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How Do I Become a Cosmetic Dermatologist?

Cosmetic dermatologists may remove varicose veins.
Dermatology is the medical field that focuses on skin health.
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  • Written By: Heather Preston
  • Edited By: J.T. Gale
  • Last Modified Date: 23 October 2014
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It is not easy to become a cosmetic dermatologist, but the payoff may be worth the effort. Cosmetic dermatologists typically earn a lot of money and many find their line of work to be rewarding. Generally, cosmetic dermatologists diagnose and treat medical conditions as well as help to improve the self-esteem and quality of life of their patients.

Like all doctors, cosmetic dermatologists must earn a bachelor's degree and complete four years of medical school. Then, after completing an internship, dermatology students enroll in a first-year residency program in internal medicine, general surgery, family practice, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, or emergency medicine. The next three years of residency must be in an accredited dermatology residency program before they can become a cosmetic dermatologist.

Once they have completed their residencies to become a cosmetic dermatologist, they must become certified by the American Board of Dermatology (ABD). They will have to get re-certified every ten years throughout their career. It is also helpful to join societies such as The American Society of Cosmetic Dermatology and Aesthetic Surgery, The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, and the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery. These organizations will grant cosmetic dermatologists access to conferences, journals, and training that will keep them up-to-date on emerging technologies.

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There are also a few personality traits and skills that could benefit someone who wants to become a cosmetic dermatologist. As with all doctors, it is important to have good communication and interpersonal skills. A good cosmetic dermatologist typically will also be patient, tactful, and compassionate.

Once they are certified, cosmetic dermatologists are free to practice. These doctors treat a wide variety of medical conditions and perform many cosmetic procedures. Some of their treatments are minor and non-invasive, such as prescribing topical creams for acne or wrinkle creams for aging skin. Cosmetic surgeries are the most invasive procedures. These include face lifts, skin grafts, liposuction, lip augmentation, and varicose vein removal.

Cosmetic dermatologists typically offer laser surgery to remove hair, birthmarks, scars, and tattoos. Botox™ injections and chemical peels are both popular ways to achieve a more youthful look. Cosmetic dermatologists also treat hair loss, using procedures such as hair restoration and hair transplants.

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