Esthetician: experience, specialties and training


An esthetician is a person who specializes in cosmetic skin care. Cosmetologists (sometimes called estheticians ) are not medical professionals; Instead, they perform beauty treatments for the skin such as facials, superficial chemical peels, body treatments, and waxing.

Thanks in part to aging baby boomers, many of whom seek non-invasive treatments to look younger, there are more than 60,000 estheticians in the US, and demand is growing faster than average.


Cosmetologists, also called skin care therapists, specialize in beauty treatments for the skin. If you've ever wondered about your skin type or are having trouble deciding which skin care products to buy, visiting an esthetician can help.

Although the term medical aesthetics is widely used, aesthetics is not a medical practice and cosmetologists cannot diagnose skin conditions , prescribe medication, or offer treatments for any skin condition other than cosmetic products. Cosmetologists are limited to performing procedures that affect the top layers of the skin. They cannot give injections like botox or facial fillers , nor can they do deep chemical peels. All invasive procedures must be performed by a licensed healthcare professional, such as a dermatologist.

If you develop a rash, your esthetician cannot tell you what it is and how to treat it. Nor can he prescribe medication. Instead, if your skin problem has already been diagnosed, your esthetician can recommend the right skin care products.

Most estheticians work in hair salons, day spas, or medical spas and spas . But the salon is not the only place where you can find an esthetician. Some estheticians work closely with dermatologists , either in the dermatology department or through a referral system. Your dermatologist may even have one of the staff members. They may also work in a medical practice where they perform procedures that complement their dermatologist's treatment.

Procedural experience

While many estheticians specialize in certain areas and each spa has different offerings on their menu, there are some basic treatments that estheticians offer.

Illustration by Jessica Olah, Get Meds Info

Face care

Facial care is the business card of the esthetician. Basic facial includes deep cleansing, facial steaming, exfoliating treatment, mask, and moisturizer or serum. You can also be offered a facial massage, a hand and shoulder massage and the application of special products. The facial is designed with your skin and your preferences in mind. Each cosmetologist also has their own unique technique.


Removal is also usually a part of most facial treatments. Your esthetician manually removes non-inflamed breakouts , such as blackheads, and uncovers dead skin cells and oil from pores. Instantly improves the appearance of skin and helps prevent future inflamed pimples .

Acne treatment

Regular treatments with an esthetician can help clear up acne breakouts. Exfoliating treatments, as well as over-the-counter acne extracts and remedies , often help clear up mild acne and blackheads. On the other hand, treatment for moderate to severe acne should be treated by a dermatologist . But you can still use the skills of an esthetician for treatment that works alongside prescription acne medications . It can also help you choose skincare products that help combat the side effects of acne treatments, such as overly dry skin (if your healthcare provider agrees, of course).


Microdermabrasion is a very popular and special treatment offered by some estheticians. During the procedure, fine crystals (or a diamond-tipped stick) are passed over the skin, gently removing dead cells. The skin is immediately smoother, with fine lines, slight hyperpigmentation and enlarged pores that improve after a series of treatments.

Superficial chemical peel (also known as a lunch peel)

Superficial chemical peels are one of the most popular treatments offered by cosmetologists. The peel uses an alpha hydroxy acid (most commonly glycolic, lactic, or salicylic acid ) to quickly exfoliate the skin and give it a healthy glow. When used regularly, these peels can have anti-aging properties. They are often called lunch shells because they don't cause downtime. You can do them during your lunch break and go back to work right away.

Body wraps, masks and scrubs

Cosmetologists not only take care of the face, they also take care of the skin of the entire body. You can exfoliate from head to toe with a salt polish or a sugar scrub. Clay body masks and seaweed wraps will help soften and brighten the skin. These treatments not only leave your skin silky and smooth, but also incredibly relaxing. Estheticians often have several body treatments on the menu that you can choose from.

