Why Do Estheticians Do Skin Analysis?

Esthetician performing a skin analysis on a client

Skin is an esthetician’s canvas. Like artists, they need to understand their medium type, texture and characteristics to perform skin analysis. If coaxing the beauty out of any skin is an esthetician’s goal, then skin analysis is the key to creating a masterpiece.

What is Skin Analysis?

Skin analysis is the process of identifying a client’s skin type, advantages and flaws, so you can recommend the best treatments. You will take a medical history, understand what the client is doing for their current skin regimen and identify goals to improve their skin.

How Does an Esthetician Perform a Skin Analysis?

The skin analysis begins when a client walks through the door with a visual appraisal of their appearance, evaluating their cosmetics, and looking for clues about lifestyle habits that affect their complexion. An ivory-skinned client not wearing a wide-brimmed hat on a bright day may need to learn more about sun damage. Clients with acne wearing thick, oily foundation might benefit from lighter options. Experienced estheticians glean a lot from just a look.

The second stage of a skin analysis is typically a questionnaire. The goal is to learn about your client’s daily habits, their concerns and their skincare products. You’ll review each point together after. Topics may include:

General Health

Skin is the body’s largest organ, so if your client is unhealthy, it shows. Learning more about a client’s well-being gives you a good sense of how receptive they are to making lifestyle changes that would benefit their appearance.


Smoking starves skin of oxygen, accelerating its aging process and contributing to wrinkles. It can also yellow the skin, making it leathery and causing age spots.


You are what you eat. While much of skin’s quality is genetic, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables supports elasticity. Diets lacking in essential nutrients are often inflammatory and lead to redness or dryness.

Medical Conditions

Medical conditions can directly impact skin’s health. People with diabetes, for example, suffer from glycation, a process that impairs circulation and cellular regeneration. This can also make someone more susceptible to infection, so treatment precautions are a must.


Allergies are a common cause of redness and rashes. It’s also critical for you to know if your client has allergies, especially to sunscreen or other ingredients in skincare products.


Dozens of medications can exacerbate sun damage. Others may react with ingredients in skincare products. Estheticians need the full picture before they choose what to apply.

Hours Spent Outdoors

The amount of time your client spends outdoors can cause wrinkles. Knowing the reason behind why a client has wrinkles or other signs of again will change how you treat the issue. You should always take into account whether your client has leathery skin because of smoking or long-term exposure from working outside as this will affect treatment choice.

Skincare Routine

Using the wrong cleansers, scrubs and moisturizers for your skin type, or using the right products at the wrong consistency, can be irritating. Knowing what products clients use regularly helps you determine if they’re to blame for redness and what changes to recommend. It also offers insight into what types of treatments are a good fit for someone’s lifestyle.

The final step in skin analysis for an esthetician is a close-up examination. Technology is evolving, and today’s skincare specialists can choose from a wide range of equipment to refine their exam, from devices that measure sebum to 3D facial analyzers. But an esthetician’s primary tools remain touch, assessing texture with your fingers helps find subtle irregularities.

Magnifying lamps can make it easy to see the smallest irregularities that you might be feeling on a client’s skin. Equipped with cool bulbs that don’t distort skin tone, these lamps come in several configurations from stationary floor models to wheeled styles maneuverable around chairs during an examination. Some come with storage and vaporizers to make easy work of cleaning the client’s face.

What Does an Esthetician Look for During a Skin Analysis?

Skin rarely fits neatly into one category, but characteristics like skin type, texture, redness, rashes and clogged pores help guide treatment choices.

Skin Type

Skin type is genetic, but environmental factors can influence it. The four basic categories include normal, dry, oily and combination skin.

Normal – this skin is well-balanced, moisture and oil production are average, pores are refined, circulation is optimal, and blemishes are rare. Treatments are preventative, emphasizing products and lifestyle changes that prevent premature aging and enhance the look and feel of skin.

Dry – skin that is a frequent complaint. A result of genetic and environmental factors from pollution to extreme weather, dry skin lacks natural moisture and produces less protective sebum. Prone to redness from UV rays, a dry complexion looks dull and is less resilient. Fine wrinkles are exaggerated, and skin texture looks rough, leaving clients with fast-aging skin. Treatments focus on restoring the balance of moisture without causing greasy skin.

Oily – overactive sebaceous glands cause oily complexions. Called seborrhea, it leaves clients vulnerable to blemishes, including acne. It has a greasy feel and a shiny look over the forehead, chin and nose. Like dry skin, oiliness is influenced by genetics, but stress, hormonal changes and diet play a role. Treatments should reduce redness and irritation.

