The Key Differences Between Cosmetic, Surgical, and Medical Dermatology

There are a lot of differences between cosmetic, medical, and surgical dermatology. Although the differences are sometimes subtle, a skilled southern california cosmetic dermatology expert can make a dramatic impact on patients’ lives. Dermatology is considered one of the many different types of aesthetic medicine. Dermatology is made up of 2 Greek words, the first meaning skin, derma, and the second stemming from logia meaning “the study of”.

Most dermatologists practice more than one type of dermatology to ensure the best results for their patients. Dermatology does not just involve the skin it also includes hair, skin, and lips. If you are confused about the differences here is a brief guide.


Cosmetic dermatology focuses on the aesthetic appearance of the patient. While it may not directly relate to their physical help it can contribute to a better quality of life through emotional well-being and satisfaction about appearance. Some of the issues that cosmetic dermatology treats issues like lines, spots, and wrinkles.

While the practice can sometimes include the use of prescriptions and a variety of medical diagnoses, many of the issues can be solved through relatively non-invasive procedures and the correct over the counter treatments and supplements. While most dermatologists receive at least some training is cosmetic procedures in their education, not all of them get the certification that is required. To practice cosmetic dermatology professionally they must receive board certification.


While cosmetic dermatology focuses largely on issues that affect the appearance, medical dermatology approaches issues to improve the health of the patient. Some of the issues that manifest on the skin stem from problems deeper in the body like autoimmune disorders like Psoriasis. To see a medical dermatologist’s patients must often times receive a referral from their general practitioner.

Most medical dermatologists will practice surgical and cosmetic dermatology, as well as the issues, can often be complex to address. If a patient has an underlying disease that is causing their skin issues a medical dermatologist, the doctor who will most likely diagnose it. Unlike cosmetic dermatology, prescription medication such as pills and creams are often prescribed for the patient.


Surgical Dermatology often goes along with the other types of dermatology, especially in more severe cases. While other types of dermatologists can perform some procedures, a surgical dermatologist must perform any procedure that involves anesthesia or even basic surgery. Some of the issues that surgical dermatologist can address are the removal of moles and skin tumors that are both cancerous or benign.

Like other types of dermatologists, surgical dermatologists must go through an extensive amount of training in order to practice and become board-certified. Over the years the world of surgical dermatology has improved vastly with better healing times and less chance of severe scarring. The advancements in laser and laparoscopic surgery techniques have made quite a difference in the practice. While surgical dermatology procedures used to be extremely daunting and overwhelming for patients, there are much fewer concerns for patients to be worried about now.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *