What is Cosmetic Dermatology?
Cosmetic dermatology might be defined as that aspect of the practice of dermatology that emphasizes looking at best. While cutaneous medicine and surgery focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of skin disease, there is a significant aspect of the specialty directed towards improving the patient’s appearance.
The term “cosmetic dermatologist” often causes confusion. To understand this term, It helps to know that all dermatologists receive training in:
- Medical Dermatology: Diagnose, treat, and prevent diseases that affect the skin, hair and nails.
- Dermatology: Diagnose diseases that affect the skin, hair, and nails by removing a sample and examining the sample with a microscope.
- Surgical dermatology: Treat diseases that affect the skin, hair, and nails by using a surgical procedure.
- Cosmetic dermatology: Treat the skin, hair, or nails using a treatment that is meant to improve a patient’s appearance rather than treat a disease.
Many dermatologists perform all of the above. Examples of treatments dermatologists perform that fall into the area of cosmetic dermatology include:
- Surgery to diminish acne scars.
- Injecting fillers and botulinum toxins to give an aging face a more youthful appearance.
- Laser surgery to diminish or remove small veins, age spots, tattoos, or wrinkles.
Because of their unique training, dermatologists have the medical knowledge and skills necessary to safely perform many cosmetic procedures.
This concept is illustrated by two patients (Example)
- The man with significant psoriasis who tolerates the distracting itching and even associated joint pain, but who is embarrassed to be seen with red, scaling plaques on the arms and face.
- The woman who has ignored the signs of skin cancer and then fears having surgical intervention which might leave a scar and even disfigurement.
Patients who seek relief from worry lines or acne scars are obviously cosmetic patients. Other patients who have medical skin problems may also have cosmetic concerns. All of them want to look good and are part of the practice of cosmetic dermatology.
What it takes to become a cosmetic dermatologist
One can practice cosmetic dermatology by becoming a dermatologist. To become a dermatologist requires many years of education. A person must successfully complete:
- College, earning a bachelor’s degree.
- Medical school, becoming a medical doctor (MD) or doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO).
- Internship, 1 year.
- Residency program in dermatology, at least 3 years.
After becoming a dermatologist, some doctors choose to continue their medical education. This advanced education is called a fellowship. A fellowship in procedural dermatology or cosmetic/aesthetic dermatology provides advanced surgical training.
A fellowship in procedural dermatology usually takes one year to complete. It includes training in medical and cosmetic surgery. During this fellowship, a dermatologist may develop advanced skills in:
- Mohs (pronounced “Moses”) surgery, specialized treatment for skin cancer.
- Reconstructive surgery to treat wounds caused by surgery to remove skin cancer.
- Injection of fillers and botulinum toxins.
- Sclerotherapy (treatment for veins).
- Chemical peels.
- Hair transplantation.
- Tumescent liposuction (removes a small amount of fat while the patient remains awake).
- Laser surgery.
Because dermatologists know so much about cosmetic surgery, they have made important contributions to this area of medicine. Dermatologists developed:
- Tumescent liposuction, which greatly improves patient safety.
- A way to transplant hair that gives patients a natural-looking hairline.
- Advances in the use of many lasers.
- Improvements in the use of fillers and botulinum toxins.
Doctors who do not receive training in cosmetic procedures during their residency also offer cosmetic procedures. Even estheticians offer cosmetic procedures. It is important to know that the quality and safety of the procedure depend largely on the skill of the person performing the procedure. To learn more about cosmetic treatment.
Cosmetic Dermatology is fast becoming an integral part of the management of clinical dermatology. In addition to chemical peels to treat facial hyperpigmentation and age spots, we offer Microdermabrasion to treat the aftermath of acne and chickenpox, with excellent results. We also offer electro-epilation & laser for permanent reduction of unwanted hair.
Cosmetic Dermatologist: Job Duties
A cosmetic Dermatologist requires significant formal education. Learn about the degree programs, job duties, and licensure to see if this is the right career for you.
Cosmetic dermatology is a subfield of dermatology that serves individuals with aesthetic concerns. Cosmetic dermatologists provide medical and surgical treatments to people with problems such as bacterial or fungal infections, aging, acne, allergic reactions, unwanted hair, benign skin growths, and uneven skin pigmentation.
They need to have completed medical or osteopathy school, hold a medical license to practice, and have completed at least four years of additional training. Many also become board certified as dermatologists.
|Required Education||Doctore of Medicine or Osteopathy degree,plus four years of clinical training and a residency|
|Licensing||All States require licensing|
|Projected Job Growth(2012-2022)||18 % for all physicians and surgeons|
Some of the factors that damage the skin are stress, fluctuating hormone levels, too much sun exposure, unhealthy lifestyle, underlying medical conditions, and aging. Cosmetic dermatologists offer consultation, diagnosis, and treatment to patients who are interested in improving their skin condition.
The procedures and services that cosmetic dermatologists use – such as Botox injections, laser hair removal, skin tightening, chemical peels, Sclerotherapy, collagen fillers, and Microdermabrasion may lead to revitalized, blemish-free skin. There are also cosmetic dermatologists who specialize in areas such as hair loss, hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating), or laser tattoo removal.
Aside from performing common or specialized cosmetic procedures, cosmetic dermatologists may contribute to scientific research in hospitals and universities. They seek to find intervention for skin cancer, accelerated aging, and other skin infections by examining cellular and genetic components that may contribute to skin problems and studying molecular biology. Furthermore, their research finding aid in the development of safe, new products and technologies for skin enhancement.