The importance of gender equality in dermatology
Today’s report covers new research into gender disparities in dermatology as well as studies of atopic dermatitis and adult acne (1050 words, 5 minutes 30 seconds)
Women in Dermatology is supported by an unrestricted grant from Galderma Canada.
Good morning and welcome to the third edition of the Women in Dermatology e-newsletter from Chronicle Companies. We are very happy to have you join us. Every two weeks, this publication will provide you with updates on new findings regarding dermatologic issues that affect women and the female dermatologists who care for them. We welcome your feedback and opinions, so let us know if you have any comments, observations or suggestions. You can email them to us at email@example.com
The Covid-19 pandemic drastically changed every aspect of life, including dermatology practice. According to a recent cross-sectional survey published in the International Journal of Dermatology on October 27th, 2021, the increasing use of telemedicine during the pandemic has significantly impacted the specialty with a particular effect on female dermatologists, especially on those who are mothers.
This survey aimed to study the work practices and work-life balance during Covid-19 among dermatologists. To provide better and more accurate insights, the paper broke the findings down by gender.
Out of a total of 197 survey respondents, 144 were women, and 169 were dermatology attendings. The practice settings were found to be primarily private and in urban areas. The majority of the participants were married and spent more time working from home. Also, 36% reported having children younger than 18.
Most dermatologists worked between 30 and 50 hours per week in-person before the pandemic but no more than 20 hours per week during the Covid-19 pandemic. Approximately 78.2% used telemedicine during the pandemic. Close to 75.1% of the survey’s respondents planned to return to their prior in-person schedule, and 22.8% planned on continuing doing partial telemedicine after the pandemic.
Of dermatologists with children, 71% cited daycare and school as their primary forms of childcare before the pandemic. During the pandemic, 72.5% stated that they spent more time engaged in childcare and 33.9% that childcare affected their ability to work. This had a significantly higher impact on females versus males.
The study concludes that the Covid-19 pandemic had a mixed effect on work-life balance, but had a significant negative impact on dermatologists who are parents, with mothers being disproportionately affected compared to fathers. The survey also found that female dermatologists with extensive parenting responsibilities may not be able to attain a more satisfactory work-life balance through telemedicine due to increased familial duties and school and daycare closures.
From the literature on women in dermatology
Gender disparity in dermatologic society leadership: A global perspective
Women's representation in medicine has risen significantly. Despite this progress, women continue to be underrepresented in positions of medical leadership. A study published in the International Journal of Women's Dermatology examined this gender disparity in the leadership of professional societies of dermatology worldwide. To do so, researchers used online databases as well as individual society websites. They also collected data from 92 countries, with 1,733 society leaders identified.
According to the study’s findings, women constitute a minority in dermatology professional society leadership throughout North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and the Middle East. In contrast, women make up a slight majority in South America, Central America, and Africa. Additionally, men were more likely than women to hold the position of president in all professional societies and, female leaders were less likely to hold concurrent academic positions as deans, chairpersons or directors.
Association between prenatal exposure to metals and atopic dermatitis in children
Prenatal exposure to arsenic and other metals is associated with the occurrence of atopic dermatitis in young children, according to a study conducted in Taiwan and published by JAMA Network.
In this cohort study of 586 mother-child pairs, prenatal arsenic exposure was linked to nearly 2.4 times the incidence of atopic dermatitis in children at age four. Additionally, combined exposure to arsenic and cadmium was also linked to a higher risk of developing atopic dermatitis. These findings imply that avoiding inorganic arsenic and cadmium exposure during pregnancy may lower the incidence of atopic dermatitis and other allergy disorders in children.
Worsening of atopic dermatitis during pregnancy is uncommon
According to a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, worsening of atopic dermatitis (AD) during pregnancy is uncommon but could be associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
The study involved 211 women with AD. Among the participants, 68 (32.2%) reported a prior pregnancy and only 12 (17.7%) of them stated that they experienced AD worsening while pregnant. Worsening of AD severity during pregnancy was also more common in women who also experienced PMS compared with patients who did not experience PMS.
Adult female acne: A cross-sectional study
A study published in the International Journal of Women's Dermatology evaluated the role of diet, body mass index (BMI), premenstrual flare, and family history of acne as risk factors and causes of the severity of adult female acne (AFA). This was a prospective, cross-sectional, case-control study of 112 women aged 25 years or older. The women were clinically evaluated and sociodemographic data, as well as dietary habits, were documented.
The researchers found that diet and BMI do not appear to be risk factors for AFA, but a family history of acne is. They also found that the severity of AFA appears to be independent of premenstrual flares, diet, BMI, and a family history of acne.
Two women with scleroderma talk about their experiences
An interview published on the site Scleroderma News provides insights into the lives of two women, Susan Okuno and Kelly Clemeshaw, living with scleroderma. Okuno, a 64-year-old retired social worker, was diagnosed with diffuse scleroderma at age 50; and Clemeshaw, a 46-year-old former teacher, was diagnosed with diffuse scleroderma at age 19.
The interview describes some of the challenges that both women face while living with this chronic autoimmune disease but also emphasizes the resilience of both women. Okuno and Clemeshaw conclude that while every scleroderma journey is unique, remaining active and keeping a positive attitude is important.
Coming Up in Women in Derm
November 10 → Women’s Dermatologic Society’s International Networking Event
The next two weeks
November is Woman Abuse Prevention Month
Something to think about in the week ahead
“I believe in a team-based approach to skin care that encompasses the procedures and expertise of the dermatologist with the skills of the aesthetician, a trained professional who can spend one full hour treating patients with active OTC ingredients. Today’s skincare has the power to transform and I find that aestheticians when properly trained are powerful educators, personal trainers and skin therapists.”.
— Alicia Barba, MD, Dermatologist, Miami, Fla.