Sometimes navigating the world of skincare can be overwhelming — an endless barrage of expensive products, conflicting advice, and a lack of results. Thankfully, there are plenty of trained professionals out there to help you care for your skin. But even that process can be confusing: What the heck is an aesthetician vs. an esthetician? How do you know what type of specialist to turn to?
You’ve probably seen the terms "esthetician" and "aesthetician" used almost interchangeably — and it’s no wonder, since they differ by only a single letter. But as similar as they sound, the two specialties differ in a few key ways.
So when it comes to an aesthetician vs. esthetician, which expert do you need?
What is an aesthetician?
The word aesthetician (with an a) refers to someone who specifically performs medical skin procedures. For example, aesthetician facial care might be needed to treat skin damage from chemotherapy, burns, surgery, or other health issues.
So, what does an aesthetician do? They usually work as part of a larger team, alongside a dermatologist or plastic surgeon. They may use needles, potent acids, and other techniques and equipment that can only be performed under the supervision of a medical doctor. That’s why you’ll often hear them referred to as a medical, paramedical, or clinical aesthetician — because they can usually be found in a medical or clinical setting.
If you’ve ever gotten Botox, you might have seen a clinical aesthetician there helping the doctor. Or likewise if you’re a cancer patient, burn victim, or have had other health-related issues that required attention to your skin, then you’ve likely worked with an aesthetician.
What is an esthetician?
On the other hand, the definition of an esthetician (without the a) is a trained technician who specializes in skin beautification — providing services such as acne treatments or anti-aging facials. One primary difference between a medical aesthetician vs. esthetician is the part of the body they address: While aestheticians often focus on the skin as a whole, estheticians are specially trained and place particular emphasis on the face.
Rather than performing a specific procedure or addressing post-surgical damage, an esthetician takes a holistic view of your skin health. The process will usually begin with an esthetician consultation, where you’ll discuss your unique skin type and skincare goals and develop a comprehensive skincare plan. This may include curated products, facial treatments, and diet and lifestyle recommendations.
Aesthetician vs Esthetician: Key Similarities
As you can see, the two professions have more in common than just their spelling and pronunciation. They are both are licensed skincare specialists, and can both help address skin-related needs.
When it comes to aestheticians vs. estheticians, neither are medical doctors — so they alone can’t diagnose skin conditions or prescribe medication. However, they do undergo extensive professional training: A licensed esthetician in California in the state will have completed 600 hours of training, a state-approved course/test, and a State Board Exam with written and practical components.
Aesthetician vs Esthetician: Key Differences
Generally, estheticians focus on cosmetic treatments, and aestheticians’ roles are more medical. That means one major difference between an esthetician and aesthetician is where you go to find them.
Aestheticians most often work in medical or healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics, or burn or trauma centers. On the other hand, estheticians often work in beauty or relaxation facilities like spas, salons, or resorts. In fact, part of the job of an esthetician is to create an environment where clients can feel relaxed and pampered.
Aesthetician vs Esthetician: The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, whether to visit an aesthetician vs. an esthetician will boil down to your skincare needs and the type of treatment you’re looking for. Both can play an important role in your overall skin health. Either way, be sure to work with a licensed skincare professional who has experience with skin like yours.
For more than two decades, I’ve been helping clients of all ages look and feel their best through the most advanced treatments and products available. Interested in learning more about esthetician services, and how to put your best face forward? Schedule your free consultation at Simply Skin today.