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When to see an Esthetician vs a Dermatologist



An esthetician is a skin care professional that has been formally trained and licensed to render professional treatment services to improve the condition of the skin. A dermatologist is a board certified physician that has thoroughly studied diseases and disorders of the skin and how to treat them. While the difference may be complex to some, the bottomline is that an esthetician treats skin that presents with conditions; while their medical counterpart focuses on skin that presents with disordered pathology or evidence of disease presence.


It is important to understand this fundamental difference so that you may seek the help of the professional best suited to meet your needs as they present. While physicians may be familiar with skin conditions; and estheticians may be educated on how to identify disorders and diseases it is important to select the professional best suited for the best outcome.


An esthetician can not only improve your appearance overall, but they can treat conditions that compromise your appearance like dull complexion, acne, wrinkles, unwanted hair, or defined lashes. Estheticians are specialists in all things image improvement (cosmecuetical) which makes them the best option when seeking treatments that improve your appearance.

Meanwhile, Dermatologist provide diagnosis and render treatment to those who present with disordered pathology indicative of internal disease, making them the best professionals to seek for those circumstances that may require medical/surgical intervention.


While the two may seem similar and even find themselves familiar with the practices of their counterparts; visiting the wrong provider for your service or treatment can lead to an undesirable outcome. There are a few things worth considering when determining which professional is best when you find yourself between the two. These considerations are rooted in the general difference between service and treatment. Evaluate your needs thoroughly by asking yourself the following:


Am I seeking a service or am I seeking treatment? - if you are seeking a service you should see a licensed professional esthetician; but if you are seeking a treatment keep reading.


Is the service I'm seeking, a service to improve the condition of my appearance, improve the condition of my skin, or remove unwanted hair? - if the answer is yes, you should see a licensed professional esthetician to provide the service.


Is the condition I'm seeking treatment for potentially indicative of an issue that may require medical or surgical intervention?- if the answer is yes, you should see a Dermatologist. If the answer is no you should see a licensed professional esthetician.


Will the service or treatment require anesthesia, foreign matter placement, or involve the dermal layer of my skin?- If the answer is yes you should see a Dermatologist or plastic surgeon.


remember a service can be a treatment that provides a solution, and various treatments can be rendered during a service; but a service can never be a cure where in some cases "treatment" can be considered a cure or resolution. If you are seeking a cure you likely need a Dermatologist.


some disorders a dermatologist may treat are


  • Skin Lesions

  • Eczema and Rosacea

  • Skin Cancer

  • Dermatitis

  • Rashes 

  • Infections

  • Loss of Hair 

  • Problems with nails

  • Parasites 

  • Psoriasis


Licensed professional estheticians will never provide treatment for disorders or diseases. These professionals are bound by their scope of practice. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Dermatologist as many utilize esthetic offerings to increase direct pay profit margin. This has become quite confusing to many consumers who are unable to ascertain the differences to expect.


The biggest issue commonly encountered when a patient sees a dermatologist for a service they could have seen an esthetician for is over-treatment and overpayment. The cost to provide services such as chemical peels or laser hair removal for example, often multiplies when the treatments are rendered by a physician. Not only is the cost higher but the chance of them providing the service as well as an esthetician or laser tech (someone who specializes) is low when compared to specialist. Since their practice focuses primarily on disorder and disease; esthetic treatments can often be viewed as more of a "side hustle" and be left to new, inexperienced graduates to increase profit. Additionally, Dermatologist are known to provide systemic treatment to local affliction (like Accutane or oral antibiotics) in the case of acne that could case long term health issues as mild as a yeast infection and nausea, or as severe as erectile dysfunction, lower immunity, and birth defects despite the potential of future re-occurrence after treatment. Meanwhile an educated licensed esthetician would have been able to treat the condition via the path of least resistance while presenting the least risk.


Med Spas are hybrid concepts that practice at the intersection of medicine and esthetics. This concept has become increasingly popular over the years as consumer demands for effective treatments rise (requiring medical direction) and technology fills the margin for error reducing the risks associated with dermal access by aestheticians.


Luxe Lair Esthetics is home to one of the most knowledgeable and experienced licensed professional estheticians in the state of Texas, under the direction of one of the nations most accomplished physicians. We have curated a collection of services, treatments, and products to meet the demands of our market allowing us to exceed the expectations of our clients. Rest assured that when you visit our practice you will not only receive the best treatments the industry has to offer, but you'll also receive the most thorough education to help you make the most competent decisions on what's best for you when you decide to invest in you.



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