Dermatologist vs Esthetician: 6 Key Differences and Who To Choose For Healthier Skin

We’ll talk about what they do and when to pay them a visit. 

Researched, written by
Updated on January 10, 2023

Woman Choosing Between Dermatologist Vs Esthetician For Acne Problem

// We recommend helpful products in our articles. Read our full disclosure here.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful!

It's good to KNOW.

Subscribe to our newsletter for fresh, life-improving topics.

“Can you explain dermatologist vs esthetician?”

With pleasure.

The skin is not just the largest organ in the body. It’s also the layer that protects us from intruders and the elements, keeps us hydrated, and allows us to experience our environments. Plus, healthy, unblemished skin indicates a healthy diet and overall well-being.

So, it makes sense to do everything in your power to protect it. Sometimes, this also means asking for professional help. But where exactly should you go when something goes wrong with your skin?

Today we’ll talk about the two major professionals involved in skin care and health – dermatologists and estheticians. We’ll talk about what they do and when to pay them a visit.


Dermatologist vs esthetician explained


What does an Esthetician Do?


Estheticians are cosmetic professionals trained to provide care and treatments for the appearance of your skin. Therefore, an esthetician’s job is limited to the most outer layers of the skin.

  1. These professionals don’t have (or need) medical treatment, but they need a license that requires them to complete courses specific to their specialization. While almost anyone interested in this line of work can take a course (see an esthetician program curriculum), only those who take their license can practice.
  2. You go to an esthetician for facials, hair removal procedures, body scrubs, superficial chemical peels, masks, and other procedures that help your skin look refreshed and rejuvenated. Some estheticians are trained in electrolysis, acne treatments, or microdermabrasion, but they’ll have to complete a separate course for these types of procedures.


What does a Dermatologist Do?


Dermatologists are trained doctors who specialize in the skin, hair, nails, and mucous membranes. They offer medical and cosmetic procedures (even though some professionals choose only one line of work), and they can diagnose and treat a wide range of health conditions that affect the skin, such as eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, or skin cancer.

  1. You go to a dermatologist when there’s a problem with your skin, hair, or nails, such as rashes, growths, pigmentation, burns, scars, and so on. Plus, you can get specialized treatment to reduce the appearance of fine lines or sunspots.
  2. In short, a dermatologist can help with a wide range of tips and treatments, from recommending the right face wash for your skin type to chemical peels, dermal fillers, or laser hair removal. Plus, if you have acne troubles, you’ll need to visit a dermatologist who can offer prescription medication (if this is the case).


Where Can You Find These Professionals?


Even though they work in the same field, dermatologists and estheticians do their job in different locations. Let’s see how dermatologist vs esthetician differs in terms of practice spots.

  1. Dermatologists who specialize in cosmetic procedures often have their own practice or collaborate with specialty clinics and other private practices. Those who specialize in medical procedures often work in hospitals or large healthcare organizations.
  2. Estheticians, on the other hand, work at salons or spas. There is one exception – medical estheticians (or aestheticians). These professionals get extra training for specific procedures and treatments and often work as assistants to dermatologists, dermal therapists, or cosmetic surgeons. They can offer services such as tattoo removal, laser hair removal, or deep chemical peels.

It’s also good to know that dermatological procedures essential for your health and recommended by a dermatologist are covered by insurance companies. However, insurance doesn’t cover elective cosmetic procedures such as lip fillers or laser treatments.


Dermatologist vs esthetician: The Wrap Up


In summary, if you have a problem with your skin, hair, or nails, the first professional to visit needs to be a dermatologist. This includes anything from acne to sunburns, rashes, hair falling, or nail discoloration.

If you want to treat yourself and give your healthy skin a boost with a nice hydrating mask, you should book an appointment with your esthetician.

Also, if they ever recommend you see a dermatologist, you should listen to their advice. Even though they don’t have medical training, estheticians know skin and can recognize the early signs of a more significant problem.

Co-authors at

"We love to research, examine, analyze, and present to you the best ideas that make life better. You can learn about our editorial standards here."

This article was proofread by Grammarly


How To Make Curls Last Longer

Curly hairstyles are in vogue lately! (for like, the past 5 years)
woman with gorgeous eyelashes

A Glimpse Into The Past: The Most Popular Lash Trends Of 2021

Here's what made our eyes POP this season...
tired woman

7 IV Therapy Benefits That Can Help You Stop Feeling So Exhausted

Nutrients, vitamins, and hydration boosts are just the beginning.
woman using oils for oily skin on her face

The Best Oils For Oily Skin & Acne-Prone Skin

Hey, just because it produces more sebum, it doesn't mean you can't use oils for oily skin.
woman with naturally pretty scrubbed lips

Are Store-Bought Lip Scrubs Better Than Homemade?

Splurge or save on lip scrubs? Here's the brutal truth.
woman tracking her period with a diy period tracker

5 Reasons To Track Your Period + Free Period Tracker

If you aren't tracking your periods yet, this is a must for you.
public health workers symbolic picture

Public Health Workers Are NEEDED in 2023: 9 Public Health Concerns That Need To Be Addressed ASAP

Now that the pandemic is over, it's time to focus on the health issues that existed years before the coronavirus.
various lipstick shades on a pink background

How to Pick the Best Lipstick Shades For Your Skin & Hair Tone

Red, brown, nude, pink... All of these have a million variations. Here's what to pick!
woman touching deep-cleaned makeup brushes

How To Deep Clean Even The Dirtiest Makeup Brushes

Please don't wait until you reach a brush disaster (like I did).
foundation brush and powder

6 Foundation Tips To Make It Last All Day

Simple foundation tricks to keep your face looking gorgeous through the day.
unrecognizable woman demonstrates wheat germ oil benefits for skin

5 Beautiful Wheat Germ Oil Benefits For Skin

You may be surprised to learn that wheat germ oil benefits your skin in more ways than one.