Cosmetic Dermatology Vs Plastic Surgery: Similarities, Differences, & How To Choose

Cosmetic dermatology and plastic surgery are like two different paths leading to the same destination – a more confident and improved appearance. They have their unique ways, expertise, and outcomes.

Think of Cosmetic Dermatology as the artist who wields a brush to delicately refine a painting. This field focuses on non-surgical treatments that gently enhance your skin’s texture, tone, and complexion, creating subtle, natural-looking improvements.

On the flip side, Plastic Surgery is more like the sculptor who chisels away and reshapes to reveal a dramatically different sculpture. It involves surgical procedures that bring about more noticeable and visible changes in your physical structure.

Similarities And Differences

Let’s explore the commonalities and differences between these two options:


  • Cosmetic Dermatology: Embraces non-surgical approaches
  • Plastic Surgery: Dives into surgical transformations


  • Cosmetic Dermatology: Masters the art of skin and facial anatomy
  • Plastic Surgery: Specializes in understanding body structure and anatomy

Common Procedures:

  • Cosmetic Dermatology: Utilizes tools like Botox, fillers, chemical peels, laser therapy, and microdermabrasion
  • Plastic Surgery: Involves procedures such as liposuction, breast augmentation, facelift, rhinoplasty, and tummy tuck


  • Cosmetic Dermatology: Often opts for local or topical anesthesia
  • Plastic Surgery: Typically relies on general anesthesia


  • Cosmetic Dermatology: Offers minimal to no downtime
  • Plastic Surgery: Requires weeks to months for recovery


  • Cosmetic Dermatology: Achieves subtle, naturally appealing changes
  • Plastic Surgery: Delivers significant and noticeable transformations


  • Cosmetic Dermatology: Generally lighter on the pocket per procedure
  • Plastic Surgery: Tends to be pricier per procedure


  • Cosmetic Dermatology: Usually presents minimal and temporary risks
  • Plastic Surgery: Carries the potential for more serious complications

Ideal Candidates:

  • Cosmetic Dermatology: Best suited for folks with minor aesthetic concerns
  • Plastic Surgery: Caters to those with more pronounced aesthetic needs


  • Cosmetic Dermatology: Practitioners may include dermatologists or cosmetic surgeons, without requiring board certification
  • Plastic Surgery: Mandates board-certified plastic surgeons

Plastic Surgery Cosmetic Procedures:

Plastic surgeons offer a repertoire of cosmetic procedures, including breast augmentation, liposuction, facelift, rhinoplasty, tummy tuck, eyelid surgery, and brow lift.

Cosmetic Dermatology Procedures:

Cosmetic dermatologists specialize in non-surgical treatments like Botox and dermal fillers, chemical peels, laser therapy, microdermabrasion, non-surgical body contouring, hair removal, skin rejuvenation, and the diagnosis and treatment of skin conditions.

Choosing The Doctor:

When it comes to choosing a doctor, imagine it as picking a guide for your journey. Pay attention to their qualifications, experience, reviews, and testimonials. “Board certified” is like a gold seal, indicating advanced training, expertise, and an ongoing commitment to staying at the forefront of their field. Seek referrals, get a sense of their approach, and feel comfortable with their communication style during a consultation to make an informed decision.

In a nutshell, while both cosmetic dermatology and plastic surgery aim to boost your confidence, they take different routes to get there. Your choice depends on your unique needs and how you envision your transformation.