I don't know anyone who would pass up a facial. There's the spa-luxury aspect for sure, but then you hear the fairytale stories—that once you find the right aesthetician, finicky skin is solved, and it's nothing but clear-complexion sailing from here on out. But what happens when your trip to the facialist fails to leave your skin glowing for any sizable length of time? Although opting for peels, scrubs, and light therapy isn’t necessarily bad, they might not be what your skin really needs. Before you splurge on another treatment, consider the possibility your latest skin issue might, in fact, be a job for the dermatologist. To help you determine which expert’s opinion to seek when, here are a few points explained to make the most of your visit.
First things first: What's the primary difference between a dermatologist and an esthetician?
To state the obvious: A dermatologist is a doctor and an esthetician is not. By definition, a dermatologist is a medical doctor who has completed pre-medical studies in undergrad, four years of medical school, a one-year internship most commonly in internal medicine, three years of dermatology residency, and has passed national examinations for licensure and board certification. But estheticians study, too. While the educational requirements vary from state to state, 500 hours seems to be the norm. The best of the bunch are schooled in various skin conditions, as well as on how to treat common problems with non-invasive procedures and non-prescription products. However, an esthetician’s ability is primarily relative to their amount of experience in the industry.Someone who has been doing facials for 10 years is going to have better skills in, say, extraction than someone fresh out of school.
What skin problems can be addressed and solved from a trip to an aesthetician?
Acne, mild breakouts, sensitivity, dry patches, and aging concerns. Ultimately, it depends on your esthetician’s expertise and your exact needs, but call your esthetician if you’re looking for: microdermabrasion, extractions, pore cleansing, acid peels, exfoliating treatments, waxing, superficial skin peels, and various light, laser, ultrasound and radiofrequency procedures.
What exactly requires a dermatologist's eye?
Anything more than just basic skincare concerns. This includes skin cancer checks, checking moles or other skin growths, hair loss, severe acne, eczema, psoriasis, rashes, hives, etc. And if you’re looking for some serious cosmetic treatments, many dermatologists these days are trained in cosmetic dermatology and can even perform fillers, injections, and laser treatments.
How can you know if a visit to the derm is what your skin needs?
Although both an aesthetician and a dermatologist can offer advice for proper daily skin care, some skin issues require advanced medical treatment—think anything that might require a biopsy, surgical removal, an aggressive treatment, or an invasive procedure. However, there are other non-medical times when a dermatologist is also needed. Visiting a doctor for even the most straightforward procedures like facials or peels if you think you might be at a higher risk for adverse side effects is being smart. Those with darker skin or a history of scarring should be cautious and seek out a dermatologist for these specific treatments. Better to be safe than sorry.
Do dermatologists and estheticians ever work together?
Yes, it's a great relationship when one—the derm—oversees skin health on a global basis and the aesthetician helps to carry out the plan outlined by the derm. Ask your dermatologist about specific ingredients that would be helpful for your particular skin type, then refer to your aesthetician to help find them in products.
Bottom line: If you’re just having a bit of a flare up, are concerned about recurring pimples, need new product recommendations or just want to relax to the sweet soundtrack of a babbling brook, hit the spa. If you’re having some serious battles with your skin, think meds might be the solution, or want a more invasive procedure done, book an appointment with your derm. And for the best treatment around, see both.