Who is a medical dermatologist?

A general or medical dermatologist is a qualified doctor that specializes in skin, hair and nails. He/ she has studied Medical Dermatology. People see a dermatologist for treatment of many skin conditions, skin cancer, acne, rashes, warts, cysts, boils, eczema, and rosacea. A family physician can often recommend to see a dermatologist for their specialized services and they will have to be seen by the patient in their private clinic. Everyone should see a medical dermatologist once a year for skin cancer or precancerous skin lesions.

Job responsibilities of a dermatologist include:

  • diagnosing conditions such as acne, dandruff, athlete’s foot, and psoriasis.
  • recommending skin care products to increase their patients’ chances of recovering and healing.
  • remaining updated on the latest skincare treatments, both topical and surgical.
  • utilizing tools such as dermoscopes to get a close look at pigmented lesions of the skin.

Who is a cosmetic dermatologist?

Cosmetic dermatology is a growing specialty for treating patients who want to look better but do not have a medical reason to do so. Cosmetic dermatologist work with patients to alter the look of their bodies and face. Such doctors treat patients for aesthetic reasons such as smoothing wrinkles, correcting skin tone and texture, and tightening up sagging skin or dealing with the bones in the face and skull, performing liposuction. They also perform facelifts, rhinoplasty, and even breast augmentations with an emphasis on elective surgery.

Job responsibilities of a cosmetic surgeon include:

  • following current and established medical techniques for surgery.
  • learning a patient’s medical history, medical allergies, and any preexisting health conditions to ensure the patient is healthy enough for surgery.
  • discussing with the patient the risks of undergoing an operation.
  • prescribing treatments, such as antibiotics, for patients before and after a procedure.

Difference between a dermatologist and cosmetic dermatologist

Dermatologists primarily use only lotions, cleansers and creams for the treatment of patients, while cosmetic surgeons may use scalpels, saws and lasers to cut skin and bone. Dermatologists will use a wide range of refined techniques to remedy various medical problems regarding skin conditions, including surgery, laser and light therapy, cryotherapy, and medicines to be applied to the skin or taken orally. While a cosmetic dermatologist is a trained dermatologist with further experience in cosmetic procedures, such as removing benign moles, treating sun spots or pigmentation, facial redness, and acne scarring. A cosmetic dermatologist can also provide anti-aging treatments. A deep knowledge of skin grafts and free tissue transfers is necessary for cosmetic dermatologist to be successful.

Cosmetic dermatology is not protected by most insurance policies because the motives for cosmetic surgery are purely superficial–based on a desire rather than a necessity. The healthcare industry and insurance companies consider medical dermatology to be distinct from cosmetic dermatology, as it is intended to treat a health problem or accident. It is medically necessary, and therefore it is generally covered by insurance. Because of all of the insurance and governmental paperwork required with medical dermatology, it requires a larger office staff to process insurance and other paperwork. In cosmetic dermatology the patient pays out-of-pocket, so there are no insurance forms for the practice to fill out – which also requires fewer people to be on the office staff.

It is always important to choose the right and experienced dermatologist based on our needs and wants, as one wrong move can cause hazardous and permanent troubles to one’s skin, hair or nails.