the Egyptians were known to use other ingredients to change their skin’s appearance, such as alabaster, oils and salt. For medical rather than aesthetic reasons, they have added such chemicals to the skin with arsenic, for example, being used in an effort to cure skin cancers.
It can also date back to the Egyptians the precursors to many other non-invasive dermatological procedures which are still being studied today. In the use of sandpaper to smooth rough skin and scratches, methods such as dermabrasion could be found, though they understood the advantages of exposing skin to light (a practise that persisted through the ages), in their case natural sunlight.
All over the ancient world the aesthetic benefits of skin treatments continued to be accepted. To smooth and exfoliate the skin, the Greek and Roman cultures used a combination of substances like natural oils and resins (e.g., myrrh and frankincense) with pumice.