What You Need to Know Before Choosing an Esthetician

When it comes to caring for your skin, the first step is knowing the difference between a dermatologist and an esthetician. Still need help deciding which skincare pro is right for you? We’ve asked celebrity facialist Kát Rudu to expand on her job description and how to tell if an esthetician is reputable.

Though estheticians aren’t required to complete internships like dermatologists during the certification process, they can do much more than pamper you with facials.

“An esthetician listens to you and truly gives you valuable holistic insight on your diet, skin type, and lifestyle,” says Rudu. “A great esthetician will take you in and see you on short notice when you need immediate care and customize your treatment to meet your needs — and not keep you in the waiting room longer than your actual appointment!”

Below, read on for three key things to know when choosing an esthetician.

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Do Judge an Esthetician By Their Cover (aka Face)

Heading to Yelp to find the best esthetician near you? Whether you’re looking for a new facialist or seeking an in-depth holistic skincare regimen, you should always confirm that your prospective esthetician has a current license, says Rudu.

“When you first walk into her or his office, look around and pay attention,” she says. “Is the room and the counter clean? Are the work materials in containers, such as the gauze, cotton, gloves, scissors?”

The most tell-tale sign of an effective esthetician? Take a look at their face: if they take care of their own skin properly, then that’s a good indication that they’re worth hiring. In addition, “a good esthetician will do a full intake consultation to understand your lifestyle, habits and other factors that may affect your skin conditions or recommended care,” she says.

Do Consider a Drug-Free Approach

Though severe skincare conditions like stage five acne are best treated with prescriptions, minor blemishes may not require such extreme measures, says Rudu. Sometimes lifestyle changes can “help the body counteract the acne or bacteria or blockages within its own defense mechanisms and internal functions and systems,” she says, and a good esthetician will be able to customize a routine based on your skin type and sensitivities.

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Don’t Assume They’re Not As Qualified as Dermatologists

Just like a dermatologist, an experienced esthetician will also pull from their years of practice. “Sometimes we can even notice in seconds if there is bacteria or yeast growing on the skin and we try food and ingredient trials to help fix internal and external systems getting them back in balance,” says Rudu.

An experienced esthetician is familiar with a range of ingredients and can customize a routine based on your skin type and sensitivities. In addition to DIY treatments and popular brand-name products, some pros will even create their own skincare lines that can be customized for various skin types.

“We know the ingredient deck and often work with a range of products lines to build a base knowledge. Some of course has also been trial and error,” says Venice, Calif.-based Rudu. “When I could not find products that had the full range of natural botanicals and other organic or active ingredients I knew were beneficial to the skin, I went to compound and formulate my own over the course of literally a decade,” she says.

“I have tailor-made some of my products to help target the symptoms and issues that rosacea causes,” Rudu says. For instance, her Allureapproved Honey Papaya Cleanser ($42) and Dewy Mist Toner spray (which is made with chamomile and honey) are both formulated to soothe and calm rosacea.

Want to know more about treatments that you can get from a licensed esthetician? Watch the episode of The SASS below to learn about a gentle chemical peel that’s effective:

Main image: Beverly Wilshire