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Dermatologist vs Esthetician: Who's Better for My Skin Care?

Dermatologist vs Esthetician

When getting professional advice for your skin’s health, you might wonder if visiting an esthetician or a dermatologist is the better decision for you. Some might also question what the difference between a dermatologist vs. esthetician even is, or how their skill sets differ.

Having the right skin care regimen is key to keeping skin healthy and looking and feeling its best - but how do you know which professional to visit for advice about your routine?

Table of Contents

  • What is a Dermatologist?
  • What Do Dermatologists Do?
  • What is an Esthetician?
  • What Do Estheticians Do?
  • Esthetician vs. Dermatologist
  • Final Thoughts
  • If you’re looking for a go-to when your skin looks in need of some assistance, knowing the difference between these two professions makes a world of difference in attaining the right treatment processes and in getting the best possible advice to keep skin healthy. It can also make a big difference in ensuring that you’re receiving the right care for your skin concerns.

    So what’s the difference between a dermatologist vs. an esthetician, and which one is right for you? We’ll address what each profession does and how they can help you in your skincare journey. 

    READ: How to Get Smooth Skin: Top Dermatologist Recommendations

    What Is A Dermatologist? 

    A dermatologist is a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating skin diseases and provides medical care for your skin’s health. 

    These doctors are trained and can be consulted for conditions, concerns, or just upkeep relating to hair and nails. They may also be certified in performing cosmetic procedures and can diagnose and treat thousands of skin conditions or issues. Their medical training and background allow them to identify systemic diseases and provide medical advice. 

    Dermatologists are trained to treat the skin, including conditions like acne and psoriasis, as well as mucous membranes, which include the mouth and eyelids. 

    They’re usually a go-to for those who experience chronic skin conditions or who need medical advice since they’re trained to diagnose skin problems on all parts of the body. 

    READ: Working with Different Skin Types

    What Do Dermatologists Do?

    Now that you know what dermatologists are, you might still wonder what they do in their day-to-day practices. 

    Dermatologists tend to work with patients who have chronic conditions that require frequent medical treatment as well as those who suffer from more severe ailments but can also aid in situations like allergic reactions or rashes.

    Girl checking her arm for a skin condition

    Dermatologists can diagnose skin conditions like rashes and eczema, as well as prescribe medications for the treatment of these conditions and those for acne, herpes, warts, and more.  

    It’s recommended to have your skin inspected by a dermatologist routinely to make sure you’re taking proper care of it and to catch any possible abnormalities before they progress. 

    Since they specialize in the diagnosis of benign (non-cancerous) or cancerous growths on the skin like moles, cysts, melanomas, superficial spreading melanoma, nodular melanoma, and other lesions like birthmarks, dermatologists can lend you a professional eye for skin concerns, and spot ones during routine visits that you may not have even noticed. 

    READ: Calendula Benefits for the Skin

    What Is An Esthetician?

    An esthetician is a skincare professional trained to help with the cleansing, exfoliating, moisturizing, and beautifying of the face and body. They're trained to offer facials, body treatments, and to recommend skincare products that will help you take the best care of the skin. 

    Also known as skincare specialists, estheticians work with their clients to examine the skin's condition and discuss potential options for non-medical treatments to improve the appearance of the skin. Some estheticians at salons or spas use advanced techniques and equipment to reduce fine lines, remove wrinkles, treat acne, and help with other conditions.

    READ: Working with Dry vs Dehydrated Skin

    What Do Estheticians Do? 

    In addition to offering skin care services like facials or laser treatments, being an ‘esthetician’ can also be a blanket term that involves a number of sub-concentrations. 

    These different subsets within the broader spectrum of being an esthetician can include focusing on massages or hair removal, while others procure medical licenses that qualify them to administer certain procedures like Botox injections or chemical peels.

    Estheticians can operate from a salon, an esthetician’s office, their home, or do house calls depending on their services and their specialties.

     Though many focus on beauty or cosmetic-related tasks like providing skin care treatments and advice to improve skin or providing hair removal services for clients, this career field is ever-evolving and provides freedom, independence, and flexibility. 

    READ: How to Become an Esthetician: The Ultimate Guide

    Estheticians vs. Dermatologists

    Though these two professions differ and have different responsibilities and specialties, they’re often very easy to get mixed up, especially if you’re not sure what you’re looking for. When it comes to determining what an esthetician does vs. a dermatologist, knowing which is best for your skincare is key to keeping your skin in its best condition. 

    In short, estheticians focus on beauty-related tasks like providing skincare advice and improving the overall appearance of the skin, whereas dermatologists are medically trained experts who deal exclusively in providing diagnostics relating to diseases that impact our skin.

    While both can provide recommendations for products that target your specific needs, only a dermatologist is trained to perform procedures like removing skin growths or performing biopsies.

    Even though an esthetician may be able to help you with skin conditions like rashes or eczema, they’ll most likely recommend that you schedule an appointment with a dermatologist if you have persistent issues.

    These two professions align when it comes to preventing the signs of aging while maintaining healthy skin. If you’re interested in keeping your skin in its top condition, it’s best to schedule regular appointments with both an esthetician for hair removal or aesthetic services and a dermatologist to keep your skin maintained and treated in the case of persistent conditions. 

    READ: Waxing & Dry Skin

    What are Esthetician Services? 

    When you think of an esthetician, the first words that might come to mind are in the realm of beauty treatments, pampering, or relaxing. And you’d be right! Estheticians perform a range of services for skin, including anything from facials and chemical peels, to waxing and laser. But what can these treatments do for your skin? 

