An aesthetician is a skin care specialist who does not have a medical background, but a cosmetic one in the beauty and style industry. It is a highly specialized branch of cosmetology and would be pursued by a cosmetologist with a special interest in skin care. Aestheticians work at salons and spas and perform specialist skin treatments on clients. Most often, treatments are focused on the face but they may also perform body treatments such as body wraps, massages, waxing, sugaring, manicures and pedicures. Therapists also have specialist knowledge of skin care products and can offer advice on at-home skin care regimens and recommend specialist products to help address skin problems.
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An aesthetician can perform skin treatments that are non-medical, usually in a spa-type setting rather than a clinical one, although in some cases they may work along with dermatologists at their offices. Skin therapies may be used as a relaxing treatment, or to address a skin problem such as acne, eczema, or dry skin. Relaxing skin therapies may include facials and massages and these can be enjoyed by anyone simply seeking some personal time. More targeted therapies such as anti-aging treatments have a specific audience, generally those concerned about the signs of aging beginning to show on their faces. These kinds of therapies might include microdermabrasion treatments, or gentle acid peels and aim to eliminate wrinkles and create younger looking skin. Medical anti-aging treatments such as Botox must be carried out by a medical doctor and cannot be performed in a spa.
Aestheticians may treat previously diagnosed skin conditions, such as acne or eczema but they are not allowed to diagnose unknown conditions and must refer clients to a medical specialist, such as a dermatologist in these cases. Generally, an aesthetician aims to give a client a soothing and enjoyable treatment which will address any skin problems the client has and improve the quality and appearance of their skin.
Treatments given may include:
An interest in cosmetology with a special interest in skin care is helpful. It is likely that someone with these interests will enjoy helping friends out with their skin issues and have had a personal interest in the subject for a while. There are specific aesthetics courses which are required in order to practice.
Many esthetician courses offer courses on spa treatments, as the need for trained professionals to work in spas is growing. Treatments may include body wraps, cellulite treatments, nail art, artificial nails, pedicures and manicures. These are all services sought after from from a good aesthetician.
Personal attributes helpful for the job include:
Someone interested in aesthetics pursues their career path with a goal of helping people. They are caring people and take a special interest in each and every one of their clients. Forming good personal relationships will help build a good relationship, even a friendship, between therapist and client and will help build and maintain a good client base. These abilities and attributes will help create a good therapist and will ensure that the treatments performed are personal and carefully selected and tailored for each individual client.
Aestheticians will usually find work in a salon or spa-type environment which should be a very pleasant environment to work in. These places are usually quiet and aim to be soothing and tranquil, designed to add to the relaxing experience of the treatments for the client. As there are many salons and spas in most towns and cities, it should not be necessary to travel too far to find a suitable position.
Salaries will vary depending on the specific position and the set up at the individual salon or spa. Salaried aestheticians can expect to earn from $20,000 to $60,000 depending on the location of the salon and personal experience. An experienced aesthetician working at a high-end salon in a major city would expect to earn a salary at the higher end of the scale. Once established with a customer base, it may be possible to earn more if a commission-based system is used. In this case, commission would start at about 40% of the service costs and increase with experience. In addition, selling recommended skin care products may create further earnings through sales commission.