Being the first academic hospital in the Netherlands, Erasmus MC will train future dermatologists in cosmetic treatments. At the newly founded Erasmus MC Aesthetics, future dermatologists will be following a six months intensive training program, which teaches them how to perform Botox-injections and laser therapies. According to founder and Professor of Dermatology Tamar Nijsten, cosmetic treatments are in great demand. “Society just evolves into this direction. I believe we should be careful in imposing our own values on other people. It’s going to happen anyway. And when it happens, you’d better make sure it’s being done well.” EM spoke to medical students: the doctors, surgeons and cosmetic dermatologists of the future. Should Erasmus MC educate people to perform treatments which serve no medical purpose?

Ashwin Wenmakers (26)


“I just read the news online and it made me laugh. Of course, medical students are not being educated to make healthy people prettier. However, there are some good reasons for starting this program. Before there was no training for this specialization, and from now on students will be educated and supervised by highly educated professionals. It’s better to have well-educated cosmetic doctors, instead of trying to fix the mess caused by poorly educated professionals. Besides, we should not confuse two different professions in the Dutch system, a plastic surgeon and a cosmetic doctor. In my opinion, cosmetic treatments like Botox-injections are in the spirit of our age. People come into contact with celebrities who have used Botox, and might see cosmetic treatments as something that could help them to overcome their insecurity. I’ve been to Africa for a few weeks. The people there are just like us, they want to look at their best every day. They will in no way think about fillers or laser therapies.”

What is the difference in the Netherlands between a cosmetic doctor and a plastic surgeon?

The biggest difference is that a cosmetic doctor doesn’t use a knife during his treatments. A cosmetic doctor has specialised himself in small cosmetic treatments, such as furrows and wrinkles. To treat these, he uses techniques like Botox-injections, fillers and a laser. Besides, he is able to perform the famous ‘vampire facelift’.

Every educated doctor can use the title of ‘cosmetic doctor’. As long as someone has studied the practice of medicine and has completed a few courses, a doctor is allowed to use Botox and fillers. Since 2014, every cosmetic doctor is obliged to be registered at an association, de Nederlandse Vereniging voor Cosmetische Geneeskunde.

Bron: ‘Plastische chirurg vs. Cosmetische arts’,

Marjolijn van der Put (18)


“Nonsense. That was my first thought this morning, after reading the announcement in the newspaper. I wholeheartedly believe people are studying medicine to save lives and to provide care, not to make healthy people prettier. I wouldn’t like to be a cosmetic doctor after my studies. Cosmetic procedures may be trendy but people can also become addicted. If someone wants to become cosmetic dermatologist, I can imagine that a high income plays a key role. However, that shouldn’t be a valid reason, in general, a doctor earns already quite a lot.”

Nikkie Verberne (29)


“Great! Mistakes are so easily made during treatments. I believe that the establishment of this program is the result of those mistakes . Students need to learn how things should be done, so the decision to include this program in the curriculum is an obvious one. It’s also important to note that you are not only educated how to inject Botox. It still remains a choice whether doctors will use those techniques. If I would be specializing n dermatology, I would definitely be following this course. I don’t understand the current debate about its public funding. If you are questioning this program, we can also ask ourselves why the government supports corporate management programs and programs with low job prospects.

Alex Reinders (18)


“I just read about it and I find it weird. At an academic hospital, I don’t want to be educated how to use Botox and fillers. The tax-payer would be paying to educate me how to perform a nose job on my neighbor. Of course, if she’s been hit by a car, I can understand why cosmetic dermatology is being taught at Erasmus MC. However, in this particular case it would be called reconstructive dermatology. Students who want to be educated how they should perform injectable fillers treatments, can go to private clinics. ”