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Doctor Examining Female Patient's Face

Dermatology is the branch of medicine that specializes in the skin, hair and nails, and, just like every other area of medicine, it has a few different subcategories, two of which are cosmetic dermatology and surgical dermatology.


What is the Difference Between Cosmetic and Surgical Dermatology?

Cosmetic dermatology deals with aesthetic skin issues while surgical dermatology deals with skin issues that cannot be treated with medication and require specific surgical techniques. Like cosmetic dermatology, surgical dermatology can also involve just the superficial layers of skin, but it can also extend to the underlying layers of muscle or fat.


What Can Cosmetic Dermatology Treat?

Cosmetic dermatology can be used to treat a variety of common skin flaws, including acne, hyperpigmentation, rosacea, scars and wrinkles. When it comes to wrinkles, cosmetic dermatologists are able to make use of dermal fillers and injectables, such as Botox, which will relax underlying facial muscles to reduce wrinkles. A cosmetic dermatologist can also treat hair loss issues, as well as perform laser hair removal. While most cosmetic dermatologists limit their practice to procedures that are minimally invasive, there are some that will also offer liposuction and facelifts, as these are also cosmetic procedures.


What Can Surgical Dermatology Treat?

Surgical dermatology procedures can include a number of anti-aging treatments, as well as the correction of acne scarring. Surgical dermatologists are also equipped to remove benign growths, such as cysts, fatty tumors, moles and birthmarks. In addition to this, surgical dermatologists also deal with skin cancer, as well as reconstructive plastic surgery, which is often needed after the removal of skin cancers. Thanks to major advancements in the field, the majority of surgical dermatology procedures are minimally invasive, and usually require just local or regional anaesthetic. Recovery periods have also been reduced when compared to recent years, and the effects of each procedure are only improving as surgical techniques become more advanced.


Who Can Visit a Cosmetic or Surgical Dermatologist?

Dermatologists see people of all ages, from newborn babies to the elderly. If you already have an idea of the type of procedure you want or will need, then you will be able to choose the appropriate dermatologist yourself. However, if you are unsure, then a visit to a cosmetic dermatologist is advised, as they will then be able to refer you on to a suitable surgical dermatologist if necessary. Even if you do not feel as though you have a specific skin issue, a visit to a dermatologist once a year is recommended, as they not only need to perform an annual skin cancer screening, but will also be able to diagnose any skin conditions that you may not even have been aware of.

Dermatology is a vast field of medicine, and, when you take into account that your skin is your largest organ, this really is no surprise. Whenever you experience a problem with your skin that does not improve with the use of over-the-counter treatments, a visit to a dermatologist is always recommended, as they are likely to be able to provide you with effective, and instant, relief.

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Woman getting her skin examined by a doctor

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