The COVID pandemic worldwide is unprecedented. We at TWL Skin started our Specialist Dermatology Telemedicine (or ‘teledermatology’ in short) service early in January as an accompaniment to the launch of our online skincare pharmacy Dr.TWL Pharmacy. This turns out to form the bulk of our consultations since COVID affected our sunny Singapore shores in March
As an accredited specialist dermatology clinic by the Ministry of Health, TWL Specialist Skin & Laser Centre helmed by Dr. Teo Wan Lin, remains open as part of an offsite specialist dermatology clinic offering essential medical dermatology care during this pandemic. Since Singapore’s circuit breaker was commenced, and now extended till 1 June 2020, our lives have all changed at least in one way or another. We check in with our dermatologist and medical director Dr. Teo Wan Lin, on how a day in the life of a dermatologist is like in the time of COVID!
How has your daily routine changed? How so in your specialist dermatology practice?
I used to start my day with horse riding at my club, swimming or attending a fencing lesson with my coach. These days, I get up early to garden, I am starting a lot of seedlings and rebooting my hydroponic system to get self-sufficient!
Work wise, I usually start at 10am and that is pretty much the same other than that I work from home most days, seeing patients via our teledermatology service.
My clinic TWL Specialist Skin and Laser Centre is a specialist dermatology practice and our medical dermatology services fall under essential services in this time of the Circuit Breaker. I started teledermatology consultations last month for the safety of our patients and staff. It was timely that we had finally launched the service in January for our overseas patients who had requested for it, and is now available for all our patients with doorstep contactless delivery service of prescription medications. Our online skincare pharmacy Dr.TWL Pharmacy also delivers prescriptive cosmeceuticals by our pharmacist and myself to specific skin concerns such as pigmentation, oily acne prone skin, sensitive skin and eczema.
Tell us more about the “new” day in your specialist dermatology practice?
My new day actually includes a lot more time for self-care! As I am not physically in the clinic other than for urgent procedures, I’ve also had to skip my regular in-clinic laser toning treatments for anti-ageing maintenance regime! I have that extra bit of time though working from home with self care which I believe is absolutely critical in this stay home period, for both our physical and mental wellbeing. So I’m doing my own home facial treatment these days with our medifacial kit, the SilkPeel, which comes with 3 cosmeceutical solutions similar to what we do in our clinic, but for home use!
Mentally, my new day is similar to my usual work day mindset. I am actually a workaholic when it comes to executing my ideas so nothing much has changed from there! I’m definitely spending a lot of time on gardening and researching on the topic of urban farming, which has been my passion for a long time.
I am working with my team at Dr.TWL Biomaterials to bring a portable Aquaponic set up prototype to fruition really soon, to be available for pre-order via our site. This allows breeding of both edible fish like tilapia as well as hydroponic growth of vegetables without the use of chemical solutions but rather fish waste. It’s also in the right direction for sustainability, and this covid pandemic has taught us that self-sufficiency may be a basic need, not just a bonus.
Dr. Teo, do you order your meals in or do you cook?
I cook all my meals usually unless I’m going out over the weekend- before the circuit breaker I had already been having home cooked meals. During the work week I use an electric lunchbox at work which I prepare the night before and simply steam it right at work!
What are you doing now with some extra at-home time?
Work wise, our consultations are fully teledermatology via a secure medical database system, which we make use of to provide top notch specialist dermatology care virtually as we would with any patient face to face. This gives me more control over my time and I am super excited to share that I am starting a personal blog on best skincare and skincare tips as a dermatologist’s guide for the public! I started opera lessons at the beginning of last year. I am practising my all time favourite song now Un Bel Di Vedremo from Madame Butterfly by Puccini, my lessons are now via zoom!
What is the first thing you want to do once this is over?
I can’t wait to start riding again, go for my fencing training, meet all my friends and loved ones. Going for my evening runs with my dog on the polo field, that’s exhilarating for me. Also just seeing patients, the personal touch is so important. That’s exactly why I became a doctor, because I really cherish the human connection and this is something that we clearly took for granted before COVID.