Should I See an Esthetician or a Dermatologist?

First, for the record, you should definitely talk to a dermatologist if you notice anything that might be a symptom, such as a mole that’s large or evolving, and the AAD recommends screening yourself to make sure you know what’s normal for you.

-Dermatologist: Severe skin conditions.

Certain issues should only be addressed by a dermatologist. Specifically, deep and painful acne lesions, cystic acne, acne that’s already started to scar, severe redness, or anything that’s scabbing and crusting would warrant a visit to your dermatologist.

-Esthetician: Routine Maintenance or Pampering.

Esthetic procedures like facials, cleansing, exfoliation, extractions, peels and body polishes can be soothing, relaxing, and downright fun parts of one’s skin-care routine. Even though an esthetician won’t be able to offer treatments for severe or medical skin conditions, they may be able to improve the appearance of your skin overall.

-Estheticians and Dermatologist can work together.

It’s possible that an esthetician may refer you to a dermatologist, and vice versa. Warfield explains that, technically, estheticians are not allowed to treat any diseases of the skin. So, if they notice a lot of sun damage on the top of a client’s ear, for example, they can educate them on the importance of sun protection, but they will need to recommend that the client go see a derm for further evaluation.

Or perhaps they’ll see a client who wants help managing acne but finds that the client’s skin may actually benefit from prescription-strength treatment. Because estheticians cannot prescribe medications, they would, again, encourage the client to make an appointment with a dermatologist.

On the other hand, there are times when dermatologists call upon the services of estheticians. In particular, Dr. Chapas may refer younger patients, especially those who are more concerned with maintenance and prevention than any particular skin condition, to see an esthetician. And for some of her patients with acne, Dr. Chapas will suggest that they see an esthetician for a peel or microdermabrasion treatment, all the while treating them medically too.

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