Dermatologist vs. Esthetician: Which One Is Best For Your Skincare Needs?

dermatologist vs. esthetician

If a skin utopia existed, we would all live in a land of blemish-free smooth, supple-looking skin. But we aren’t that lucky. Furthermore, we sometimes need professional help in maintaining or achieving clear skin. In fact, 64.5% of persons are most likely suffering from skin abnormalities. If you are considering professional intervention for your skin, there are a couple of things you need to know. You may be considering help for your skin woes in the form of a Dermatologist or Esthetician. However, which one is the right for your skincare needs? Let’s review the dermatologist vs. esthetician debate.

What is an Esthetician? 

An esthetician is a cosmetic professional who provides a service that is geared towards improving skincare. Estheticians deal specifically with the “look” of your skin, through applying different treatments. They are certified to do the following 

  • Recommend a skincare routine 
  • Apply a variety of facials  
  • Hair removal (sugaring and waxing)
  • Mild chemical peels (in some states) 

These are licensed practitioners who complete specific courses to provide a range of client treatments.  Some are even trained in electrolysis, and acne treatments. However, most will provide services geared towards appearance. Furthermore, an esthetician may advice a client to visit a dermatologist if they recognize a serious issue.

Medical Estheticians and Spa Estheticians

Estheticians can work anywhere between a regular spa, salon, and even some medical spas. Medical estheticians focus on medical care and sometimes work in physician’s offices. Spa estheticians add services that deal with relaxation techniques. These include aromatherapy, massage, or reflexology. Estheticians are a type of beauty care specialist that (as the name would suggest) focuses on the way your skin would look or feel. 

What is a dermatologist? 

A dermatologist is a doctor that specializes in hair, skin, and nails. They treat and identify specific conditions that may occur impacting the multiple sensitive areas of the body. The skin is the largest organ of the body. So your dermatologist must be aware of what’s happening to the minute detail. Dermatologists have extensive training and knowledge on the science of all skin types. Furthermore, they are certified by the American Board of Dermatology (ABD).. Board certifications give them additional skills, like managing your safety. Some dermatologists treat the following: 

  • Skin lesions
  • Acne
  • Skin Rashes 
  • Hyperpigmentation 
  • Eczema and Rosacea
  • Skin Cancer
  • Dermatitis 
  • Infections
  • Loss of Hair 
  • Problems with nails 

In 2019 the CDC recorded a minimum of 44 million visits a year to the dermatologist. A visit to a dermatologist can not only improve your skin through recommendations and treatment. They can identify underlying health issues that show up. These anomalies appearing on your skin, which can be treated, may be life-threatening. Like estheticians, dermatologists can also provide techniques to improve the appearance of your skin and hair.

Some in-office procedures that you can find at your Dermatologist are: 

Laser Therapy: these are used to remove hair, blood vessels, redness and to rejuvenate aging skin.

Cryotherapy: Uses extremely cold temperatures in order to remove tumors and warts. 

Non-invasive procedures: like botox, fillers, microneedling and chemical peels. 

RF Microneedling: Combining microneedling and radiofrequency, your dermatologist can treat wrinkles, remove dead skin, and improve the appearance and feel of skin.


Dermatologist vs Esthetician (Is it Just Skin Deep)? 

Both dermatologists and estheticians deal with the cosmetic side of skincare. They can treat skin issues to improve your appearance through simple procedures. 

These two professionals are great at taking care of your skin. 

There are significant differences between estheticians and dermatologists. However, dermatologists take skin-care a couple of steps further by providing medical advice. 


A dermatologist is, therefore, qualified to diagnose and treat the skin. A dermatologist can also provide recommendations to another specialist based on your needs. Think of a dermatologist as a person more focused on the healthier side of your skin, not just the appearance. A dermatologist can treat issues like skin cancer. They can perform mole removals and cyst removals. 

Estheticians focus on the surface of your skin. There are some instances where estheticians work under the supervision of a dermatologist. 

Which do I choose? 

Sometimes you just need to call a doctor. A dermatologist can diagnose serious acne issues, rash, bumps, or dryness. Quick fixes for recurring acne issues may not work. Consider this; why treat a problem without knowing the underlying issue? 

A dermatologist gives a thorough assessment before recommending possible treatment. For instance, what may look like a harmless mole can be cancerous and deadly if untreated. Spots that may look like a sunspot can instead be melanoma. Do you do have painful skin issues or a problem that may need immediate attention? Then visit your dermatologist immediately.  For surgical skin procedures, it is also recommended you seek out a dermatologist. 

From a cosmetic standpoint, an esthetician is trained to provide treatments to improve the look and feel of your skin. Are you confident about your skin health? Do you just want to look or feel better? Then you can choose an esthetician.  A dermatologist can do much more.

What is Right for your Skin? 

In short, both dermatologists and estheticians are licensed to care for your skin. However, they can do so to different degrees. In the dermatologist vs. esthetician debate, it really depends on your needs. 

When it comes to understanding what’s happening with your skin, you should always seek expert advice. Some situations require you to speak directly to a dermatologist. But if you are looking for a more relaxing experience you can still visit an esthetician. 


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