What is a Cosmetic Dermatologist?

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Wanting your skin to look its best is nothing to be ashamed of these days. Many choose to care for their skin to achieve aesthetically-pleasing and beautiful results. A cosmetic dermatologist is an expert you should be going to if you’re also thinking the same but what is a cosmetic dermatologist, exactly?

A cosmetic dermatologist is a board-certified skin doctor that focuses on the skin’s physical appearance and aesthetics. They specialize in addressing a patient’s wants and desires. They can help anyone achieve physical and beauty enhancements.

Cosmetic dermatologists are more than just skin experts. They offer a wide variety of treatments and procedures to help patients achieve their goals.

In this article, we’ll go into detail on what exactly a cosmetic dermatologist is and what one does. We’ll also briefly go over the procedures and treatments you can expect from them and compare their practice to similar professionals.

What is a Cosmetic Dermatologist?

The skin is the largest organ of our body. It’s our number one defense against diseases, injuries, and foreign objects.

Over the last ten years, there has been exponential growth in nonsurgical and minimally invasive cosmetic procedures.

Dermatology is the area of medicine with a focus on the skin and the medical conditions surrounding and affecting it. Medical dermatology deals with various skin diseases and conditions including suspicions of skin cancer. The doctors and specialists in this field are called dermatologists.

Cosmetic dermatology is a subspecialty within the area of dermatology. Whereas dermatology focuses on skin medical conditions, cosmetic dermatology focuses on the aesthetics of the skin.

A cosmetic dermatologist focuses on the aesthetics of the skin and on the skin’s cosmetic aspect. They can do everything a dermatologist can do but has a focus on the physical appearance of your skin.

A cosmetics dermatologist is the expert to go to when you want to enhance how your skin looks or address some forms of skin imperfections. These imperfections affect how your skin looks and appears, but are not a threat to your or your skin’s health. They can also address nail, hair, and other skin concerns.

Cosmetic dermatologists are skin doctors whose main goal is to help patients with physical and beauty enhancements.

You can typically see cosmetic dermatologists at dermatology clinics or medical spas.

Cosmetic Dermatology Education, Training, and Qualifications

A cosmetic dermatologist is a medical doctor for the skin. This means they undergo the same extensive education and training as general medical doctors.

To be a cosmetic dermatologist, someone must first get a bachelor’s degree. After that, comes medical school next.

After graduating from medical school, they need to complete an accredited residency program in dermatology. This includes one year of internship and another three of residency.

To practice in the dermatology field, they need to pass the medical licensing exam, then be certified by the American Board of Dermatology or the American Osteopathic Board of Dermatology.

When they become board-certified dermatologists, they can choose to go into practice. But if they choose to focus on the aesthetics of dermatology, many often pursue additional education and training in cosmetic procedures.

Why People See a Cosmetic Dermatologist: All the Benefits

Going to a dermatology clinic to see a cosmetic dermatologist isn’t actually necessary. After all, they deal with the skin’s appearance and aesthetics instead of more pressing skin issues and concerns.

Now you might be wondering why people see a cosmetic dermatologist. Here are some of the main reasons why so many people get up to see a cosmetic dermatologist:

  • To correct skin uneven skin tone, hyperpigmentation, discoloration, and brown spots;
  • To address skin aging concerns and to bring back firm and youthful skin;
  • To reduce the appearance of scars, birthmarks, fine lines, and wrinkles;
  • To address and get rid of acne;
  • To enhance their natural features;
  • To get rid of unwanted body hair;
  • To address hair loss and alopecia; and
  • To enhance the skin’s appearance and aesthetics that eventually improves self-confidence.

What Does a Cosmetic Dermatologist Do?