Hair removal and depilation

If you have unwanted hair, your esthetician can remove it with wax, tweezers, thread cutting, and laser hair removal. An esthetician can remove hair almost anywhere, and no, they won't be surprised if you ask them to remove their hair "from there." Bikini wax and Brazilian wax (which removes all pubic hair) are quite common, probably second only to the shape of the eyebrows. For men, back and chest waxing is number one. Many estheticians specialize in waxing.

Bronzing airbrush

Not all estheticians offer this service, but it is becoming increasingly popular as the public becomes aware of the dangers of sunburn. This is a safer way to achieve a golden glow. The esthetician sprays an ultra-fine mist of tanning products on the skin. Once dry, you will have a convincing tan that will last up to two weeks.


For bridal makeup or a special prom look, some beauticians also offer makeup. You do not need to do your own makeup, as estheticians work with their own makeup set. Sign up for work in advance if you are interested in this service, as good makeup artists get orders quickly, especially during the busy spring / summer months.

Training and Certification

Cosmetologists must be licensed in 49 states, except Connecticut. They must first complete 260 to 600 hours of training, based on state requirements, at an accredited beauty school. Upon completion of the training, estheticians must also pass a written and practical exam. Cosmetology specialists are licensed by the state council of cosmetology or the ministry of health.

Obtaining a license is only the first step. A good esthetician also receives many hours of graduate education and strives to keep up with the latest advances in skin care. Several states recognize master estheticians who have received advanced training.

Recording tips

Find the right esthetician to get the results you are satisfied with and enjoy your time on the treatment table. A good rule of thumb is to ask friends and family for recommendations and recommendations. Another useful tip:

  • Find someone who knows the area that is most important to you (eg acne treatments, anti-aging treatments, chemical peels, etc.). Before making an appointment, ask the esthetician if she has any peculiarities or what type of treatment she does most often. If you are looking to rejuvenate your face a bit and your esthetician spends most of the day on body treatments, they may not have the experience to help you achieve the best results.
  • Find someone with whom you feel comfortable. Almost all spa treatments require some level of undressing. You should feel comfortable with your esthetician, and he should put your comfort level first.
  • Count the opening hours of the salon. Is it open at a convenient time for you? Also ask if there is an esthetician available; many of them are self-employed and set their own opening hours regardless of salon hours.

Get the word of drug information

While a salon treatment with an esthetician is not a must, it is a great way to pamper yourself. Used correctly, they can also help your skin look brighter and healthier. Be sure to inform your esthetician of your skincare goals. This will help her create a personalized treatment plan for you. Remember also that you will generally need to undergo a series of treatments performed at regular intervals to achieve a noticeable improvement in the condition of your skin.

Frequently asked questions

  • The esthetician is not a healthcare provider and should limit their services to superficial skin care treatments. Unlike dermatologists , who are doctors, they cannot diagnose skin conditions or prescribe medications.

  • It depends on the state in which you go to school. With the exception of Connecticut, in every state in the United States, estheticians must complete a minimum number of practice hours, generally around 600 hours. Estheticians who wish to pursue a specialty, such as medical aesthetics, will need more hours.

  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2018, hourly wages for skin care professionals range from $ 10.99 to $ 31.06, with an average salary of $ 19.82. In terms of annual salaries, the range is $ 22,850 to $ 64,610, with an average of $ 41,230. These numbers do not include tips, commissions, and other forms of compensation.

  •, a national resource for information on training, government licensing, and other aspects of the job of skin care professionals, highlights two specialties that estheticians can pursue, in particular:

    • Medical aesthetics, also known as paramedical aesthetics, which refers to skin care procedures performed in medical settings such as a dermatologist's office, spa , cosmetic surgery clinic, or hospital.
    • Cancer aesthetics requires an in-depth study of how to safely serve people undergoing treatment for cancer that can affect the skin, such as dryness and rashes.

  • A master esthetician is a professional who has received additional training to become licensed to perform complex procedures such as medium-depth chemical peels, lymph node drainage, and some laser treatments. Only Washington DC, Washington State, Utah, and Virginia recognize this higher level of licensing.

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