Estheticians are limited to recommending over the counter treatments (OTC) for your home skin care routine however, the actual products an esthetician will use during your facial typically have higher percentages of active ingredients than the OTC version.
For example: my esthetician uses the MD Skincare Pro Peel during my treatments which is the same thing as the OTC MD Skincare Alpha Beta Peel but on steroids. Feel the burn. Estheticians are also licensed to perform body treatments, waxing, facials and exfoliation treatments such as microdermabrasion. They also can perform extractions of whiteheads, blackheads and ingrown hairs as long as (at least in California) they do not use anything that actually punctures the skin. A good esthetician will design an entire individualized skin care routine that is realistically something you will do everyday at home and be honest if your acne is too severe and greater steps need to be taken.
Consider an Esthetician if:
Your acne is mild to moderate and you need help creating a personalized skin care routine.
Your acne responds well to acne fighting treatments like Alpha Hydroxy Acid Peels or Benzoyl Peroxide.
If you have large or clogged pores that don’t necessarily lead to breakouts. Dermatologists are medical doctors and have a much larger array of products in their acne fighting arsenal. They can prescribe topical or internal medications for acne treatment as well as perform surgery. I think that seeing a dermatologist is a must if you have tried “normal acne treatments” with little or no improvement or if you are in pain from your acne.
Dermatologists don’t necessarily pamper their clients as much as an esthetician will so if you want no nonsense, see a dermatologist. The recommended products and prescriptions can be a little on the pricey side and if you purchase the skincare that is sold in office, you may have a hard time finding it in a store.
Consider a dermatologist if:
You have moderate to severe acne, cystic acne or severe body acne that appears in places other than the “typical” areas of acne like the groin or armpit area.
If your acne does not respond to over the counter treatments or is getting worse despite treatment or it you require anything to be opened up and drained or lanced. Do not attempt to do this yourself.