Cosmetic dermatologists offer various services and treatments to help you achieve your desired results. You can read about some common cosmetic dermatology treatments below:

Botox injections

One of the most common concerns patients go to cosmetic dermatologists for is wrinkles. To address this, they inject botulinum toxin into the skin. The non-invasive injection temporarily prevents muscle contractions in the areas of concern. Without these muscle contractions, the skin doesn’t fold and won’t lead to fine lines and wrinkles. What causes forehead wrinkles in the first place?

Laser treatments

Laser and light therapy treatments use a pulsing beam of light against the skin. This addresses a variety of skin concerns including various signs of skin aging, sun damage, brown spots, hyperpigmentation, scars, stretch marks, and vascular lesions among others. This is a non-invasive treatment and has little to no downtime.

Injectable dermal fillers

Another way to combat various signs of fine lines and wrinkles on aging skin is with injectable dermal fillers. These soft tissue fillers help patients bring back their skin’s youthful appearance. These help smooth out lines and wrinkles in a very non-invasive way. This offers almost instant volumizing effects in the areas of concern.

Exfoliating treatments

Dead skin cells can cause dull skin. This is a major concern for many. Exfoliating treatments are a way to remove dead skin cells. They also rejuvenate the skin to reveal glowing, youthful skin. These exfoliating treatments can be physical exfoliation, chemical peels, or microdermabrasion among others.


Microneedling uses very small needles to puncture the skin. These needles do not scar the skin, instead, it stimulates the skin’s natural healing and repairing process. This boosts collagen production. This treatment is recommended for acne scars, stretch marks, loose skin, and enlarged pores.

Body contouring

Body contouring targets unyielding fats in the body that are stubborn to diet and exercise. There are multiple treatments and technologies to choose from. These technologies include cryolipolysis, laser treatment, and mesotherapy.

Hair restoration and laser hair removal

A visit to a cosmetic dermatologist addresses both hair loss and hair removal concerns.

Hair restoration is a minor procedure to transplant healthy hair follicles into a balding scalp. This encourages healthy hair regrowth.

Laser hair removal is another popular treatment to get rid of unwanted body hair. Moreover, it also prevents future hair growth.

Dermatologist vs Cosmetic Dermatologist

Dermatologists and cosmetic dermatologists are both skin doctors. They undergo the same education and training.

The only difference is this:

Dermatologists aim to address patients’ needs due to skin-related medical issues, concerns, and dangers with medical treatment. On the other hand, cosmetic dermatologists address patients’ wants and desires in terms of aesthetics and physical appearance through a cosmetic procedure.

Plastic Surgeon vs Cosmetic Dermatologist

Cosmetic dermatologists are not plastic surgeons.

A cosmetic dermatologist has expertise in non-surgical and minimally-invasive procedures, laser treatments, and injectables while a plastic surgeon is an expert in surgical treatments like facelifts and rhinoplasty.

Esthetician vs Cosmetic Dermatologist

While both are considered skincare experts and specialists, they are not the same.

Cosmetic dermatologists are board-certified doctors. This means they can diagnose skin concerns and prescribe treatments and medication. They can also perform treatments geared towards the enhancement of your physical appearance because they have a specialization in cosmetics.

Estheticians don’t have the same credentials and extensive training from going to medical schools. They are skin specialists but just on the surface level. They’re qualified to perform treatments, facials, and even mild chemical peels in some states.

Unlike a board-certified dermatologist, estheticians can’t perform any invasive procedures like injectables and fillers. They can only perform treatments on the surface of the skin as they don’t have the proper medical and surgical training cosmetic dermatologists have.


Everyone wants to look their best not just for vanity’s sake but for living a happy and confident life as well. And over the past years, more and more people are getting into this spirit with the help of cosmetic dermatologists. But the question still stands, what is a cosmetic dermatologist?

A cosmetic dermatologist is a dermatologist with a focus on the aesthetics and cosmetics care of the skin. They help patients achieve what they want and desire for their skin, and not just for the sake of their skin’s health.

And that has been our detailed guide on what a cosmetic dermatologist is. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us below!