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Esthetician vs. Dermatologists

Obviously, estheticians are not doctors. Both however try to keep scheduled appointments, offer treatment protocols and home care. The real difference between the two is in the strength of the protocol that is prescribed.

An esthetician will offer a more holistic home care full of education and product knowledge. A first time consultation and facial may total 45-90 minutes in a professional office suite or day spa environment. During this time, they explain why a certain product would benefit the client’s skin, why procedures should be performed daily, and why certain products work together. They will show the client how to use the product effectively. They will advise about sun protection. They will offer other services such as full body waxing. They will investigate health concerns, food sensitivities and any other questions a client might have. If skin concerns do not get better after a designated time, a well-trained esthetician will know when a client should see a dermatologist.

In contrast, dermatologists offer prescription treatments: Most with potential side effects that they must monitor with either office visits or blood work. Because of low insurance reimbursement policies, an office visit with a dermatologist may only be 3-5 minutes. This requires a patient to have their questions documented ahead of time. But, what are the right questions when a patient does not know what is wrong with their skin? Can this type of skin care inquiry be addressed in so short a time?

The best of both worlds is when a dermatologist has a highly trained esthetician on staff. This type of professional may perform advanced therapies such as microdermabrasion, acid peels or mild laser treatments.

If a client pursues an office visit with a dermatologist, ask if there is an esthetician is on staff. Adopt a relationship. Often there is more time to chat about concerns and long-term results.