PARIS – Widening access to skin care expertise, especially for people in underserved areas, is key to the future of dermatology, according to Myriam Cohen-Welgryn, global president of L’Oréal’s Dermatological Beauty Division.
That division wants to “pioneer life-changing and sustainable dermatological solutions. It’s really the life-changing part of it that counts here, because you see people who are affected in their quality of life,” she said in an interview prior to setting off to the World Congress of Dermatology.
The event takes place every four years, and the latest session is in Singapore, from July 3 to 8. It counts around 12,000 delegates from more than 120 countries and has as its theme “dermatology beyond borders.”
At the congress, L’Oréal has just presented two major studies that could influence future focuses in the field, both in practice and in product development.
One study was carried out by the group’s La Roche-Posay brand on pigmentation disorders, or PDs. It is billed to be the first global epidemiological study of its kind, surveying 48,000 people.
Findings showed that such disorders are widespread, with 50 percent of the population having at least one. They also revealed that disorders greatly impact people’s quality of life, often leading to stigmatization. Among respondents, 44 percent with a PD said they have hidden or concealed visible sections of their affected skin, and 32 percent have avoided other people because of their disorders.
Vichy Laboratories, another L’Oréal-owned brand, ran a large-scale study on how hormones impact skin and scalp health, and also explored their link to wellbeing. It surveyed 20,000 women in 20 countries, with all skin types and ages. People shared information on how cycle irregularity, post-partum and perimenopause can impact self-perception of skin and scalp disorders, and affect wellbeing.
Seventy-two percent of women said such hormonal variations had a negative influence on their wellbeing. Sixty-one percent said skin issues can be present or worsen at certain times during their cycle, and 75 percent said skin problems are present or worsen during their periods.
“Hormonal impacts are very important, and they are little studied,” said Cohen-Welgryn. “What we want is to step change that, and to bring our contribution and our knowledge of that subject.”
It involves working with other dermatologists on how to mitigate the issues that surfaced in the two studies.
To that end, L’Oréal has teamed with the International League of Dermatological Studies and WDC to award five dermatologists a grant of 20,000 euros each to work on access to skin health. This is the fourth time the grants have been given.
The dermatologists focus on prevention, education or improving quality of life and wellbeing.
“They [can] also work on access to skin health in remote areas,” said Cohen-Welgryn. “The idea is to reward dermatologists who are paving the way to make this dream a reality.”
Laureates included Marlous Grijsen, who is improving access to skin care via teledermatology in eastern Indonesia. Wendemagegn Enbiale Yeshaneh is bettering access to services for patients with podoconiosis, a form of elephantiasis, and cutaneous leishmaniasis, a skin infection caused by sand flies, in the Amhara region of Ethiopia.
L’Oréal’s Dermatological Beauty Division also aims to give people access to skin health through affordable products and benevolent activities and programs.
At the congress, CeraVe has unveiled “Care for All,” a brand cause aimed at providing access to dermatological care in underserved communities worldwide. For that project, CeraVe is collaborating with Gloderm, the International Alliance of Global Health Dermatology, to codevelop a mentorship program that trains dermatologists to better skin health access.
The goal is to train, support and empower 100,000 dermatology healthcare professionals by 2030.
Another way to democratize skin health is through telemedicine, or medical care provided remotely using voice and visual communications.
“That is a potential key element to reduce the barrier to care,” said Cohen-Welgryn. “You also have smart services that allow for skin diagnosis and to improve the observance of treatment.”