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Skin guard

A branch of medicine, dermatology deals with the skin and its diseases. This specialty involves both medical and surgical interventions to treat disorders of the skin, hair, nails, and mucous membranes.

education Updated: Jan 15, 2013 17:30 IST

The lowdown

A branch of medicine, dermatology deals with the skin and its diseases. This specialty involves both medical and surgical interventions to treat disorders of the skin, hair, nails, and mucous membranes. So, from acne to genetic disorder to something as serious as skin cancer, a dermatologist could be called upon to cure all kinds of ailments. Since people’s outer appearance has become all-important today, there’s an increasing demand for cosmetic cures, which include smoothening of facial wrinkles, filling up scars, lifting droopy brow lines, de-fuzzing underarms and, at times, even removing tattoos. Basically, dermatologists are helping minimise the tell-tale signs of ageing. Most of them are also these days opting to branch out to cosmetic dermatology, where the money is good. In cosmetology, people go in for treatment to look younger, and knowledge of lasers, fillers, and botox use are necessary requirements

An average day of a dermatologist:
8am: Academic session which includes seminars, journal club and case presentation
9am: See patients in OPD/ward work. Do surgery. Perform small diagnostic tests for patients. Review the in-patients department
1.45pm: Grab a quick bite for lunch
2pm - 5pm: Attend clinic and check cases of psoriasis, vitiligo, leprosy eczemas, Atopic dermatitis and other diseases.
6pm - 8pm: In OPD, work generally gets over by 6pm but in the ward it can extend up to 9pm - 9.30pm

The payoff
In a Central government hospital, a fresh MD in dermatology makes about Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 60,000 (gross salary) per month. A professor/department head and director in a renowned institute can earn about Rs. 1.5 lakh per month. In the private sector, the pay package depends on proficiency as well as on man-hours and is generally above Rs. 25,000 per month

* Aesthetic sense
* Counselling skills for dealing with patients
* Skilled hands for surgery
* Lots of patience is a must for this profession
* Soft, sympathetic approach to patients

Getting there
Opt for science with physics, chemistry and biology in Class 12. Follow an MBBS degree with one of the options — a three-year MD programme in dermatology, venereology and leprosy or a two- year diploma course in dermatology, venereology and leprosy; do a house job, clear the primary exam of the National Board of Examination and then get a diplomate of the National Board of Medical Examinations (DNB) degree in dermatology which is a three-year programme; do a house job, earn a diploma in dermatology and then complete a two-year DNB programme

Institutes and URLs
* All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi
* Christian Medical College, Vellore
* Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi
* Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh
* Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education & Research (JIPMER), Puducherry
* Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute
* Madras Medical College, Chennai
* Sriram Chandra Bhanj Medical College, Cuttack

Pros and cons
* No lengthy surgical procedures
* A ‘women-friendly’ specialisation, as you do not handle emergencies as in other specialties
* Most unexpected and unwanted results tend to improve with time

Dermatologists strive to keep the skin both symptom-free and disease-free with varying degrees of success. We are getting better and better with time -- CR Srinivas, president, Indian Association of Dermatologists, Venereologists and Leprologists