Dermatologist vs Esthetician: Who Should You See?

When combating skin issues, there are two types of professionals you can see: a dermatologist or an esthetician. The difference between the two are simple. Dermatologist are trained professionals that treat diseases of the skin and can give prescribed medication. When it comes to which products are best, what a client’s skin care routine should look like and when to change products, estheticians are usually your go to professionals. For an esthetician, products and their ingredients are like prescriptions. A highly trained esthetician will know which products are best to use and when, plus educate clients on how to enhance the skin at home. 

Dermatology is a branch of the medical profession, practiced by licensed physicians who specialize in disorders of the skin. Esthetic practice specifically excludes diagnosis, prescription, or any other service, procedure, or therapy that requires a medical license. If you’re being treated by a dermatologist, your esthetician can provide complementary and support therapies. In addition, estheticians are trained to recognize early signs of many medical conditions affecting the skin, and will refer you to a dermatologist in such a case.

For some issues like acne and dryness, regular facial treatments are just the ticket to getting your skin back on track. But if you’re not seeing results it might be time to rethink your plan of attack. If after several months, a common issue like acne is not improving, it is recommend that clients go see a dermatologist. They might be able to produce faster results via a topical prescription.

Believe it or not, there are some issues estheticians are not allowed to treat. Some patients with conditions commonly treated by estheticians, like pigmentation, can also be passed along to the hands of a doctor if they need more intense treatment. While peels and home care can often reverse pigmentation, the condition can sometimes become more deep-set into the skin and require medicinal solutions. At this time your esthetician will refer you to a dermatologists.

Some conditions require a dermatologist’s treatment from the get-go. Psoriasis, for example, can be worsened by facial products and skincare treatments, therefore should be handled accordingly. Psoriasis should be treated with ultra-gentle products, a topical prescription and/or a strict diet plan, all of which should be doctor-recommended.