Treating Acne with Help from Your Esthetician

Estheticians (also spelled as aestheticians) are part of a growing field of skin care specialists.  Estheticians give facials and body spa treatments, waxing treatments, and many also apply makeup for special occasions.

But can your estheticians do anything to treat acne?  Find out what estheticans can do for acne, what they can't do, and how you can get the right professional treatments for your skin.

What Is an Esthetician?

Estheticians are also known as skin care therapists. They work at day spas, salons, and medical spas where they offer cosmetic treatments for the skin. These are procedures like facials, waxing, body scrubs and wraps.

Estheticians work in the realm of cosmetic, rather than medical, treatments. All estheticians have gone through training or certificate programs, and must be licensed by the state in which they work.

Can an Esthetician Treat Acne?

In some cases, yes.

Because she's trained in all things skin care, your esthetician can be a great help in creating an appropriate skin care routine (especially if you feel overwhelmed in the skin care aisle).

Acne facials and extractions can also be helpful treatments. These procedures can help keep pores clear and minimize future breakouts.

Besides recommending products and doing facials, your esthetician can also do procedures like microdermabrasion, and light chemical peels. If done regularly, these cosmetic treatments can improve certain types of acne breakouts.

Is There Anything an Esthetician Can't Do for Acne?

Remember, estheticians are not medical doctors. This means there is a limit on what they can do.

Estheticians can only do cosmetic procedures, or those that work on the superficial layers of the skin. Deeper chemical peels, injectables like cortisone and Botox, and acne scar treatments fall outside of their realm of expertise.

Also, an esthetician should not work over nodular acne or cystic breakouts, or acne that is very inflamed or widespread. These types of severe acne won't respond to the types of cosmetic procedures that an esthetician offers. In fact, some salon treatments can make severe acne worse by increasing inflammation and further irritating already tender skin.

Another thing an esthetician can't do: diagnose any skin problem. So, don't go to an esthetician hoping to figure out what is causing your rash, for example.

A good esthetician will refer you to a physician for anything that falls outside his realm of expertise.

Should You See an Esthetician or a Dermatologist?

This depends a lot on your acne, your skin care goals, and your personal preference. Some people see only a dermatologist, some only an esthetician, and some see both. 

If you have mild acne, visits solely with an esthetician may be enough to get your breakouts under control. Moderate acne and severe acne, though, should be treated by a dermatologist instead.

A dermatologist can prescribe medications to help get more serious cases of acne under control, where an esthetician can't. Severe types of acne just don't respond well to over-the-counter acne treatments, even those nice "professional" products that your esthetician sells at the salon.

Remember, where an esthetician is a luxury and a bonus in helping treat breakouts, a dermatologist is a necessity for treating severe or stubborn acne. If you only have the time and resources to see one skin care pro about your acne, it's best to see a dermatologist.

If you're already under a doctor's care for your acne, and you'd like to

Make sure you let your esthetician know about all prescription acne treatments you're currently using.  As important, get your dermatologist's OK before having any treatments done at the salon.

Why Do Estheticians Squeeze Blackheads?

During your facial treatment, your esthetician will manually clean out blackheads and other non-inflamed blemishes from the pores. This process is called extraction.

Although it may feel like your esthetician is randomly squeezing at your blemishes, she's actually removing the blockages in a methodical and precise way so as not to damage the skin. While you may feel a bit of pressure, extractions shouldn't hurt (so let your esthetician know if she's being too heavy-handed.)

Inflamed pimples and deep blemishes should never be extracted though, because it can cause more inflammation and damage the skin. Large pimples should be left alone to heal.

How Can You Find the Right Esthetician?

Take time to "shop around" to find an esthetician that you really like. 

Look an esthetician that has experienced in treating acne, if that is a concern of yours. You'll get better results than from an esthetician who specializes in, say, Brazillian waxing.

Ask friends for their recommendations and referrals. You may want to have treatments done by a few estheticians to find one you're comfortable with and one whose work you like.

A Word from Verywell

An esthetician can help you improve mild breakouts blackheads with professional procedures and over-the counter skin care products. Remember, though, that esthetic treatments aren't necessities to get acne under control.

Consider salon treatments an add-on to your daily acne treatment routine. And don't forget, if you are under a dermatologist's care to get their approval before having any salon treatment done, and let your esthetician know about any acne treatments you're currently using.

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