Dermatologist and Laser Surgeon, Cutis Skin Studio, Dr. Apratim Goel speaks to Monarose Sheila Pereira about her field. Dermatologist and Laser Surgeon, Cutis Skin Studio, Dr. Apratim Goel speaks to Monarose Sheila Pereira about her field.
What are your qualifications?
I am a Board certified dermatologist. I have done my MBBS, MD (skin) and DNB (skin). I also did several courses and workshops on lasers and injectables in Singapore, Bangkok, Europe and US. My area of interest is aesthetics, lasers, injectables, clinic management and other cosmetic procedures.
Is dermatology and cosmetology doing well in India?
There could not have been better time for aesthetics and cosmetic practice than now. An insatiable media remains fixated on hyping the latest beauty and aesthetic medical breakthrough. The lasers (my primary interest), medical devices and injectables available to rejuvenate skin, as well as to firm and shape face and body, are proven, prevalent and deliver consistent results. People are shying away from surgery as much as possible. The skin is the largest organ of the body. Maintaining a healthy skin is of prime importance. Also we believe that beautiful skin stays in a beautiful mind. The skin is the window of your soul to the world.
Is it easy to establish yourself in this field?
15 years ago, when I passed my dermatology masters, the market was still evolving. I entered dermatology thinking it is something that is easy and non emergency. However the cosmetic boom started almost at the time when I started practicing. Today I feel that it is the best medical super specialty for anyone to work in, especially females. The look-good factor is highest in cosmetic dermatology practice. In the USA, dermatologists are among the highest paid doctors which is evolving in India too. Most students who pursue dermatology want to enter the aesthetic dermatology practice and there is less interest in the practice of AIDS, STD, and Leprosy etc which also come under dermatology.
The price is the biggest challenge, since cheap Chinese machines are available. It is difficult to retain your trained and experienced staff. The moment your staff is trained, some other cheaper unqualified laser centre offers them a better salary and picks them up. Some laser centers provide cheapr treatment and spoil the aesthetic market. Patient education is very important. We get many burn cases from cosmetic centers. Patients are not even aware that laser was used on them. Patients do not know whom to trust. Marketing is a very expensive tool but does not guarantee the authenticity. Anyone can claim anything in advertisements. Professionals must guide their patients to the right specialist in case they do not offer a certain treatment.
What are some of the problems of this profession?
There are many unqualified and untrained people involved in cosmetic practice and they harm the skin and the psyche of innocent patients. Many problems are caused by unqualified beauticians at spas, beauty salons and parlors who misguide their clients and also indulge in cosmetic procedures that they are not qualified to perform.
Since this is a growing field there is a lot of competition. Today anyone can start running aesthetic clinics, and since there is a rapid influx of cheap Chinese technology, starting an aesthetic clinic is very easy. Apart from an in-depth knowledge of the subject, a very important personal quality needed to be a successful aesthetic dermatologist is to be a good communicator and also be well groomed yourself. You need to have a keen sense of grooming, aesthetics, dressing up well and good use of makeup.
What advice do you have for those who want to join this field?
I will say - There are many opportunities for a good career. You just need passion and will-power. I have employed a dermatologist, councilor, BHMS doctors, MBBS doctors, front desk, therapists, managers, centre heads and many more at my clinics. So there is a place for everyone.