The Difference Between a Dermatologist and an Esthetician

Between the cold harsh winters here in Chicago, and my hormonal acne acting up at age 26, the last few months of my life have been researching the difference between a Dermatologist and an Esthetician because I needed to figure out the best way to cure my sad-skin blues.

Let me tell you something you may already know: beauty products, acne products and any product that claims to help your skin is REALLY expensive. It’s so hard to not want to spend money on fixing your flaws, especially when it’s really breaking down your confidence.

Being the obsessive researcher that I am, my recent Google search history is flooded with how I can help my skin heal quickly. A few things I have Google’d are questionable like “can blister bandaids help cystic acne,” or “what are these dots appearing all OVER MY FACE?”

In the end, I gave up. I was just so over using my face as a tester with all of these weird products and home remedies people swore by. I really wanted to figure out who the best person was that will make me look flawless. In the end, it came down to two occupations: a Dermatologist and an Esthetician.

Let’s break down each occupation to see what the differences are between a Dermatologist and an Esthetician. That way, you can see which best suits you and your money.

What does a Dermatologist do?

Dermatologists can treat basic and serious skin concerns, including skin cancers, allergies, fine lines and wrinkles from aging, stretch marks, severe acne, hair removal, and more.

If you go see a dermatologist, you’re seeing a doctor. This means that he or she completed four years of undergraduate work, three years of medical school and one to two years of residency and internship at a medical facility. He or she is able to prescribe medication.

Visit a Dermatologist when you’re due for a full-body scan (to check for skin cancer and other abnormalities). You’ll also want to see a dermatologist if you have (or suspect you have) a skin disease such as Eczema. In some cases, severe acne can only be treated properly by a dermatologist.

What does a Esthetician do?

Estheticians treat common issues like light acne, congestion, sunspots, sun damage, and hyper-pigmentation. An esthetician is not a doctor, therefore cannot prescribe medication. He or she has attended a trade school to learn the craft of skin care and has passed the state board exam.

Most people see Estheticians when their Dermatologist hasn’t helped them with their skin concern.

Visit an Esthetician to maintain beautiful skin with regular facials and for help in choosing the right skin care products for your skin. Your Esthetician will also show you the proper way to use your skin care regimen. Other things an Esthetician can do for you: Hair removal, eyebrow shaping, body treatments, etc.

What are the main differences between a Dermatologist versus an Esthetician?

  • The licensing requirements are different. An esthetician is in school for anywhere from 3-9 months (depending on the state) whereas a doctor is in school studying for years.
  • A dermatologist can write prescriptions. An esthetician can’t. There are times when the use of prescription drugs is necessary to treat certain skin conditions. Chronic rosacea, severe acne, skin rashes, and allergies are examples of conditions that are often best treated with medication.
  • A dermatologist can perform Botox and other dermal fillers/ injectables. An esthetician can not under their license. Both professionals can do chemical peels but generally, an esthetician performs the kinds that aren’t as strong.
  • An esthetician will be more knowledgeable about your skin care routine.
  • From an acne perspective, both offer effective solutions.One does it via prescription medications (a derm), while the other does it with their hands (an esthetician). If you want to see a big improvement for clogged pores and acne, it’s imperative that you get a thorough deep pore cleansing facial.
  • No product or prescription can effectively remove blockages in the pores that lead to bumps and breakouts.
  • An esthetician will spend more time with you than a dermatologist. If you’re scheduling a skin treatment such as a facial, the time spent with your esthetician will usually be 75-90 minutes. By contrast, actual face time with a dermatologist is usually anywhere from 10-20 minutes. (According to Renée Rouleau)

Do you prefer seeing a Dermatologist or an esthetician? I am set to see both this week. I will keep you updated on both appointments!

Samantha Lebbos
Samantha Lebbos

I am happy you are here! Feel free to contact me if you have any questions, need some motivation or advice, or want me to host your next event. Comment below and let me know what you think of this post :) xo!

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