World Congress of Dermatology 2023

Published: 21 September 2023

5 Mins Read

The 25th edition of the World Congress of Dermatology (WCD) was held in Singapore and Southeast Asia for the first time from 3 to 8 July 2023. The largest medical congress the country has ever hosted, WCD 2023 gathered 12,037 attendees from 150 countries and territories. 

World Congress of Dermatology 2023

Held at Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre and Pan Pacific Singapore, the WCD has been a crucial global platform for advancing dermatology for over 130 years. This year’s event was hosted by the Dermatological Society of Singapore (DSS) under the auspices of the International League of Dermatological Societies (ILDS) and supported by the National Skin Centre and the Skin Research Institute of Singapore.

Themed “Dermatology Beyond Borders: Science, Care, Communities”, WCD 2023 aimed to enhance cooperation across geographic, political, and economic borders to improve skin health for all. As the first WCD held in the region, the congress also focused on pertinent issues such as neglected tropical skin diseases and diseases in skin of colour.

On the factors that made Singapore a choice destination, Professor Roy Chan, Senior Consultant and Medical Advisor at the National Skin Centre, Singapore, and President of the 25th World Congress of Dermatology, said: “Singapore is a hub for biomedical sciences and a central location in the Indo-Pacific area. Our island-state also offers ease of connectivity through air routes, and has world-class conference infrastructure. The wide range of cultural experiences and attractions is a bonus for participants too.” 

Fuelling innovation to achieve inclusive impact 

Attended by clinicians, scientists, researchers, and other professionals in related disciplines, the WCD plays a vital role in promoting advancements in dermatology, addressing global health challenges related to skin diseases, and improving patient care on an international scale. To make the WCD a truly global meeting, the organisers ensured diversity and inclusivity in the selection of chairs, co-chairs, speakers, session topics, and moderators. The number and proportion of chairs and cochairs of symposia who come from the Asia-Pacific, South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa doubled compared to WCD2019. 

Across six days, the WCD held 208 symposia sessions, 15 keynote plenaries, and a wide range of scientific sessions spanning debates, courses, and expert forums. These covered a vast spectrum of topics on skin health, from psoriasis, skin cancers, pathology, and infections to aesthetic and procedural dermatology. Speakers also presented the latest advances in diagnostics and therapeutics, offering a glimpse into the future of the field. 

World Congress of Dermatology 2023

Another key feature of WCD was the exhibition area which showcased 106 exhibitor booths. Among them were 18 major sponsors, including global pharmaceutical and cosmetics companies such as Galderma, L’Oréal, Pfizer, Pierre Fabre, and Sanofi.

“The scientific programme is remarkable for its breadth and depth, encompassing all clinical areas in dermatology in a systematic way,” said Prof Chan. The event’s highlights included recent scientific breakthroughs that offer new hope to patients, such as a new treatment for alopecia areata, a common form of autoimmune hair loss; and advancements in the treatment of eczema, a condition that affects one in five children.

World Congress of Dermatology 2023

To support innovation, talent development and promote inclusion, WCD 2023 had a scholarship programme that benefitted over 1,200 recipients. The scholarship assisted young dermatologists and dermatologists-in-training from around the world to attend the congress, with four out of five recipients coming from low and lower-middle income countries.

WCD, in partnership with L’Oréal and ILDS, also presented five laureates the International Award for Social Responsibility in Dermatology and a €20,000 grant each to fund their high-impact projects. In Asia Pacific, the grant recipient was Dr. Marlous Grijsen from Indonesia’s Oxford University Clinical Research Unit. With this funding, she will continue to improve access to skin care through teledermatology in Indonesia’s remote and economically underdeveloped areas.

“These areas have a high burden of skin diseases but it’s not within the medical curricula of the frontline health care workers there. This award will empower them to learn skills about diagnosing and managing such diseases. So far, our project has benefitted over 10,000 people in two years, and I’m so glad for this wonderful opportunity to continue this cause,” said Dr Grijsen.

The WCD’s support of cutting-edge research and groundbreaking projects show how a global congress of this scale continues to leave an enduring impact long after its conclusion.

Green is the new standard

World Congress of Dermatology 2023

One prominent feature of the event was its extensive sustainability measures—even the event stands were made of recyclable cardboard. Conference materials were digitised to conserve resources. “Any big gathering requires us to think about our impact,” Prof Chan emphasised. “We also advised participants to bring their own bottles to minimise disposable plastic waste,” he said.

Other initiatives included preparing 12,000 pre-loaded transport cards for participants to encourage the use of public transport during their stay. The organisers also worked with Divert for 2nd Life to manage the leftover food from the congress’ official events, and organised a fundraising campaign in support of the local charity, Garden City Fund.

A multicultural night to remember

World Congress of Dermatology 2023

On the second last night of the congress, guests enjoyed a gala dinner and a lion dance performance at the beautiful Gardens by the Bay. Dinner was served street food style, showcasing Singapore’s local delights and the region’s rich flavours. Equally unforgettable were the performances by the dermatologists themselves – doctors from seven Southeast Asian countries, including Singapore, put up amazing tributes to their cultures.

The WCD’s efforts to represent diverse cultures were well appreciated. “The welcome reception was very good. The opening prayer was in Sanskrit, my language, and there was even Indian dance,” said Professor Ramesh Bhat M, the first elected Indian International Director in the history of ILDS, and the Professor and Vice Dean of Father Muller Medical College, Mangaluru.

As the night came to an end, guests admired the solar-powered drone show and a breathtaking Supertree light show that undoubtedly left them with cherished memories of WCD 2023.

World Congress of Dermatology 2023

Key Event Facts



symposia, 53 sponsored sessions, and 15 keynote speakers



abstracts accepted



attendees from 150 countries and territories


exhibitor booths

Video Highlights