The Difference Between Cosmetic, Medical, and Surgical Dermatology

Dermatology is the research and treatment of skin in the broadest sense. Not all dermatologists specialize in the same fields, however, nor do all patients need to go to a general dermatologist to get the best results. Cosmetic dermatology, medical dermatology, and surgical dermatology are considered the three main forms of dermatology. This article will attempt to define each of the three styles and clarify what kind of work each type of dermatologist can do on a daily basis.Link West Dermatology San Luis Obispo

Cosmetic Dermatology: This form of dermatology mainly deals with skin’s cosmetic side. Instead of delving into skin care for medical reasons such as skin cancer or rashes, cosmetic dermatologists focus their attention on how the skin looks. Many patients go to cosmetic dermatologists to get rid of unsightly blemishes, uneven skin tone or treatments for anti-aging. Such treatments are usually not protected by the typical health insurance policies, since they are not medically necessary. For many people seeing a cosmetic dermatologist, however, their quality of life will greatly improve.

Medical Dermatology: Perhaps the opposite of cosmetic dermatology is this branch of dermatology. While appearance may play a small role in the field of study, the primary reasons for going to a dermatologist are medical conditions, such as skin cancer or lupus, which manifest in the skin. Patients with rosacea, sun damage, severe rashes and more may also be treated by medical dermatologists. Since this type of dermatologist treats valid medical conditions, health insurance should cover the bulk of treatment costs. Individuals are often recommended to see a professional dermatologist regularly, even if there are no obvious problems to test for elevated skin cancer risks.

Surgical Dermatology: just as the name implies, surgical dermatology refers to the use of surgical procedures to treat skin conditions. In some cases, the surgery may be for cosmetic purposes only, and thus it overlaps with cosmetic dermatology. It refers to procedures such as facelifts or hairline reconstruction, which may in some cases be done by dermatologists rather than plastic surgeons. Nevertheless, in surgical dermatology, it is much more common to refer to treating skin cancer through Mohs surgery. Mohs is a new surgical breakthrough that can treat extremely high success rates for skin cancer, which allows a dermatologist to be specially trained in the technique.

While cosmetic dermatology, medical dermatology, and chirurgical dermatology are all distinct, they sometimes overlap in treatment. For example, a woman who visits her dermatologist for treatment for a painful rash might need both medical and cosmetic aid in reducing pain and at the same time removing the unsightly skin condition.