If you’ve been looking to make an appointment with a licensed dermatologist in Northern Colorado, you’ve likely found that many practices offer treatment from either a dermatologist or an esthetician. While both focus on skin health and operate at the same location, there are some key differences between the services they perform. To help you decide which skincare professional is best to fit your needs, here is some information to help you understand what are the differences between a dermatologist and an esthetician.

dermatologist examining patient

What Is a Dermatologist and What Is an Esthetician?

A dermatologist is a doctor that specializes in identifying and treating conditions involving the skin, hair, and nails.

An esthetician specializes in treatments that are designed to improve the appearance of the skin. Estheticians, however, are not medical doctors.

Both are trained to work with the skin, however, in different capacities. Dermatologists treat any medical problems with the condition of the skin, while estheticians are trained to perform treatments aimed at the beautification of the skin.

What Are the Differences in Education Requirements and Training?

Dermatologists are medical doctors who must undergo extensive education and training including four years of undergraduate to earn a bachelor’s degree, four years of medical school to earn their medical degree, one year of a specialized internship, and at least three years of residency. In order to become board-certified, dermatologists must also pass a difficult exam covering comprehensive information of their field.

Estheticians must be licensed by their state in order to provide service. However, they do not go through medical training. Estheticians are typically required to complete an esthetician or cosmetology program and they must pass a board-licensing exam to obtain state licensure. On average, estheticians are required to complete 600 hours of clinical hours, but that amount varies by state.

What Are the Responsibilities of a Dermatologist?

As mentioned, dermatologists are medical professionals who are trained and equipped to treat any health concerns or issues for the skin, hair, and nails.

Responsibilities of a dermatologist can include:

  • Diagnosis and treatment of skin disorders, diseases, or other concerns
  • Prescribing the appropriate medications for these conditions
  • Performing skin exams and being able to identify any abnormalities
  • Ordering medical tests
  • Performing surgery or other medical procedures when necessary
  • Performing cosmetic procedures beyond the scope of services available from an esthetician
  • Providing referrals to specialists whenever necessary

Common conditions treated by a dermatologist include:

  • Acne
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Rosacea
  • Skin Infections
  • Warts
  • Skin Cancer

Common procedures performed by dermatologists include:

  • Skin Biopsies
  • Dermabrasion
  • Mohs Surgery for Skin Cancer
  • Excisions
  • Skin Grafts
  • Laser Surgery or Treatment
  • Cosmetic Fillers
  • Chemical Peels
  • Treatment For Spider Veins

What Are the Responsibilities of an Esthetician?

Estheticians are skincare professionals but are not medically trained. They are trained to perform superficial treatments that will improve how a person’s skin looks and feels. They do not diagnose or treat medical conditions involving the skin. However, if a condition has already been identified, an esthetician is able to perform certain cosmetic treatments that will help in treating it.

Common procedures performed by estheticians include:

  • Facials
  • Microdermabrasion
  • Superficial Chemical Peels
  • Hair Removal
  • Acne Treatments
  • Body Wraps
  • Makeup Application
  • Airbrush Tanning

When Should You See a Dermatologist?

You should make your appointment with a licensed dermatologist for a number of reasons including, but not limited to:

  • Annual skin exams
  • Changes in skin
  • Rashes
  • Acne that does not improve with over the counter treatments
  • Treatment for skin conditions, diseases, or cancer
  • Cosmetic procedures such as Botox, injection fillers, laser hair removal
  • Concerns about hair or nails such as hair loss, ingrown nails, or fungal infections
  • Wart removal

When Should You See an Esthetician?

If you are primarily concerned about improving the appearance of your skin rather than treating a skin condition, you can make an appointment with a licensed esthetician instead. Reasons to see an esthetician can include:

  • For cosmetic procedures that treat the superficial layers of the skin including facials, acne treatments, and more
  • To discuss a new or more effective skincare regimen
  • For cosmetic treatments that can improve conditions diagnosed by a dermatologist

For more information about the differences between a dermatologist and an esthetician or for help in deciding what type of appointment you need, contact us at Front Range Dermatology Associates today.