Combination Skin – the most common type of skin and requires special consideration. A blend of oily and dry areas, combination skin is characterized by excessive sebum in the T-zone, the forehead nose and chin while cheeks tend to be dry. Pores are often large and visible. Treatments are geared toward reducing pore size and balancing the look of dry and oily areas. It demands an individualized approach.

Some estheticians also consider sensitive skin, skin prone to inflammation, a distinct type. It requires careful handling and the mildest products.

Fitzpatrick Skin Type

The Fitzpatrick skin scale classifies skin’s sensitivity to sunlight based on someone’s genetic characteristics, according to DermNet NZ. It helps estheticians identify which clients are at the highest risk for sun damage to recommend products with the right SPF level.  There are six categories, differentiated by these genetic characteristics:

Type 1 — blonde or red hair, green or blue eyes, pale or freckled white skin that burns without tanning

Type 2 — blue eyes, pale complexion, burns easily, rarely tans

Type 3 — fair skin with brown eyes and brown hair, burns first and then tans

Type 4 — light brown skin, dark eyes, dark hair, skins burns first but tans readily

Type 5 — brown skin, eyes and hair, rarely burns, tans quickly

Type 6 — dark brown skin, hair and eyes, never burns, tan only deepens


Texture refers to the skin’s surface condition. Healthy skin texture is soft, elastic and feels tight under your fingers. Coarse skin feels less firm and is usually uneven due to dryness or rashes.

Feeling for texture is important because the epidermis can look smooth but have enough subtle imperfections to affect how it scatters light and dims the complexion’s luminosity.


Redness is a symptom of inflammation. Clients with chronic skin conditions that cause it, such as rosacea, may consult estheticians to lessen its effects. It can also be a clue to sensitivity and will help guide treatment choices.


Rashes can be reactive, an inflammatory response to environmental factors like air pollution. Or they can be symptoms of underlying conditions that require medical treatment.

Clogged Pores

Clogged pores are caused by a combination of excess sebum, dirt and dead epidermal cells. When darkened by oxidation, they’re called blackheads. If bacteria get trapped inside, and they get infected, pus forms and creates a whitehead. Each requires a different type of treatment, followed by a maintenance regimen that minimizes pore size and reduces surface sebum.

What is the Goal of a Skin Analysis?

The goal of skin analysis is to collect the information you need to improve the client’s appearance. The more you know, the better equipped you are to make recommendations.

How Does Someone Become an Esthetician?

Almost every state awards a license to estheticians. Most require a diploma or certificate in cosmetology or esthetics, but the number of mandatory credit hours varies. Some programs offer more training than others at a higher cost, but it’s only a good value if it applies to your career plans.

There are two types of esthetics practices to choose from, spa and medical. A spa esthetician offers services that promote relaxation while enhancing personal appearance. For example, combining a face and scalp massage with a detoxifying peel and cosmetic application for a special event. Medical estheticians work with physicians, such as dermatologists or cosmetic surgeons, complementing their work. For example, teaching corrective skincare and cosmetic techniques to patients with facial scars.

Both types of esthetician might want additional training. Spa estheticians often branch out into massage while medical estheticians might want additional training in microdermabrasion or electrolysis. Either way, getting a vocational school diploma is the fastest way to get out of the classroom and earning a paycheck. In only 5 months, you could be gaining practical experience while discovering where you want your career to go.

Final Thoughts

A doctor can’t diagnose illness without an examination, and estheticians can’t get the bottom of ailing skin without a complete skin analysis. It’s an essential skill for a successful practice.

If you have a passion for performing skin analysis and improving skin health, 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.

The Definitive Guide to Esthiology

Patient at esthiology clinic being seen by esthetician

Interested in becoming an esthetician? Esthiology is the cosmetic practice of caring for a person’s skin. An esthetician is a trained professional who uses various tools, products, and techniques to help clients maintain the health and beauty of their skin. Enhancing the appearance and integrity of someone’s skin takes a lot of different skills. It can be difficult because everyone’s skin is different, and we all have different goals for our appearances.

Practical Skills of Esthiology

If you want to get into esthiology it’s probably best to know what will be expected of you in terms of performance. These are some of the tasks any esthetician would be required to perform day-to-day.


A facial is a process that uses products such as creams and cleansers to help clean and hydrate skin. This is typically part of a larger skincare process and can include some exfoliation component, as well. Facials can range from the serenely minimalistic to the lavishly elaborate depending on the needs and wishes of the client.

Skin Treatment

Skin treatments deal with keeping skin smooth, firm and evenly toned. These treatments are can be invasive and intense. They include skin solutions such as chemical peels, laser treatments, light therapies, heat-based options, and injection treatments.