    • Facials: One of the most popular esthetician services you can get is facials. A facial can help you achieve smoother-looking skin, and can allow your skin to be brightened and enriched. Many facials remove gentle amounts of dead surface cells from the outermost layer of the skin, while also helping with dryness and acne-causing bacteria.

    • Chemical Peels: These treatments are great for those who have an uneven tone or texture in their skin thanks to sun damage over time. However, chemical peels aren’t suited for everyone, so you'll want to consult with your dermatologist before booking this skincare treatment.

    • Extractions & Exfoliation: The process of exfoliation helps you improve texture and pigmentation while preparing you for further treatments. Estheticians can provide professional exfoliation treatments, as well as more invasive procedures like extractions to clear the skin and improve texture. 

    • Waxing: Estheticians can also provide waxing services for their clients, which can include hair removal for the face, brows, legs, bikini and pubic areas, and more. They’ll use only the most high-quality waxing products, like Starpil’s Blue Film or Pink Film Hard Waxes to provide excellent results while keeping your skincare routine intact. 

    Our convenient and compact Facial Waxing Kit is a must-have if you do a lot of eyebrow waxing and other facial waxing services! It comes with your choice of wax, a facial wax warmer, and Starpil pre and post-wax care.

    Facial Waxing Kit - Starpil Wax

    How Estheticians Improve Client Skin Texture:

    • Give facials and use deep-cleaning products that remove dirt, oil, makeup, or other environmental contaminants from the skin.
    • Cleanse with soothing products like aloe vera (which helps moisturize dryness caused by cold weather).
    • Distribute pre-moisturized creams as part of an exfoliation process to help skin look smoother and brighter.  
    • Use retinoids (medications that help cells grow more quickly) to reduce the appearance of wrinkles.

    If you’re looking for skincare treatments, keep in mind that you should always consult your dermatologist and esthetician alike when it comes to finding a skin care treatment that will work for you and your skin type. You can never have too much skincare knowledge!

    Maystar Essentials Skincare

    However, if you need for skincare products that are perfect for everyday or professional use, see what the Maystar Essentials line can do for your skin. From daily moisturizers to anti-aging creams, and even body peels or massage butters, these skincare products will rebuild your skin from the inside out with your daily routine.

    Can a Dermatologist Help with Skincare?

    A dermatologist can help determine the best skincare routine for you by examining your skin and using your medical background.

    Since dermatologists have special training in treating diseases that affect the skin, hair, and nails, they’re best qualified to determine how a particular product might impact your skin, and diagnose skin problems you might experience. 

    A dermatologist is also likely to be familiar with new developments in the field of medicine related to certain conditions or diseases and will be able to offer a safe treatment for a skin concern you might have. If you experience skin conditions that might have genetic causes or more persistent or recurring symptoms, they can also prescribe medication to control symptoms. 

    Some treatments may include medications like antibiotics, steroids (milder than cortisone), or retinoids, which are a form of vitamin A used for skin tissue repair. 

    Dermatologists can also provide topical treatments like gels and ointments, or suggest a procedure to help control your symptoms.

    READ: Introducing Maystar Essentials Skincare

    Should You See Both an Esthetician and a Dermatologist?

    Though it might seem like overkill, seeing both an esthetician and a dermatologist for your skin care needs is the best way to get all of your skincare issues taken care of properly. 

    Your dermatologist can develop a long-term plan that's best for your skin type and any health concerns you may have, whereas your esthetician will be able to deal with any cosmetic skin problems and provide advice regarding skin care products, routines, or recommend procedures like Botox, fillers, and laser treatments.

    Both professionals play a role in improving the appearance of your skin, so it's best to work with both of them regularly.

    READ: Little Known Tricks for Congested Skin

    Can a Dermatologist Help with Skincare?

    A dermatologist can help you with skincare by examining your skin and telling you what type of routine to follow. Dermatologists have special training in treating diseases that affect the skin, hair, and nails so they are best qualified to diagnose problems.

    Dermatologists can also prescribe medication to help you control your skin concern’s symptoms. Some treatments may include medications such as antibiotics, steroids (milder than cortisone), or retinoids, which are a form of vitamin A used for skin tissue repair. 

    They can also give you topical treatments like gels and ointments, or suggest a procedure to help control your symptoms.

    Are You Ready to See Both a Dermatologist and an Esthetician?

    Seeing both specialists is the best way to get all of your skincare issues taken care of. Your dermatologist can develop a long-term plan that's best for your skin type and any health concerns you may have. Your Esthie will be able to deal with any cosmetic skin problems, advise on what products may work best for your situation, help with skincare routines, and recommend procedures like Botox, fillers, and laser treatments.

    Both professionals play a role in improving the appearance of your skin. It's best to work with both of them regularly.

    No matter where you go, just keep in mind that the health of your skin is the number one thing to be concerned about. Your dermatologist and esthetician are there for two different reasons, so try to balance your visits to both to keep your skin in optimal condition.

    Final Thoughts

    Both dermatologists and estheticians play an important role in crafting the best skincare routine for their clients. Both can help to improve the overall look and feel of skin, but ultimately are different types of experts that both offer unique benefits depending on what your specific need may be. 

    By seeing both an esthetician and a dermatologist, you'll get the knowledge you need from them regarding how best to take care of your skin, as well as how to gain a better understanding of your specific skin type. 

    If you’re not sure who to see, you’ll want to consider your skin issues and what sort of advice and treatments you’re looking for. 

    Once you’re able to receive the medical or aesthetic advice you’re looking for, you’ll be well on your way to beginning the best routine or treatment regimen to keep your skin looking its best. 


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