What’s the Difference Between Medical, Cosmetic, and Surgical Dermatology?

The differences between the various types of dermatology are small, subtle, and important. In an effort to provide the best patient care possible, we have provided an explanation of medical, cosmetic, and surgical dermatology is, so you are not confused on your next trip to the doctor. We here at Elias Dermatology offer all three types, so we are uniquely qualified to elaborate on the differences. Medical Dermatology

The word dermatology has two root words, both from Greek. The first part of the word comes from derma, meaning skin, and the second part of the word comes from logia, in this case meaning study of. Logically it follows that a medical dermatologist is a skin doctor, but their duties encompass so much more. Medical dermatologists are responsible for diagnosing and evaluating diseases of the skin, hair, nails, lips and mouth to improve overall health. Certain conditions are rarely skin-deep, so medical dermatologists must be capable of recognizing skin problems as symptoms of other diseases.

It is rare that a doctor is exclusively a medical dermatologist. Medical dermatology focuses on making you better, and healthier. Dermatologists require board certification to practice, and oftentimes primary care physicians refer patients to dermatologists when they diagnose conditions of the skin. The tools of medical dermatology are medicine and creams. Often, a diagnosis is needed before patients have access to these treatment options.

Cosmetic Dermatology

Just like medical dermatology, cosmetic dermatology centers around the skin, hair, nails, lips and mouth. Distinguishing it from medical dermatology is not difficult, however, when one understands the scope of the two fields: medical dermatology regards health, while cosmetic dermatology is based on aesthetic appeal. Medical dermatology will help you treat your eczema problem, but cosmetic dermatology will help you treat your wrinkles, spots, and lines.

Cosmetic dermatology does involve diagnoses and prescriptions, but often times it does not come to that. There is a litany of creams that can be bought over the counter, and a doctor can point to one of them as opposed to signing a prescription. Many dermatologists receive cosmetic training as part of their education, and cosmetic dermatologists must be board certified just like medical dermatologists. The biggest difference is that medical dermatology is about skin health, whereas cosmetic dermatology focuses on overall beauty.

Surgical Dermatology

Surgical dermatology is not entirely different from either medical dermatology or cosmetic dermatology, and often complements both. If the procedure requires anesthesia or has a knife, it is surgical dermatology. Excising a skin tumors, cancers, and moles are examples of surgical dermatology. Surgical dermatologists are board certified as well!

Dermatological surgery has made leaps and bounds, and now many procedures are minimally invasive. They still require some incisions or injections, but a patient need not worry about it too much.

If you have any questions, please ask us at Elias Dermatology. We are abundantly qualified, and can assist you with any problem that you may have. Come visit us, and we will ensure that you leave completely satisfied with your skin. If you have surgical, medical, or cosmetic needs, it is imperative that you schedule a visit and come in.