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Cosmetic treatment from unqualified providers may result in complications

People looking for a bargain on cosmetic treatment may end up getting more than they bargained for if they receive care from someone who is not qualified to provide it.

“You wouldn’t want to get surgery from someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing, and the same applies to cosmetic treatments,” says board-certified dermatologist Anne Chapas, MD, FAAD, the founder and medical director of a private practice in New York. “As with any medical procedure, the results of these treatments will depend on the skill of the person who performs them.”

According to Dr. Chapas, dermatologists are seeing more and more patients come to their offices experiencing complications from cosmetic procedures performed by unqualified providers. Some of the most common complications include bruising, changes in skin pigmentation, burns, infection, scars, swelling, and “frozen” facial expressions, she says, and severe cases may involve the breakdown of the skin or even disfigurement.

A board-certified dermatologist can treat these complications, Dr. Chapas says, so patients who experience any issues after a cosmetic treatment should see a dermatologist as soon as possible. To avoid experiencing these complications in the first place, she says, patients should seek cosmetic treatment from a qualified doctor like a board-certified dermatologist.

“To perform effective cosmetic procedures, you need to understand the biology of the skin,” Dr. Chapas says. “Board-certified dermatologists spend many years of education and training developing expertise in this area, and we build on that knowledge base throughout our years in practice.”

Because unqualified providers may use misleading advertising and language to claim that they offer dermatologic care, finding someone who is truly qualified to perform cosmetic procedures can be a confusing process, Dr. Chapas says. To ensure that they’re receiving care from a board-certified dermatologist, the public can look for “FAAD” after the doctor’s name; this indicates the doctor is a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, and all AAD fellows are board-certified.

Patients also can ensure that they’re seeing a board-certified dermatologist by asking to see the doctor’s credentials and looking for certification from the American Board of Dermatology, the American Osteopathic Board of Dermatology or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Dr. Chapas also recommends asking doctors the following questions before a cosmetic procedure:

  • Who is going to perform the procedure? How many of these procedures has the physician performed? The procedure should be one that the doctor performs regularly.
  • What results can be expected? How long is the recuperation period? Are before-and-after photos available?
  • What are the risks? What type of anesthesia will the physician use? Do the benefits of the cosmetic procedure outweigh the risks? Will the doctor be available if the patient experiences complications?
  • Where is the procedure being performed? The procedure should be performed in a medical center or doctor’s office, not a nonmedical spa, shopping mall or private party.

“Board-certified dermatologists provide effective cosmetic treatments every day, so you’ll be in the best of hands when you receive a cosmetic procedure in a dermatologist’s office,” Dr. Chapas says. “And if you do experience any complications, a board-certified dermatologist has the expertise to help.”

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About Dr. J. Kim

Dr Kim developed (and is continuing to develop) dermatology research news as we way from dermatologists to stay on top of the latest advances in the field of dermatology.

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