These days, it seems like there are a million different “-ologists” in the world, particularly in the medical field. And while new specialties crop up every year, evidence of both medical and cosmetic dermatology goes back thousands of years to ancient Egyptian and Asian traditions. But what is the difference between these skin “-ologies” in today’s rapidly evolving medical landscape?

To put it simply, the difference comes down to whether the procedures offered are medically necessary or elective. In fact, medical and cosmetic procedures can be practiced by the same dermatologists, as they are qualified to cover both, having completed medical school and a 4-year residency focused on dermatology. Specializing in one or the other depends on the doctor’s personal desired career path.

Medical Dermatology: This specialty focuses on treating skin diseases and conditions that affect the patient’s quality of life or threaten their overall health. While regular appointments with a medical/general dermatologist are recommended for everyone to screen for early signs of skin cancer, such practices also treat the following:

  • Cancer and pre-cancer screenings
  • Acne
  • Eczema and psoriasis
  • Dermatitis
  • Contact allergies
  • Alopecia
  • Rosacea
  • Nevi (moles) and verrucae (warts)
  • … and more!

Cosmetic Dermatology: This specialty focuses more on improving the patient’s physical appearance, whether while treating a skin condition or as a purely elective treatment. Because they aren’t medically necessary, such procedures and treatments may not be covered by patients’ insurance. Cosmetic dermatology practices may offer the following:

  • Injectables
  • Treatment for skin discoloration
  • Skin tag removals
  • Microdermabrasion
  • Non-invasive fat reduction
  • Laser hair removal
  • Tattoo removal
  • Intense pulsed light treatment
  • Laser resurfacing/rejuvenation
  • … and more!

If you’re considering any cosmetic dermatology treatments or would just like to learn more about what’s available, please schedule a consultation with one of our caring Derick Dermatology professionals. We have offices to serve you in Arlington HeightsBarringtonBartlettBuffalo GroveCrystal LakeElginLibertyvilleLindenhurstMcHenryPark RidgeNaperville, and soon in Oak Brook.


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