Skip to main content

What Does an Aesthetician Do?

By February 11, 2022June 20th, 2022Uncategorized

Definition, Workplace, and Appointment Tips

W hat does an aesthetician do? This is one of the frequently asked questions in the beauty industry.

An aesthetician specializes in skin conditions and skincare in general. As a clinical profession, it comes across many other specialties including dermatology, self-care, and the entire medical beauty industry.

So, what do aestheticians do exactly? Most people know that aestheticians work in the beauty industry, deal with many skin problems, and offer many skincare services.

Qoves, as a virtual beauty consultant, cares about every aspect of the beauty industry, especially medical aesthetics. In this article, we will provide you with all the information you need about aestheticians.

Figure 1 – Segmental combination peel using medium-depth and deep peels from Lee, K. C., Wambier, C. G., Soon, S. L., Sterling, J. B., Landau, M., Rullan, P., & Brody, H. J. (2018).

What Is an Aesthetician?

Aestheticians or skincare therapists usually work at salons, spas, or medical settings. They have a license to administer skin care treatments and provide skincare services for people.

The beauty services and cosmetic treatments that an aesthetician can provide include:

  • Facials
  • Massages
  • Body wraps
  • Waxing
  • Cool sculpting
  • Manicures
  • Pedicures

In addition to beauty services, they can provide clinical skin treatments to burn victims for example. Furthermore, they usually recommend beauty products to use for skin issues since they have the proper knowledge about skincare products. (1)

The Difference between an Aesthetician and a Dermatologist

If you want to know your skin type, have non-surgical cosmetic treatment, or decide which skincare product is the best for you, an aesthetician can help you.

However, they are not healthcare providers or dermatologists. “Medical aesthetics” is just a term they use in this industry. But, they do not have the knowledge to diagnose skin conditions or prescribe medications outside the cosmetic field.

Moreover, all the products they use or suggest work on the outer layers of the skin. They also cannot provide treatments such as Botox or facial fillers. The previous procedures are invasive and require a professional, licensed healthcare provider, or a dermatologist to perform.

For example, rashes are medical conditions that require a dermatologist. Your aestheticians cannot diagnose, prescribe medications, or treat them. However, if a dermatologist diagnosed your condition, an aesthetician can give you tips about handling it properly. Also, he/she may suggest skincare products to help you with it.

Furthermore, aestheticians can work with dermatologists. You may find one in a dermatology clinic, or your doctor may refer you to one. In addition, some dermatologists even have an entire staff working in medical practices. They provide treatments that work in harmony with your medications to treat your skin condition. (2, 3)

What Procedures Can an Aesthetician Perform?

Spas usually offer many services, and many aestheticians have experience in certain areas. However, the following treatments are usually on the menu of every spa.


Every aesthetician must know how to perform a facial.
Basic facial treatment consists of:

  • Deep cleansing
  • Facial steam
  • Exfoliating treatment
  • Masks
  • Moisturizers
  • Serums

Facials can also include massaging your face, arms, and shoulder. Your aesthetician can also apply some products if your skin needs any.
An experienced aesthetician will tailor the facial to suit your skin need and your personal preferences.


Most facials usually include extractions. This procedure is usually manual. It extracts dead skill cells, oil, and debris from your skin pores. Besides, it removes skin breakouts, especially blackheads and whiteheads, when they are non-inflamed.

Also, extractions’ results appear immediately. Your look and the feel of your skin will be different once the session is over. Extractions also prevent the development of blemishes and acne in the future.

Acne Treatments

Regular sessions and treatments by a professional aesthetician can help you with your acne breakouts. Mild acne cases, blackheads, and other skin conditions can improve significantly with regular exfoliation, extractions, and skincare products.

On the other hand, if you have a moderate to severe case of acne, you should consult a dermatologist. However, the skills and treatments of your aesthetician along with prescription medications can improve the condition significantly. Also, your aesthetician can help you to choose the best skin care products to prevent the side effects of prescription medications such as dry skin. Of course, you must consult your dermatologist before applying any products along with prescription medications.


Microdermabrasion is one of the most popular skin treatments provided by many aestheticians. The process depends on passing a diamond-shaped wand or superfine crystals over the treated areas to remove dead skin cells or debris.

Besides, the results appear immediately after the procedure. Your skin will be softer. Fine lines, enlarged pores, and hyperpigmentation problems can disappear after several treatment sessions.

Superficial Chemical Peels

Chemical peeling is another popular cosmetic treatment provided by experienced aestheticians. The skin is usually exfoliated using glycolic, lactic, alpha hydroxy, or salicylic acid.

In addition, the procedure is quick with immediate results. Regular peeling provides anti-aging benefits and an experienced aesthetician can make your skin glow using it.

Body Wraps, Masks, and Scrubs

Aestheticians also care about the skin of the entire body. Literally, you can have every inch of your skin exfoliated using products like sugar scrubs or salt glows.

Professional aestheticians at spas can offer you clay body masks or seaweed body wraps to make your entire body glow.

These treatments are not only recommended for people who want to make their skin smoother but also for people who want to relax and take care of their bodies. Usually, the spa will have several body treatment options on its menu for clients to choose the best for them.

Waxing and Hair Removal

Unwanted hair is usually a devastating issue. Waxing, tweezing, and laser hair removal are all services provided by aestheticians. They can remove hair from literally anywhere in the body including bikini lines in women in addition to back and chest hair in men.

Airbrush Tanning

Many studies say that tanning is dangerous and may cause many skin problems. However, airbrush tanning is a safe alternative to regular tanning. It is gaining more popularity. But, not all aestheticians provide it.

