Esthetician vs. Dermatologist: Who Should You See for Your Skincare Needs?

Esthetician vs. Dermatologist: Who Should You See for Your Skincare Needs?


When it comes to your skincare needs, understanding the roles of estheticians and dermatologists is essential for making informed choices about your health and beauty. Both professions play crucial roles in promoting healthy skin, but they have distinct differences in their scope of practice, training, and capabilities. In this article, we'll explore the roles of estheticians and dermatologists and help you determine when it's best to see each of them.

Estheticians: Masters of Skincare:

Estheticians are skincare specialists who focus on improving and maintaining the appearance and health of the skin. They receive specialized training in various treatments and procedures designed to enhance skin quality. Some key points to know about estheticians:

  1. Skin Assessment: Estheticians are skilled in assessing various skin conditions. They can identify common issues like dryness, oiliness, or signs of aging.

  2. Facials and Treatments: Estheticians offer facials, peels, exfoliation, and other non-invasive treatments that rejuvenate the skin. They can also provide guidance on at-home skincare routines.

  3. Education and Prevention: Part of an esthetician's role is educating clients on skincare practices and helping them prevent common skin issues.

However, there are limits to what estheticians can do:

  • Medical Prescriptions: Estheticians cannot prescribe or recommend medical-grade skincare products or medications. If a skin issue requires prescription treatment, they will refer you to a dermatologist.

Dermatologists: The Medical Experts of Skin:

Dermatologists are licensed medical doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating a wide range of skin conditions. Their extensive medical training qualifies them to address not only cosmetic concerns but also complex skin disorders. Here's what you should know about dermatologists:

  1. Medical Expertise: Dermatologists can diagnose and treat medical skin conditions such as skin cancer, psoriasis, eczema, and severe acne.

  2. Prescription Medications: They can prescribe medications, including antibiotics, retinoids, and immunosuppressants, to manage skin conditions effectively.

  3. Advanced Procedures: Dermatologists can perform medical procedures like skin biopsies, excisions, and laser treatments.

When to See an Esthetician:

  • Routine Skincare: If you're looking to maintain healthy, glowing skin and address minor concerns, an esthetician is an excellent choice.

  • Relaxation and Pampering: Estheticians offer spa-like treatments that help you relax and rejuvenate your skin.

  • Advice on Homecare: They can recommend skincare products and routines tailored to your skin type.

When to See a Dermatologist:

  • Medical Concerns: For skin issues beyond the cosmetic, such as persistent acne, unusual moles, or chronic conditions like psoriasis, consult a dermatologist.

  • Prescription Medications: If your skin condition requires prescription medications, a dermatologist can provide the right treatment plan.

  • Complex Procedures: Dermatologists are best equipped to perform skin surgeries and more advanced treatments.


Both estheticians and dermatologists play vital roles in skincare, but their areas of expertise and practice differ significantly. For routine skincare maintenance and non-medical treatments, estheticians are the go-to professionals. However, when faced with complex or persistent skin conditions requiring prescription medications or medical intervention, a dermatologist should be your first choice. By understanding the roles of these experts, you can make informed decisions about your skincare and overall well-being.