“Esthetician” vs. “Aesthetician” – Which do you need?

If you care about skin care and facial fitness, at some point you’ve probably run across the word esthetician.  Or is that aesthetician?  Is this a typo or is it an entirely different kind of skin care professional?  If it’s the latter, which one do I need?  Undoubtedly this can get confusing, especially when running online searches and looking for skin care professionals in your local area.  But fear not!  All is explained below.

Judy Zeman, Facial Fitness of Boca Raton

First, what is an esthetician?
Estheticians are skin care specialists.  They are experts in their field and perform various spa services, like facials, treatments, waxing, and even head and neck massages.  Estheticians must be licensed as such and can have a variety of different specialties given the high demand in the industry.

Different types of estheticians.
A licensed esthetician can enter one of two very popular fields of skin care: medical or spa esthetics.

Medical estheticians typically work in a doctor’s office, hospital or in a medical spa.  These specialists are licensed professionals who train in the operation of potent acids, lasers and other equipment to perform advanced techniques that are available only under a doctor’s care.  These treatments typically are more invasive to the body and thus, medical estheticians often work alongside doctors or under their supervision.  Medical estheticians often help patients with post-procedure or surgery care.  They also help patients who have experienced trauma to the face or have facial issues due to illness, such as cancer.  Medical estheticians advise patients about how to care for their skin after treatment to promote proper healing.

Spa estheticians deal more with cosmetic treatments that improve the skin’s appearance and the overall health of the skin.  They advise clients about skin care and help them to use the proper products and techniques to maintain their skin health at home.

“a relaxing and pampering experience for clients”

In addition to treating and advising clients regarding skin care, spa estheticians are an integral part of creating a relaxing and pampering experience for clients.  It is their task to provide superior customer service that will keep clients coming back.  Spa estheticians work with regular clients, spa clients, and special occasion clients.  As opposed to medical estheticians who often work under a doctor’s supervision, spa estheticians often have private practices that focus on a combination of facial skin care treatments (such as glycolic peels, microdermabrasion, and European facials) and body treatments (such as body wraps, aromatherapy, and massage).  Some spa estheticians also do waxing (brow, lip, chin), tweezing, and makeup applications.

All estheticians, spa or medical, must be licensed in their state.  This involves advanced academic study as designated by the state and showing proficiency in the licensed area.  Often an exam must be passed before the state will issue a license.  Prominent spas and medical practitioners want their estheticians to be experienced and some spas look for estheticians who have a developed clientele.  Some estheticians may be required to have additional training or may receive specialized training on particular techniques or equipment before performing services such as laser resurfacing, microdermabrasion or chemical peels.

Now, what’s the difference between esthetician and aesthetician?
The two words mean roughly the same thing and many suggest that the difference is only a result of geography: esthetician being a more Americanized spelling and aesthetician being a European spelling.  The root word aesthetic originates from the German word ästhetisch and the French word esthétique and has been used to describe “the science which treats of the conditions of sensuous perception” (by Immanuel Kant) and “art for art’s sake” (Walter Pater).  Hmm… art for art’s sake.  The body is a canvas, after all!

Stay fit!
Judy, at Facial Fitness of Boca Raton

P.S. Read more about the etymology of aesthetics at the Online Etymology Dictionary.

Relax, refresh, rejuvenate at BocaFacialFitness.comVisit our BFF Image Gallery for some fun fitness inspiration!

Judy Zeman is a Florida licensed Esthetician and Massage Therapist and the owner of Facial Fitness of Boca Raton. Facial Fitness embraces a holistic approach to skin care using scientifically supported skin treatments, as well as helping clients learn the best nutrition, exercises, attitudes, and actions to have healthy skin. “Come refresh, relax, and rejuvenate… because healthy skin makes a healthy you!”

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