Dermatology is a medical-surgical field that diagnoses and treats skin, hair, nail and mucosal diseases, as well as sexually transmitted diseases. Correction of appearance disorders is also covered by this specialty.

Dermatology is divided into several sub-specialties: General and Surgical Dermatology, Cutaneous Oncology, Pediatric Dermatology, Cutaneous Allergology, Dermatological Mycology and Dermocosmetic.

Daily and throughout life the skin, the largest organ of the human body, acts as a protective barrier against various influences of the environment and is therefore of enormous importance. In addition, it also has as essential function the thermal regulation of the body and is responsible for the sensory functions.

The history of dermatology in Portugal dates back to 1504, when a law on the All Saints Royal Hospital in Lisbon created the House of Buboes in order to provide assistance to patients with venereal disease.

Since then dermatology has seen innovation, rigour and professionalism from all those who have contributed to it. In 1911, higher education reform led to the creation of the Faculties of Medicine in Lisbon, Porto and Coimbra, which started teaching the specialisms of dermatology and syphiligraphy.

In 1936, Luís Alberto de Sá Penella founded the Portuguese Society of Dermatology and Venereology (22 May 1936).

The Edol Laboratory, an exclusively Portuguese-owned company since 1952, also owes its name to the partnership it has since maintained with this specialism (EDOL – Dermatology and Ophthalmology Company of Lisbon).

Note: Historical data adapted from: Cristiana Bastos (coordinator); Clínica, Arte e Sociedade – A Sífilis no Hospital do Desterro e na Saúde Pública; ICS – Imprensa de Ciências Sociais; 1ª Edição; outubro 2011.