Your dermatologist is a critical part of your health care team. Not only are there skin conditions that can have a severe impact on your health, but the state of your skin can often indicate other underlying health issues as well. For these reasons, regular visits to a dermatologist can help to keep you in good health and ensure that you catch and treat dangerous illnesses as early as possible. Of course, dermatologists are also often the first stop for patients interested in minor cosmetic procedures. This dual role leads to an obvious question: should your primary dermatologist also be certified in cosmetic procedures?
Understanding Cosmetic Certifications
In the United States, the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) manages board certifications. The ABMS sets the standards that are used by the various groups that issue board certifications for a wide range of specialties. For example, your dermatologist likely holds a board certification from the American Board of Dermatology (ABD), one of the many organizations that are a part of the larger ABMS group. Note, however, that the ABMS does not certify most dermatological aesthetic procedures. Instead, medical aestheticians often hold a certification from one of many non-ABMS medical aesthetics boards.
Should this difference in certifications matter to you? The answer can be complicated. In general, this means that you should carefully scrutinize any medical aesthetics certifications that your dermatologist may hold. By doing some light research, you should be able to determine if the issuing board meets your standards. It is also a good idea to speak with your dermatologist about their training so that you can better understand how they acquired their certification.
Why Your Dermatologist Should Also Be An Aesthetician
Although medical and cosmetic dermatology seemingly serves very different purposes, they are very closely related. Many medical skin conditions result in uncomfortable and embarrassing cosmetic effects, and a dermatologist certified in medical aesthetics can help to develop a holistic treatment procedure that deals with both the underlying medical cause and the superficial aesthetic issues. Working with a physician with experience in both aspects of dermatological care can often lead to much better long-term cosmetic outcomes.
On the other side of the coin, a medical aesthetician who is also a certified dermatologist can apply their medical experience to cosmetic procedures such as botox or chemical skin peels. With a strong background in medical dermatology, your physician can help to prepare you for potential side-effects as well as work with you to develop post-treatment routines to minimize those side-effects and ultimately create a better aesthetic outcome. Contact IAPAM for more information.