How Do I Become a Medical Esthetician?

The way a person’s skin looks and feels can have a big impact on their self-esteem and overall quality of life. The appearance of a person’s skin not only has a direct impact on their social lives but could also prevent them from reaching their full potential on a professional level. Because of this, millions of people seek out the services of trained estheticians to help them achieve healthier looking skin.

Estheticians are trained professionals who help their clients address skincare issues, primarily the skin on their faces. The work an esthetician does is closely related to the field of dermatology, however, an esthetician is not a licensed dermatologist.

Medical estheticians work with clients and may provide skin care services and treatments for those who have undergone a medical diagnosis from a physician. If you are interested in becoming a medical esthetician keep reading to learn more about what services they provide and what their daily responsibilities entail, as well as what it takes to get started in this highly rewarding career field.

What is the Difference Between an Esthetician and Medical Esthetician?

The main difference is that most professional estheticians find work within spa settings, whereas medical estheticians work primarily within a medical clinic, plastic surgeon’s offices, rehabilitation clinics, or other types of healthcare facilities. Each professional will have different levels of skin care treatment, but both work with skin care as a whole. And, the medical esthetician may work alongside other professionals, like physicians and surgeons to help patients with skin issues.

What Does a Medical Esthetician Do?

The role of a medical esthetician is similar to the roll of a regular esthetician. The primary difference is that a medical esthetician will perform services for their clients while keeping a physician’s diagnosis in mind. While a medical esthetician is not a trained dermatologist, they do perform some of the same roles. Following is an explanation of what the main roles of a medical esthetician are.

Skin Care Treatments

Medical estheticians often have advanced training in skin care treatments. Because of this advanced training they can provide their clients with the appropriate skin care treatment options that are most suitable for their skin type or diagnosis. Medical estheticians receive valuable instruction during their course of study that prepare them to work with clients who may have more medically complex circumstances. Medical estheticians also provide education and support for clients who are dealing with significant medical issues such as trauma to the skin. They may show the client the appropriate way to take care of their skin, as well as advise them on which products they should avoid.


Medical estheticians are qualified to provide facials for their client’s skin and are also knowledgeable about what treatments to avoid. They may also utilize specialized facial treatments which have been formulated specifically for their condition. A facial treatment may be applied to reduce redness, inflammation, scarring, or acne flareups. These facials may also be part of the client’s pre-op or post-op skincare plan.

Full Body Treatments

Like regular estheticians, medical estheticians are licensed to provide full body treatments for clients to address their skin concerns in a gentle and effective manner. Full body treatments are like facials however, they are placed over the client’s entire body and are meant to cleanse, hydrate, and exfoliate the body’s skin. Some of these full body treatments include salt glows, seaweed body wraps, and clay wraps. These treatments are designed to leave the client’s skin looking healthier and can also be prescribed as a part of their overall treatment plan.

Professional Makeup Services

While salon stylists and cosmetologists are qualified to provide professional makeup services, medical estheticians serve a particularly unique clientele. Medical estheticians are trained to help clients who have received trauma, or whose features may have been significantly altered due to disease progression or surgery. Like traditional estheticians, medical estheticians have perfected many makeup techniques including contouring, shading, dramatic eyeliner looks, bronzing, and enhancing the lips. They may also educate the client on how to recreate these looks at home to minimize any perceived imperfections.

Nutrition Education

The condition and appearance of a person’s skin is often dependent upon their dietary habits. For example, a person who stays hydrated and fills their diet with leafy greens, fruits, and lean protein will have a much clearer complexion than a client who eats unhealthily and doesn’t hydrate. A client’s dietary habits may be particularly important if they are also dealing with chronic illness or a skin condition. Medical estheticians are qualified to give recommendations to their clients to address their unique skincare concerns.

Hair Removal Services

Another important service that medical estheticians provide is hair removal services. These services may be provided using different methods, including waxing, electrolysis, threading, plucking, and lasers. A medical esthetician will have advanced knowledge pertaining to which hair removal services should be used on clients who have medical conditions. They may assess the condition of their client’s skin and then provide them with recommendations on the types of hair removal services that won’t irritate or damage their skin.

Skin Color Correction

Skin color correction is one of the most popular services that medical estheticians provide for their clients. Color correction may address areas of hyperpigmentation, redness, rosacea, and other conditions that may cause unevenness in a client’s skin tone. These correctional services may include facials, gentle skin peels, creams, moisturizers, and microdermabrasion.

Chemical Peels

Some of the most popular treatments that a medical esthetician provides for their clients are chemical peel treatments. These treatments are used to address skincare issues like wrinkles and discoloration. Because medical estheticians have received specialized training, they may treat facial scars on a client’s skin with chemical peel treatments. Chemical peel treatments work by gently removing the outer layers of the skin to reveal healthy, new skin cells underneath.

Address the Effects of Sun Damage

One of the leading causes of discoloration, wrinkles, and other common skin issues is sun damage. Sun damage can occur slowly over time and becomes more apparent as a person ages. A Medical esthetician can treat the effects of a client’s sun damage using facials, topical serums, and chemical peels to gently exfoliate the outer most layer of the skin. These techniques address hyperpigmentation due to sun exposure as well as minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

How Do You Become a Medical Esthetician?

An easy way to become a medical esthetician is to complete a vocational diploma program and obtain licensure to practice as an esthetician. When attending full time, it takes as little as five months to successfully complete the program.

Final Thoughts

The job growth of skin care specialists is expected to grow 29 percent over the next decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Medical estheticians provide a valuable service for clients who are dealing with complex skin issues, yet still want to look and feel their best. If you’re thinking of a career that allows you to make a positive impact in the lives of people, you may want to consider a career as an esthetician. By taking the first step and signing up for a vocational diploma program you’ll be on your way to enjoy a fulfilling career in this exciting industry.

Now that you know how to become a medical esthetician, ready to learn more? If so, you could begin your career as an esthetician at the Minnesota School of Cosmetology (MSC). 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.

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