What’s the Difference Between a Dermatologist and an Esthetician?

In an ideal world, I’d never get pimples from stress and monthly hormone fluctuations. But until skincare Narnia exists, I’ll keep turning to a trusted dermatologist and esthetician to help keep my breakouts under control.

Chances are, if you deal with a persistent skincare concern like acne, you’ve probably asked yourself whether you should make an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist or get a facial at your favorite spa for extractions — or both. The fact of the matter is that the answer will vary depending on the specific needs of your skin.

What’s the Difference Between a Dermatologist and Esthetician?

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While dermatologists and estheticians are both skincare experts, they each have different wheelhouses of practice and services they provide. Ahead, Dr. Sheila Farhang, board-certified dermatologist, Ashley White, licensed esthetician, and Sharlena Hassani, licensed esthetician and founder/CEO of Artisan of Skin, break down the key differences, along with how to know who to see.

RELATED: What It’s Like Getting a Facial During COVID-19

What Is a Dermatologist and What Does It Take to Become One?

“A dermatologist is a medical doctor trained to diagnose and treat skin, hair, and nails conditions, over 3,000 conditions to be exact!” says Dr. Farhang. “In addition to general medical dermatology — eczema, acne, hair loss, rashes, skin cancer screening, etc. — dermatologists can sub-specialize in one or more field such as cosmetics, Mohs micrographic skin cancer surgery, dermatopathology, and pediatrics.”

Dermatologists also participate in some sort of research and public writing during their training or throughout the career, and may even focus on the topics covered in these studies and papers.

“Some dermatologists are more dedicated to innovation, cutting edge technology, and technique and become thought leaders and key opinion leaders in the field,” Dr. Farhang elaborates. “These thought leaders help develop and test out new products and…

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