RealSelf Standards for Doctors & Other Providers

RealSelf’s mission is to help people make smart, confident decisions about improving their body, face and smile. Choosing the right doctor or provider is one of the most daunting parts of the process, so we do some of the heavy lifting. Here’s how.

Proper Medical Licensing

We verify that doctors have a valid medical license before they get a profile on RealSelf—and we check the status of their license regularly after that. They also have to agree to our Health Care Provider Code of Conduct.

We suspend the RealSelf account of any doctor or health care professional who has their license suspended or revoked, or a documented pattern of serious patient safety concerns. We also post a warning at the top of their RealSelf profile.

Procedure-Based Qualifications

The RealSelf Doctor Finder shows only doctors or other providers with the appropriate board certification to safely perform the procedure you specify in your search. It’s one of the best tools to start your research, helping ensure that you’re only considering qualified doctors.

When RealSelf members Ask a Doctor on our site, only doctors or other providers with the appropriate board certification for that procedure can answer. For example, you’ll only get answers about rhinoplasty from board-certified plastic surgeons, facial plastic surgeons, or ENT surgeons (otolaryngologists).

Board certifications, society memberships, and fellowships are listed in the About section of each doctor’s RealSelf profile.

Unbiased Reviews

All reviews on our site are moderated by a highly trained team. Among other checks, they ensure the reviewer doesn’t have a conflict of interest, like being a family member or on the doctor’s staff. Learn more.

Board Certifications & Other Credentials

RealSelf recognizes these surgical board certifications:

Plastic surgeons are board-certified in the full spectrum of cosmetic and reconstructive surgeries for the face, eyes, nose, breasts, and body.

In order to call themselves plastic surgeons, doctors must be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, American Osteopathic Board of Surgery – Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons of Canada, General Medical Council (Specialist Register – Plastic Surgeon), or Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Specialist Register – Plastic Surgeon).

Facial plastic surgeons have the training and certification to perform rhinoplasties, facelifts, chin and jaw surgeries, eyelid lifts, and other head and neck procedures.

These surgeons must be certified by the American Board of Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, European Board for Certification in Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, or International Board for Certification in Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery.

Surgeons who’ve completed facial plastic surgery fellowships verified by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery or any International Federation of Facial Plastic Surgery Societies may also qualify for participation on RealSelf as a facial plastic surgeon (including answering consumer questions about these procedures), pending approval from our team.

Otolaryngologists (also called ENTs) are board certified in head, neck, and throat surgery, making them qualified to perform functional rhinoplasties and other facial surgeries. Those who have also done a facial plastic fellowship can perform cosmetic facial surgeries.

These surgeons have been board certified through the American Board of Otolaryngology, American Osteopathic Board of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada – Plastic Surgery, General Medical Council – UK (Specialist Register – Otolaryngology), or Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Specialist Register – Otolaryngology).

Oculoplastic or oculofacial surgeons are experts in eyelid surgery and other eye-related procedures.

We recognize certification through the American Board of Ophthalmology, American Osteopathic Board of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (Ophthalmology), General Medical Council – UK (Specialist Register – Ophthalmology), or Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Specialist Register – Ophthalmology).

We then verify fellowship in ophthalmic surgery through the American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, Canadian Society of Oculoplastic Surgery, British Oculoplastic Surgery Society, or Australian and New Zealand Society of Ophthalmic Plastic Surgeons.

Dermatologic surgeons are qualified to perform liposuction, fat transfer, and Mohs surgery (in addition to nonsurgical treatments).

Qualified dermatologic surgeons have been board certified by the American Board of Dermatology, American Osteopathic Board of Dermatology, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (Dermatology), the General Medical Council – UK (Specialist Register – Dermatology), or the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Specialist Register – Dermatology).

They must also be a fellow of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgeons, Canadian Society for Dermatologic Surgery, or British Society for Dermatologic Surgeons.

You can see more detailed surgical board certification requirements—including those for oral and maxillofacial surgeons—in our Healthcare Listing Criteria.

Nonsurgical treatments like Botox, CoolSculpting, or dermal fillers can be performed by any physician, surgeon, or licensed health care practitioner on RealSelf. But there are other providers who also have the training to do them safely. Laws for who’s allowed to perform nonsurgical treatments vary by state and country. The RealSelf RealSelf Doctor Finder reflects these laws, showing you only the doctors and providers who meet local regulations for the procedure you’re considering.

Start with a board-certified doctor who can help you consider the risks and potential benefits of all your treatment options. Once they’ve recommended a plan, your nonsurgical treatment might be done by a qualified nurse practitioner, registered nurse, physician assistant, or licensed aesthetician on their staff.

RealSelf recognizes the following qualifications for providers performing nonsurgical treatments:

Advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) or registered nurses (RN) with:

Physician’s assistants (PA-C) who’ve passed the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination and have:

See the full list of the boards we recognize by specialty in our Healthcare Listing Criteria.