Friday, April 1, 2011

Skin Care 101: What is an Esthetician?

Photo: Sophie Berclaz from www.Fotolia.com
An esthetician is a trained professional whom is licensed to treat your skin topically and cosmetically, provide your skin with preventative care and give your skin treatments to help keep it young and healthy looking. According to the Milady's textbook, (the textbook that most, if not all aspiring estheticians study during their 600-hour program) an esthetician is, "A person devoted to, or professionally occupied with, the health and beauty of the skin." In real talk, that means an esthetician is a person who is licensed to touch your skin. Under the state-issued license, we can perform facials, facial massages, hair removal, body wraps, makeup application and treat acne.

An esthetician is not a doctor. Nor are we dermatologists, surgeons or physicians. Estheticians cannot prescribe medication, give medical advice or perform any sort of medical treatments. In the state of California, an esthetician cannot inject your skin with anything. It's illegal for us to use lancets on extractions. We also cannot perform laser treatments. Our license only allows us to treat the five most outer layers of the skin, which make up the epidermis. Our skin treatments stop where the blood flows. When it comes to the dermis layer, subcutaneous layer of skin and beyond, the skin has to be treated by a medical professional.

When most people think of an esthetician, they picture someone in the treatment room performing facials or a variety of waxing services. Besides working in a spa or salon, estheticians can also work as a makeup artist, brand representative, product specialist, cosmetic buyer, beauty advisor, educator or in a physician's office as an assistant performing esthetic treatments.

In the medical arena, estheticians work in plastic surgeon offices, dermatologist offices, medi-spas, hospitals, clinics and laser centers assisting medically trained professionals. The treatments that these estheticians can perform may include pre-and postoperative care, prepping the client for surgery or other medical services, camouflage makeup, microdermabrasion, patient education and retail sales.

Now more than ever, the field of esthetics is expanding. Ever since 1900, the average life span in the United States has doubled. People are getting older and living longer. Life is fast-paced and full of stress. Preventative care is the number one reason why clients visit an esthetician in the first place. Clients are realizing that the quickest way to stop congested, aging, saggy and unhappy skin is to prevent it from happening in the first place.

To learn more about how to become an esthetician, check out my recent post: Change careers this year with training at SFIEC.

Got questions? Post a comment and I'd be happy to answer.

13 comments:

  1. Woah, this was super helpful to an aspiring esthetician.

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  2. Yay! Glad you post my post helpful. Thanks!

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  3. I'm actually considering becoming an esthetician, so thanks for the useful information!! :)

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  4. This is a very helpful post! Thanks!

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  5. Good information! I really want to become an esthetician so this was really helpful! I'd love to talk more about the job and what it's like!

    ~Alex

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  6. there is only one school in my area that offers this kind of training but they only require 250 hours. That sounds like just the bare basics. What do you think is a good amount of training?

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    1. Wow! 250 hours is not a lot of time. I was in a program that required 600 hours. Even that didn't feel like it was enough. I'd keep researching other schools in your area.

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  7. Hello. I was looking into becoming a medical esthetician and was wondering if you could give me any tips on how to accomplish that? I'm located in FL. My goal is to work in a dermatology office, hospital, etc.

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    1. I'm not sure what the state requirements are for Florida, but in California there is no such thing as a medical esthetician. There are estheticians who work in a medical setting such as in a dermatology office, plastic surgeon office or a medical spa. Is this the type of environment you are looking to work in? If so, getting your esthetician license is where you want to start. Then once you graduate, look for a job in a doctor's office or medical spa that has estheticians. It's very common for this types of offices to NOT hire estheticians right out of beauty school. You might want to look into doing a few internships or finding a medical professional that is willing to train you to perform pre and post operational services within their office.

      Here's a great example of how different things can be from state to state for a licensed esthetician. In California, laser hair removal is performed by a Nurse Practitioner or an RN in a medical spa setting. In Washington, licensed estheticians can perform laser hair removal in this same type of setting. Check the requirements of the state you live in first and then go from there.

      Just remember, there's no such thing as a medical esthetician. But the scope of services you can perform as a licensed esthetician will vary some from state to state. Good luck!

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  8. When I got my facelift operation, that’s only the time that I encountered an esthetician. Thanks to them for making me feel better before my operation.

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    1. Thank you for posting this Alicia! There is tremendous value in seeing an esthetician. We don't just give pretty foo foo facials or wax body parts. We can also help prepare skin both pre and post surgery. :)

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  9. How do I report illegal practice for estetician and selling products that are not FDA approved. And this lady cuts skin and digs deep in the skin that causes bleeding. And the peeling solution she uses is very strong. Pls email me information on how to report so they can investigate her clinic in garden grove california. My email is tmisa317@yahoo.com thank you very much.

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  10. hi there !!! i just wanted to know if it was okay to become an esthecian if you're not so good at science...

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