Dermatology and Esthiology: An Esthetician’s Guide

Dermatologist working at her practice or spa using laser or dermabrasion machines

Skincare encompasses a range of services, products and procedures. While some can maintain healthy skin with their skincare routine, there are many people who prefer professionals. Skincare professionals help others in their pursuit of vibrant, youthful, healthy skin.

However, knowing what kind of skin care professional you need can be tricky. Dermatology and esthiology are both professional studies of skincare. While there is similarity, there are also significant differences between the areas of expertise. Let’s look at some of the differences and similarities in the dermatology and esthiology fields.

Differences Between Dermatology and Esthiology

Different Ranges in Care Abilities

Both Dermatology and Esthiology care for your skin. They both can also include services that care for your nails, hair, and scalp. There are, however, some major differences in the scope of services each profession provides. Many esthiology programs will have a class on dermatology.

What is Dermatology?

Dermatology is a medical field that diagnoses skincare conditions and treatments. This includes identifying rashes to diagnosing and treating skin cancers/disease. Whether acne conditions or a treatment as complex as a skin graft, dermatology deals with the medical and surgical sides of skin health. A dermatologist prescribes medications, treatments, therapies and recommends and performs surgical procedures. Dermatology encompasses life-saving and cosmetic medicine for various conditions.

What is Esthiology?

Esthiology is not a licensed healthcare profession, but it does focus on health and wellness. While dermatology deals with skin health in a medical sense, esthiology focuses on maintaining the health and appearance of your skin. Cosmetics is the main intention of esthiology, and estheticians can offer different services. An Esthetician performs peels, waxing, massage and cosmetic therapies. Treatment depends on your skin goals, preferences, and skin condition. The wellness aspects of esthiology focuses on skincare routines that help to maintain the integrity and glow of your skin.

Different Levels of Training

Due to the differences in their expertise, there are different education requirements for esthiology and dermatology. Not only do these studies differ in focus, but the length of time to complete the training for each field varies.

Dermatology focuses on a range of anatomy, diagnostic training and treatment. There are specialties within the field that varies the education requirements. For example, a dermatologist that focuses on surgical treatment will have different areas of study than someone studying dermatology research. Both will need to know how skin functions and reacts. So regardless of the end goals of a dermatologist, medical school is a standard requirement for all physicians.

Esthiology is an area of skincare study that focuses its training in areas of aesthetics. Estheticians focus mainly on techniques, methods and execution of the various services they will be offering. While there is basic skin health and anatomy covered in esthiology, it is geared heavily toward these services. This training also covers products, recommendations and explanations of new methods and tools.

Difference in Program Length

Becoming a dermatologist requires more training than esthiology. It can take 12 years to become a dermatologist. Esthiology programs can be completed in 12 months or less. The difference in these program lengths can be a deciding factor for those who debating between dermatology and esthiology. Along with being the more time-consuming option, the increased level of education required for a medical degree in dermatology also leads to it being the more expensive option.

Where Dermatology and Esthiology Intersect

People-Centered Service

Whether the focus is a patient’s health or a client’s happiness, estheticians and dermatologists are client facing professions. Even if it is in different ways, the purpose of both professions is to make people’s lives better.

People skills are a must in a majority of professions, but are especially necessary when dealing with personal issues. Sensitivity and compassion helps when you try to understand a person’s problems and concerns. People should be comfortable to open up about skin issues to professionals without fear of judgement. A rapport built on trust can result in the comfort of the patient or client, but it also increases their likelihood of returning.

Likewise, interpersonal skills are vital when trying to understand your client or patient’s results. If you misunderstand your client, it is almost impossible to avoid discouragement and frustration. Clients and patients want to feel hopeful, safe, and empowered.

No Amateurs Allowed

There are differences in the training requirements for both professions. Neither dermatology nor esthiology are safe to practice without being properly educated and certified. It is dangerous for clients to receive therapies and treatments for their skin from anyone who is not trained.

While this is more obvious in the case of dermatology, there can also be serious consequences if someone practices esthiology without an education. Even services such as facial and body hair waxing require proper storage and temperature control to avoid burns. A fundamental understanding of the waxing areas and skin issues that may be affected by hair removal is also important.

Training for dermatology and esthiology also gives skin care professionals an extensive knowledge about products. Dermatologists may recommend prescription or surgical solutions. They, along with certified estheticians, can also provide recommendations for more basic skincare products and remedies. Sometimes easy changes in skincare routines can fix a problem. Other times it can be as simple as switching to a gentler product formulated for their skin type. But regardless of the issue, the information and recommendations need to come from professionals to avoid using toxic or harmful products.

Want to learn more?

If you have a passion for skincare, you could begin your career as an esthetician at the Minnesota School of Cosmetology (MSC).  Our Esthiology Diploma Program is designed to be completed in under 5 months (600 clock hours) with full-time enrollment.  Our esthiology diploma program has been developed by talented, caring, real-world professionals, many of whom still work in the field.  We give our esthiology students experience in skincare, waxing, make-up, application of facials, and more.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming an esthetician and starting a rewarding career in the beauty industry.

*Completion time for this program is defined by 35 hours per week.

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