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August 08, 2019

Aestheticians and Dermatologists: Similarities and Differences

As a skin care specialist, you probably get clients every day that are curious about what sets aestheticians apart from dermatologists. When they wonder whether they can have all of their skin care needs met by an aesthetician, what should you say?

No need to worry! We’ve put together this quick cheat sheet on aestheticians and dermatologists so you’ll be ready for every client’s concern.

Both Aestheticians and Dermatologists Understand and Address Skin Conditions

Aestheticians and dermatologists are both experts on the science of skin. Dermatologists are medical doctors with specialized training and experience in skin, hair, and nail conditions. Aestheticians, on the other hand, are trained, licensed skin care professionals in 49 states (in Connecticut, licensure is not required).

Both aestheticians are dermatologists analyze skin conditions, suggest approaches and products for addressing concerns, and perform treatments to maintain healthy, beautiful skin.

Aestheticians and Dermatologists Perform a Variety of Non-Invasive Procedures

Common skin concerns include signs of aging and sun damage, acne, and overly dry or oily skin. These conditions can be identified and remedied by either an aesthetician or a dermatologist. When meeting a client for the first time, an aesthetician will conduct a skin analysis, which identifies positive about skin types and conditions, areas in need of improvement, and suggestions for treatments, products, and skin care regimens.

Aestheticians perform a range of skin treatments including facials, extractions, peels, wraps light and cryo-therapies, waxing, and microdermabrasion. Treatments are tailored to a client’s skin type and condition. Dry patches, age spots, dull skin, and clogged pores each require a different approach. A dermatologist can also provide these treatments.

Only Dermatologists Can Perform Medical Treatments and Write Prescriptions

When a skin condition requires medical treatment, a dermatologist should be consulted. A dermatologist must perform biopsies, dermabrasion, and any type of surgical removal. Dermatologists perform skin cancer and mole checks and may prescribe medications for acne, psoriasis, or other skin diseases.

Aestheticians Focus More on Holistic Well-Being

Most dermatologists work in a clinical setting set up for medical procedures rather than relaxation. In contrast, most aestheticians create soothing environments that promote tranquility. Although a generalization, many dermatologists will look for clinical or pharmaceutical strategies, whereas most aestheticians will focus on holistic wellness and how lifestyle, as well as skin care routines and products, affect the skin’s appearance.

Aestheticians may be more knowledgeable about skin care trends, the mind-body connection, holistic health, and organic skin care products. Many dermatologists may also be current on these topics, but their focus is likely to be on the clinical presentation of skin conditions.

Skin Care Provider Choices are Personal

Just as every person’s skin is unique, so is his or her approach to maintaining healthy skin. Considerations include the extent of treatment or care that is needed, the range of desired strategies for healthy skin, the type of products recommended, and the environment in which skin care is provided.

It’s estimated that by 2024, the global skin care market will reach $180 billion. Your spa should be positioned to benefit from this growth. Promote the strengths of your skilled aestheticians and you will attract clients who will benefit from their services.


Universal Companies is proud to have a team of experienced spa advisors on staff and welcomes you to consult with our professionals about spa products and supplies, including ingredients, equipment, and retail. Dedicated to the success of spa professionals everywhere, we're grateful to be recognized with the American Spa Magazine Professional's Choice Award, Favorite Distributor of the Year for many consecutive years. (Thank you!)


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