Sign in

The Importance of Advanced Education in Medical Esthetics

Terri Wojak February 2010 issue of Skin Inc. magazine
female reading

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.

Adverse reaction awareness

Most physician’s offices offer products and services that may be more effective, but also may have a greater risk of adverse reactions if not used properly. Some of these include medical devices such as ultrasound, higher-level chemical peels, lymphatic drainage massage and dermaplaning. It is important to be aware of any possible contraindications with these procedures because the side effects can be quite serious.

For example, an ultrasound device used with electrical stimulation on a patient with a heart condition could cause serious health risks. Products sold in medical offices often have higher-level active ingredients, as well. Care needs to be taken when combining certain products or adding them into a client’s current product regimen. Also, estheticians must make sure clients discontinue the use of certain products before receiving medical services, such as specific laser treatments. Some of the adverse reactions that may occur include redness, swelling, severe peeling, hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation, and in some cases, even scarring.

Duties in a medical office

Estheticians must have a working knowledge of the medical treatments performed in the practice, which typically include injectable fillers, neurotoxin inhibitors, laser treatments and often, cosmetic surgery procedures. Most commonly, they will perform treatments, such as facials, microdermabrasion and superficial peels. It is important that estheticians know how to appropriately space esthetic treatments between medical services, and also know what the patient should do before, during and after medical procedures.

One of the most important duties of estheticians in a medical practice is to give primary comfort to the patient. It is critical that patients are treated more gently than usual after medical treatments and that they are constantly made to feel more at ease. This is especially important because surgical procedures can be extremely distressing for many. More often than not, patients become loyal clients and trust the esthetician because of the comfort and help received during this stressful time.

Professionalism

There is also a significant difference in the level of professionalism needed to work in the medical field. Patients are accustomed to dealing with medical professionals who must take everything that they are doing seriously. Patients need to feel confident that they can trust estheticians when they are performing higher-level treatments. There are also professional standards to uphold, such as Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations. HIPAA was passed by Congress in 1996, and one of its provisions concerns itself with patient confidentiality. OSHA was created by Congress in 1970, and its mission is to prevent work-related injuries, illnesses and deaths by issuing and enforcing regulations for workplace safety and health. OSHA standards relating to a medical office differ from a typical spa environment, and must be learned before starting any position in a medical environment.

A rewarding career

Working as an esthetician in a medical practice can be rewarding both professionally and financially. The evolution of the esthetic industry is still taking place at full speed, and it is the responsibility of estheticians to keep up-to-date on the latest advancements, and to continue their education as needed. The ability to perform stronger, more effective treatments under the direction of a physician can provide a sense of accomplishment. Along with this, there are financial benefits, as well. Those skin care professionals working in the medical field earn an average of $7,000 more annually than a traditional esthetician.*

Estheticians must work hard in order to be taken seriously in the medical community by upholding the highest standards of education and professionalism.

* Statistics generated from www.payscale.com and www.indeed.com.

Related Content

 

Close

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.”

Next image >

 

Skip

Welcome to the new SkinInc.com!

Delivering the best information on the spa, skin care and wellness industry is our passion, and we’ve worked hard to design a powerful new website that incorporates cutting-edge technology to bring you:

  • Mobile-friendly Design
  • Integrated Sample Request
  • Refreshed Look and Feel
  • Dynamic Content
  • Free Registration

Mobile-friendly Design

Providing a unified experience from mobile to desktop, responsive design allows you to access Skin Inc. content from any device, whether you’re in the treatment room, at home or on the go!

Integrated Sample Request

Visit Featured Product pages to quickly and easily identify new suppliers and request product samples and information.

Dynamic Content

Articles are now linked with relevant products so you can find the products and treatments you need to provide the best results for your clients.

Free Registration

Create your user account to gain unlimited access to Skin Inc.’s unparalleled content.

Enjoy the New SkinInc.com!

Thank you for joining the Skin Inc. community of passionate skin care professionals. We look forward to providing you the best information to enhance your career!