The concept of holding an international congress of dermatology began in 1888 when the medical staff of Hôpital Saint-Louis in Paris invited the medical world to an international congress in Paris in 1889. During that meeting, participants decided that in the future an International Congress of Dermatology and Syphilology should be held every third year and that those attending the Congress should choose the location of the next Congress and appoint its President. The President in turn would appoint the Congress organizing committee.
At the 7th Congress, held in Rome in 1911, a proposal was submitted for the founding of an International Society of Dermatology and Syphilology with individual members. The proposal was discussed the following year and statutes were drafted for the establishment of an appropriate structure. Due to the outbreak of World War I, no congresses were held for the next 19 years so the proposal could not be considered until the 8th Congress in 1930 in Copenhagen. Before the Congress, the Danish Organizing Committee asked representatives of different nations to elect delegates to attend a special meeting to discuss the organization of future congresses and the proposal for an international society. There was a great deal of debate regarding organizational matters and it was proposed that a special committee be appointed to study the issues. The proposal was approved by the delegates in principle, and an executive committee of 11 members, led by a President and a Secretary-General, was elected.
During the 9th Congress, 1935, the Committee's proposal for founding a union named "The International League of Dermatological Societies" (ILDS) was approved.
Once again, war intervened and no congresses were held between 1935 and 1952. At the congress in 1952 (London), a meeting attended by 76 national delegates representing 35 countries, confirmed the plan for the formation of the ILDS, with a coordinating International Committee, or Board, (International Committee of Dermatology, ICD) of 12 members. At the 11th Congress, 1957, delegates approved the International Committee's proposal for "rules and regulations", which later became known as By-Laws, for the organization, goals and committees of the ILDS. Although the By-Laws have been amended from time to time to meet new challenges, the goals that were identified in 1957 have remained essentially unchanged.
During the following decades the International Committee of Dermatology continued to be responsible for developing the educational programs of the World Congresses as well as special projects in pursuit of the ILDS objectives. Examples of ICD efforts to achieve ILDS goals include: