Face Contouring – Facial Plastic Surgeons Vs. Laser Dermatologists

attractive young woman with clear face smiling

Are you noticing the signs of aging on your face? Don’t let the arrival of lines and wrinkles freak you out. There’s a solution to your problem. Medical professionals offer a way to reduce the signs of aging and restore your face to a youthful appearance.

You have two options for treating your issue. You can visit a facial plastic surgeon or a laser dermatologist. So, which one is the right choice for you? Let’s unpack the differences between these skincare professionals.

Facial Plastic Surgeons

A facial plastic surgeon is a doctor specializing in cosmetic procedures. The American Board of Plastic Surgery certifies these medical professionals, licensing and regulating their practices in the United States.

Facial plastic surgeons are experts at reshaping the face. They conduct operations like ‘rhinoplasty,” commonly known as a ‘nose job.’ While the surgeon understands how to use the scalpel, they aren’t the best choice for minor cosmetic procedures.

Laser Dermatologist

A laser dermatologist is not a qualified doctor like a plastic surgeon. These physicians choose to specialize their practice in dermatology, completing specialty certifications to qualify them to perform cosmetic procedures.

Dermatologists typically limit treatments to superficial procedures around the face and skin. For example, these professionals provide injection therapies like fillers, Botox, and skin rejuvenation procedures using light therapy devices.

Some advanced procedures offered by laser dermatologists include laser hair removal, acne suppression, and facial and body scarring therapy.

What Procedures Can I Get from a Laser Dermatologist?

Unless you have facial disfigurement requiring a surgical procedure, laser dermatologists can provide you with various treatments to reduce the signs of aging around your face and skin. Here are the top techniques implemented by these medical professionals.


This procedure utilizes two technologies to treat all aspects of facial aging. The EmFace device produces radio frequency, delivering it to the skin to induce rejuvenation through stimulating collagen and elastin production. These proteins help to firm the skin, removing the presence of fine lines and wrinkles on the face.

The device also utilizes HIFES (high-intensity muscle stimulation) to restore muscle tone in the forehead and cheeks, providing a natural ‘facelift’ to the patient. EmFace restores muscle tone in the frontalis, zygomaticus major and minor, and the risorius.

EmFace treatments are safe and effective, and you need four 20-minute sessions a week apart to see the full effects of the therapy.

Studies show that EmFace treatments reduce wrinkles by as much as 37% and increase muscle tone by 30%. It provides a 23% lift without any invasive surgical procedure.


Ultherapy is the only non-surgical and non-invasive FDA-approved technique for tightening the brow and firming the skin under the neck, jawline, and décolleté. Several off-label therapies are used for firming and lifting the skin around the abdomen, upper arms, and other areas around the body.

The treatment involves using an ultrasound device to stimulate collagen and elastin production in the affected area. The device saw several improvements in recent years, improving the efficacy and results of the treatment.

Ultherapy provides slow, steady results, so don’t expect things to change overnight. You usually need around four to six months of regular treatments to see changes.

Facial & Lip Fillers

Laser dermatologists also offer injection therapies. NYC dermal fillers are popular for giving a fuller appearance to the lips and filling areas around the face, like dimples. The dermatologist injects FDA-regulated dermal fillers into the required location in a simple, painless procedure.

However, fillers don’t provide permanent results. The body eventually absorbs the compounds, requiring follow-up treatments every three to six months. Temporary dermal fillers include Hyaluronic acid, calcium hydroxylapatite, and Poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA).

There’s one FDA-approved dermal filler not absorbed by the body. It features polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) beads suspended in bovine collagen.


Botox is another popular injection therapy used to relax the tension in the muscles around the face. After receiving Botox injections, the skin smooths, reducing the appearance of crow’s feet around the eyes and lines on the forehead.

Botox also treats tension-related disorders affecting the face, such as bruxism (teeth grinding) and neck spasms (cervical dystonia). Botox injections block signals from nerves, making the muscles unable to contract.

Which Treatment Specialist Is Right for You?

There’s a significant difference between laser dermatologists and plastic surgeons. While both offer cosmetic procedures to reduce the signs of aging, surgeons offer invasive procedures, while dermatologists don’t require you to go under the knife.

Choosing the right professional depends on what you need from your treatments. Laser dermatologists are your best choice if you want to reduce the signs of aging like wrinkles and fine lines.

However, if you’re looking for a facelift or a nose job, you must go with a plastic surgeon. If you’re in New York and in need of a laser dermatologist, reach out to the team at The Dermatology and Laser Group at (212) 444-8204.