Applying makeup isn’t usually something that a client seeks an esthetician’s help for directly. More often they will seek out a specified makeup artist for makeup assistance. However, there a lot of people who prefer to seek makeup advice from estheticians because they want to keep their skin safe from products that might damage it. So even if makeup application isn’t a daily thing, it is still important to know the products.

Hair Removal

Getting rid of unwanted hair is a big part of esthiology. It is an incredibly significant part of most estheticians’ days and there are several different ways of getting the job done. A couple of the ways an esthetician will be asked to remove hair directly is by waxing or threading. Laser, sonic and thermal treatments are also hair removal solutions, but they require specialized equipment and training.

Physical Academic Knowledge of Esthiology

Studying esthiology doesn’t require you to go out and get your doctorate, but it does require you to know a little bit about the human body. Since esthiology deals directly with people’s bodies it only makes sense that there is a basic understanding behind that interaction.

Basic Dermatology

Again, esthiology in no way requires you to become a dermatologist. But if your whole job is dealing with the appearance and health of other people’s skin it is a good idea to know what you’re working with. Understanding the different layers of skin, the functionality of skin and skin variations is vital to safely and successfully practicing any part of esthiology.

Human Anatomy

Different parts of the body have different types of skin. For example, the skin that makes up the bottoms of your feet is different than the skin that makes up your eyelids. An esthetician must understand these differences in order to understand how different treatments or procedures might affect a client’s skin. What may be an effective skin treatment on one area of the body may not be on a different area of the body.

Cosmetic Skin Analysis

Being able to assess a person’s skin is a visual skill that is important for professional success as an esthetician. A proper cosmetic skin analysis can help determine the origins of a skin problem, identify the boundaries of a skin tone difference, or ensure that an area of skin is safe to work on. It is necessary that anyone in the field of esthiology perform a proper analysis for the safety and satisfaction of their clients.

Common Skin Disorders

Becoming familiar with common skin disorders is helpful for a couple of different reasons. First, it allows you to quickly identify any conditions that may be hazardous or contagious. Quick identification can help keep yourself and other clients safe. However, not every skin condition is dangerous. Another reason to familiarize yourself with common skin conditions is to allow you to be more sensitive and helpful to any clients you may encounter who have them.


Nutrition doesn’t seem like it would be an obvious part of esthiology. However, there is a significant amount of skin health that can be altered and enhanced through diet. What we see on the outside is, in many cases, a result of what happens on the inside. Esthiology can help give you a deeper understand of the relationship between the vitamins and nutrients we get in our diets and the way that our skin looks.

Social and Motivational Skills of Esthiology

As with all cosmetic professions, esthiology is a people profession. Dealing with people’s skin appearance can be touchy and stressful. There can be communication challenges, self-esteem issues and high demands. To be a successful esthetician you will need to know how to interact with others while maintaining your inner calm and enthusiasm.

Lifestyle Advice

Clients may seek an esthetician’s advice about areas of their life that affect their skin. For example, a client may ask if a certain habit they have is affecting their skin’s appearance. Or they might ask if a product they like will interfere with a procedure they are considering. These exchanges can be a bit touchy if you aren’t paying close attention to your words. Basic communication skills go a long way here. Choose your words wisely when asking questions and be understanding of your client’s sensitivities.

General Passion for Skincare

Loving what you do can mean the difference between being great and being merely satisfactory. A passion for skincare isn’t necessary to become an esthetician, but it is required if you want to be a good at it. Passion provides an attention to detail and a level of dedication that doesn’t seem to be matched by people who aren’t enthusiastic about what they do. Excitement can help focus that reinvigorates your work.

Eye for Beauty

An eye for aesthetic never hurts in a cosmetic profession. Beauty and appearance are the artistic portion of an esthetician’s job. Having a keen sense of what is appealing can give you the edge when it comes to client satisfaction. However, it is important to remember that the job of an esthetician is to make the client feel attractive and confident. This sometimes means a difference of opinion in what exactly is “beautiful.” Never let your artistic eye be prioritized over what a client wants done (or not done) to their own body.

Helping Others

At the heart of it, esthiology is about helping others look and feel as good as they possibly can in their skin. This can mean major alterations to help them feel more like themselves. It can also mean simply enhancing a client’s natural glow. There is certainly a sales component to the job of being an esthetician, but you should never try to make a client unhappy with themselves on purpose just to increase your profits. Try to increase your service and product sales with supportive suggestions instead of destructive ones.