If you want to get this amazing golden glow, find an aesthetician who has experience in this type of tanning. He/she will spray your body with a high-quality tanning product. You will have this nice golden glow for about two weeks.

Figure 2 – Most Important Ingredients in Facial Mask from Nilforoushzadeh, M. A., Amirkhani, M. A., Zarrintaj, P., Salehi Moghaddam, A., Mehrabi, T., Alavi, S., & Mollapour Sisakht, M. (2018). Skin care and rejuvenation by cosmeceutical facial mask. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology.

What Does the Aesthetician’s Workplace Look Like?

Aestheticians work in spas and salons. This work environment is pleasant and lovely to work in. The perfect spa or salon is usually calm with relaxing effects on both the workers and clients.

It is better to find a nearby spa that has experienced, professional aestheticians. Traveling to another city to enjoy a spa experience is not recommended.

Figure 3 – Melasma (a) before and (b) after two monthly sessions of TCA 25% peeling from Zakopoulou, N., & Kontochristopoulos, G. (2006). Superficial chemical peels. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology

How to Become an Aesthetician?  

Aestheticians are not just casual beauty experts with no degrees. Certain steps must be followed to become a professional aesthetician. Aestheticians cannot offer services without taking these steps.

Completing a Cosmetology Program  

Taking and completing a cosmetology program is the first step to becoming an aesthetician. It is specialized training. After completing it, aestheticians can perform skincare services on people.

The requirements vary from one place to another. For example, in some American states, aestheticians need to take a complete cosmetology program to be licensed. Other states provide licenses when aestheticians take skincare courses as part of a cosmetology course.

In addition, medical aestheticians must complete additional training programs. These programs can be taken while working. However, in most cases, they must take specialized courses to be able to work at medical practices.

Moreover, in some cases, aestheticians can swap working hours for educational hours. Most full cosmetology programs are 1 year long and a certificate is given after completing the program. (4)

Get a License

After completing the necessary programs, the aesthetician should get licensed. Some states ask aestheticians to take a written exam, an oral exam, or a practical exam.

Being a Master Aesthetician

Master Aesthetician Programs are designed to take the aesthetician skills to a whole new level. Here are the criteria of these programs:

  • 600 training hours (Double the normal aesthetician program length)
  • A focused medical program
  • Clinical knowledge about skin conditions, diagnosis, and treatments.

After completing this program, you will get a Master Aesthetician certificate. This certificate indicates that you have the proper knowledge to offer a medical opinion. (5, 6)

What Is the Difference between an Esthetician and an Aesthetician?

Actually, the difference between estheticians and aestheticians is not obvious. In most cases, it does not really matter for clients since both works in spas and salons.

However, when it comes to who has the proper knowledge and experience to suggest a medical opinion or work in a clinical setting, there is a difference.

Estheticians usually work at spas and salons only. They are experts in providing certain services such as facials, manicures, pedicures, waxing, and massages. On the other hand, in addition to spas and salons, aestheticians can work in clinical settings and medical practices. They are also qualified to suggest solutions for skin conditions and injuries.

Regarding education and training, aestheticians usually have more knowledge than estheticians. Medical aestheticians must complete extra courses to get this type of license. However, both usually get the same training and work with the same clients.

If you want to get a certain skincare service, look for the most qualified person to do it. The job title does not matter in most cases.

Tips for Your Aesthetician Appointment

People go to spas and salons to be 100% satisfied with the results and enjoy their time there. In order to achieve that, you need to find the ideal aesthetician for you first.

Here are some tips to consider while looking for the best aesthetician.

  • Ask your friends and family members for the best aesthetician. In addition, you can search online for the best aesthetician near you and check the customers’ reviews.
  • Skincare is a wide field. Search for an aesthetician who has the proper knowledge and experience in the specialty that you need the most. For example, if you want to treat your acne, search for an aesthetician who is an expert at acne treatment.
  • Before scheduling an appointment, ask the aesthetician about her/his specialties and treatments she/he does mostly. If the aesthetician is experienced in body massages and you are looking for acne treatment, it is better to look for another aesthetician.
  • You must feel comfortable with your aesthetician. A Certain level of undressing is usually required in spas. Professional aestheticians usually put their clients’ comfort first.
  • Consider the spa’s and the aesthetician’s working hours. Most aestheticians are independent and set their own working hours.

Naini, F. B., & Gill, D. S. (2008). Facial aesthetics: 1. Concepts and canons. Dental update, 35(2), 102–107.
Edler R. J. (2001). Background considerations to facial aesthetics. Journal of orthodontics, 28(2), 159–168.
Slade, K., & Grant-Kels, J. M. (2013). Employing an aesthetician in a dermatology practice: facts and controversies. Clinics in dermatology, 31(6), 777–779.
Bridgeford, L., Harris, V., & Padilla, S. (1990). The aesthetic alliance: nurses and medical facials. Dermatology nursing, 2(4), 205–208.
Jolivel F. (2013). La socio-esthétique, entre professionnalisme et humanisme [Socio-aesthetic care blending professionalism and humanism]. Revue de l'infirmiere, (193), 30–31.
Judit G. (2000). Frederik van Eeden, a pszichiater es eszteta [Frederik van Eeden, the psychiatrist and aesthetician]. Lege artis medicinae : uj magyar orvosi hirmondo, 10(10), 818–821

Dr Khaled Mahmoud

A medical researcher with more than 5 years of professional academic and medical writing experience. My main goal is to provide readers with evidence-based, data-driven, detail-oriented content to help them make the best choices.