Should I go to a cosmetic plastic surgeon, a dermatologist or spa for acne scars and hyperpigmentation?

Should I go to a cosmetic plastic surgeon, a dermatologist or spa for acne scars and hyperpigmentation. Also I don't want perscriptions I want chemical peels or laser resurfacing performed. Which ever is best for me.

I’m glad you asked this as there seems to be a lot of confusion on this issue.   

  1. A cosmetically oriented dermatologist is best for acne scars, pigmentation problems and all other issues related to skin health, skin diseases and diseases of the hair and nails.  We are trained first for either 1-3 years in internal medicine (I did 3 years) or pediatrics and then we do 3 more years of training (more for Mohs surgery)  just related to skin.
  2. Plastic surgeons – make sure they are certified in plastic surgery NOT cosmetic surger.  Why the “cosmetic surgeons” have much less training.  Plastic surgeons do a general surgery residency first and then 3-4 years of plastic/aesthetic surgery. They get no training in health or diseases of the skin. They are best for any surgical problems and often they or their nurses are quite good with injectibles. 
  3. Spas and aestheticians get no medical training and, in my opinion, should never be operating lasers.  They are wonderful usually for all conventional spa treatments including lighter peels. The regulations on them vary widely state by state and by country.  

More information on finding a good doctor

Also check for board certification at the for example. 

Hope this helps,  Dr. I


Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin. I believe that consumers deserve a medically trained and unbiased skin care advocate.

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