Learning New Things

If you are going to be effective in esthiology you should have a love of learning. There are new techniques, products, and equipment available in the field all the time. Tech enhancements and new products are made at an incredible speed. Every time a new procedure is discovered it is an esthetician’s job to learn about it if they hope to stay competitive in the field. You will also have to stay alert to any new skincare products or lines that a client may ask you about. Continuing your learning can involve learning the steps of a process, how to use new tools, and keeping up with the latest industry and customer reviews of a new product. Staying up to date with current trends and the latest developments in esthiology will allow you to give your clients the most options and the best service available.

Client Appeal in Esthiology

There are a lot of different reasons that a client might call and make an appointment to see an esthetician. Even though the specific reasons might be different, all clients come to an esthetician for help with their skin in one of three areas.


The most common reason that someone will seek out the expertise of an esthetician is because they aren’t happy with something about their skin. This self-consciousness can lead into a crisis of confidence that can be difficult to get out of without professional intervention. An esthetician has the ability to solve all kinds of confidence issues relating to the skin. It could be some stubborn, embarrassing hair that your client needs help removing. It might be that they are having an issue balancing the tone or texture of their skin. Whatever the case is, someone trained in esthiology is going to be able to help make a client feel better by helping them highlight what they like about their skin and helping correct what they don’t.


Generally, people go to a dermatologist if they are having a serious problem with their skin. Dermatologists are qualified to give definitive diagnoses and prescriptions for skin related issues. However, there are minor skin issues that can easily be addressed by a cosmetic professional rather than a medical one. Acne, oiliness, and dryness are among the most common. There are a lot of different products and treatments that can help balance out the health of a client’s skin without having to involve a doctor.


There are times when a client might feel like making an appointment with an esthetician for no reason at all. They don’t have anything that they need help with, necessarily, but getting a facial or skin treatment seems relaxing. These are wellness appointments. Even though these treatments have different benefits for your client’s skin, sometimes it isn’t their skin that needs the work. Making an appointment for a relaxing day at the spa with an esthetician is a fantastic way to show oneself a little TLC.

Did learning about esthiology interest you? 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.

Anti-Aging Tips and Tricks

As each year passes, you work hard to maintain a youthful perspective on life. Unfortunately, sun exposure, diet, and the natural aging process all conspire to make you look a lot older than you feel. Thankfully, it’s never too late to turn the clock back a few years. These helpful hints will allow you to maintain a more youthful visage:

Daily Sunscreen

Sunlight exposure is one of the chief causes of premature skin aging. Most people are smart enough to apply ample sunscreen while hanging out at the beach, but daily application is not a common phenomenon. Daily use of a high-SPF sunscreen is imperative, however, as sun exposure can prove harmful even in small doses, on cloudy days, and through windows. Look for broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, as this will protect you from the ill effects of both UVA and UVB rays. In addition to wearing sunscreen, invest in a big floppy hat and a pair of good sunglasses. These accessories prevent squinting, another top culprit behind premature wrinkles.

Hydration and a Healthy Diet

What you put in your body can be every bit as important as the products you apply to your skin. A good diet is paramount to wrinkle prevention, as is sufficient water consumption. To keep your skin line-free, load your diet with fruits and vegetables — and avoid refined sugars. Add a cup or two of green tea to your daily routine; multiple studies indicate that those who regularly consume green tea are able to keep fine lines and other signs of aging at bay.

Anti-Aging Tips and Tricks

Retinoid Creams

Long a go-to solution for skincare-conscious individuals of all ages, retinol was originally marketed as an acne solution. Although it remains a popular acne and psoriasis treatment to this day, it has developed an even closer connection with the anti-aging community.

Retinoid products prompt faster turnover of skin cells, thereby promoting growth among the cells that lie underneath that top layer of skin. A variety of over-the-counter retinol products are available, but many patients favor stronger products prescribed by dermatologists, including Renova and Retin-A.

Visiting an Esthetician

A variety of at-home solutions can enhance the look and feel of your skin, but if your regimen could use a boost, consider visiting an esthetician. Often confused with dermatologists, estheticians focus on improving overall skin appearance and quality, as opposed to treating medically-classified skin conditions. Many people visit dermatologists for medical treatment and estheticians in hopes of further improving the results achieved at the dermatologist. Treatment from an esthetician can take many forms; common services include facials, microdermabrasian, chemical peels, and collagen induction.

From preventative care to regular esthetician visits, a wide variety of simple solutions can give your skin the youthful appearance you desire. Whether you wish to improve your own youthful glow or help others achieve a younger look, you can reach your beauty goals by attending the Minnesota School of Cosmetology.