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The Importance of Advanced Education in Medical Esthetics

Terri Wojak February 2010 issue of Skin Inc. magazine
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The field of esthetics continues to evolve, and during the past five years, highly motivated skin care professionals have sought the advanced training and knowledge that has helped to create and define the emerging role of estheticians in medical practices.

Estheticians have become increasingly important and recognized adjuncts to physicians who practice cosmetic medicine, and they realize many benefits from this. Estheticians not only gain more experience, but the procedures and products used are validated when medical professionals recommend them. This gives estheticians the ability to treat clients more effectively, and therefore, build a solid clientele.

The medical esthetician

Working in a medical office differs in many ways from working in a spa. Because there is no nationwide standard of education for estheticians employed in the medical field, many just use the title “medical esthetician,” which is often not supported by formalized training. Although this is not a legally recognized term and anyone can call themselves a medical esthetician, it is a title generally used by those who have had advanced training or are currently working under the direction of physicians. All estheticians should have a solid education focused on the skin, product knowledge and sanitation procedures. Although it is important to know the basics first, an advanced education will set an esthetician apart from those who are limited by only knowing the fundamentals. The medical esthetician must be trained on the legalities of working in a medical office, as well as advanced techniques, medical procedures and strict medical guidelines. See Firsthand Advice From an Esthetician in the Medical Field.

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Firsthand Advice From an Esthetician in the Medical Field

Jill Stetson is an esthetician who decided to obtain advanced training for the medical esthetic field after earning her undergraduate license.

“When I was about to leave school, I was very concerned that I didn’t have enough experience to go out and start working as an esthetician, especially with today’s more sophisticated and well-educated patients. School provides a good education about anatomy and physiology, basic chemistry and electricity, sanitation, basic facial and massage techniques, hair removal and makeup, and the clinic at school offers good first-time experience with the basics. Upon graduation, I really wanted an apprenticeship with an experienced esthetician, but those were not available. Also, I felt my education lacked ingredient knowledge, such as identifying the latest ingredients and with what skin type are they most effective; more information about skin types and skin conditions—especially understanding the skin types; and learning about results-oriented treatments and skin care products.

“When I took a medical esthetic class, my issues were addressed. Not only did it cover anatomy and physiology, skin types and conditions, but it also included in-depth details and current trends about ingredients, specific knowledge and hands-on experience with the major types of chemical peels, expanded knowledge about skin disorders, and an overview of laser treatments, injections, neurotoxin inhibitors, ultrasound, lymphatic drainage massage and camouflage makeup.

“The medical esthetic class advanced my education on the fundamental issues so I could better serve my clients and place myself in a more competitive position when looking for a job. To be competitive as an esthetician, I knew it was important to invest in a more sophisticated education. Currently, I work for a cosmetic surgeon and an upscale spa. Because I have limited experience, especially medical esthetic experience, the class and internship were invaluable in securing the position with the cosmetic surgeon. Without my advanced education, I would never have been considered. Plus, it gave me the confidence to understand the basics and grow within the practice. If I had gone to a medical practice with only spa experience, I would never have the same confidence.”

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