What Is an Esthetician in Skin Care?

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An esthetician is a person who specializes in the beautification of the skin. Estheticians are not medical doctors; instead, they perform cosmetic skin treatments such as facials, light chemical peels, body treatments, and waxing.

If you have acne (or even if you don't) you may want to pay a visit to this skin care professional.

Estheticians Specialize in the Care and Maintainance of the Skin

Estheticians, also called skin care therapists, specialize in cosmetic treatments of the skin.

If you've ever wondered what skin type you are, have trouble deciding on which skin care product to buy, you need an esthetician.

This is the skin care professional that can help teach you all you need to know about the proper care of your skin. Estheticians can help you create a daily skin care routine and suggest skin care products that are appropriate for your skin type. In short, estheticians can help you maintain a healthy skin.

Estheticians Work in Salons, Day Spas, and Dermatology Offices

Most estheticians work at salons, day spas or skin spas, and medi spas. They do various cosmetic procedures like facials, body treatments, and waxing.  Most estheticians offer a variety of spa treatments as well.

Some estheticians perform specialty treatments like microdermabrasion, superficial chemical peels, and certain light treatments. 

The salon is not the only place you'll find an esthetician. Some estheticians work closely with dermatologists, either in-office or through a referral system.

Your dermatologist may even have one on staff. They can also work in medical practices.

Estheticians can perform procedures complementary to your dermatologist's treatments. Estheticians can perform procedures, like blackhead extractions and exfoliating treatments, that are helpful in improving acne breakouts.

Estheticians are Licensed Professionals

Estheticians put in many hours of training before they're able to place their hands on your skin. All estheticians must be trained and licensed in the state that they are working in.

Depending on the state, estheticians complete 260 to 600 hours of training. They also must pass both a written and a practical, or hands-on, exam to receive their license.

Receiving a license is just the first step. A good esthetician also completes many hours of post-graduate education and strives to stay abreast of the latest developments in skin care.

Estheticians are Not Medical Doctors

Although estheticians are skin care professionals, they are not medical doctors. This means they can't diagnose skin conditions, prescribe medications, or suggest treatment for any skin condition outside of cosmetic products.

So, if you have a rash, your esthetician can't tell you what it is or how to treat it. She also can't prescribe medications.

Instead, if your skin problem has already been diagnosed, your esthetician can suggest skin care products that are appropriate for your skin.

An Esthetician can Help You Improve Your Acne

What an esthetician can do is help improve acne acne breakouts.

Mild acne and blackheads can often be completely cleared with regular salon treatments and the over-the-counter acne products your esthetician suggests.

Moderate acne to severe acne, on the other hand, should really be treated by a dermatologist. But you can still utilize the skills of an esthetician (provided your derm gives you the OK, of course.)

An esthetician can offer treatments that work along with the prescription acne medications you get from your dermatologist. She can also help you choose skin care products that help combat acne treatment side effects, like extra dry skin.

When choosing an esthetician, find someone you feel comfortable with, someone who's respectful of your time and doesn't keep you waiting for your appointment, and is knowledgeable in the area that's most important to you (acne, or anti-aging treatments, for example.)

Although you don't need to see an esthetician in order to clear your acne, they can be helpful if you need help choosing skin care products, or if you enjoy salon skin care treatments.

Next Steps:

What You Need to Know Before Seeing an Esthetician for Your Acne

What an Esthetician Can Do for Your Acne

What an Esthetician Can't Do for Your Skin

Should You See an Esthetician or a Dermatologist for Your Acne?


Gerson, Joel; Ph.D. Standard Textbook for Professional Estheticians. 8th edition. Albany, NY: Milady Publishing, 1999.

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