Estheticians, also known as aestheticians, are personal appearance workers who specialize in performing a variety of personal care and cosmetic treatments for their clients. Their scope of practice varies by jurisdiction, but typically includes the ability to perform skin care services, hair removal, and makeup application for compensation. In some places, estheticians may also be licensed to perform various types of massage. Although some may practice as generalists, providing whatever services a customer requests, others specialize in different types of practice. Some work as skin care specialists, while others work as medical estheticians, hair removal specialists, or even as makeup artists. As the scope of practice for the profession is fairly broad, it is not unusual for an esthetician to pursue additional education and certifications in a specialized area of work.
Typically, a considerable amount of an esthetician's initial training is devoted to the care of facial skin. He will be trained to identify common skin types and perform basic cosmetic skin care procedures, such as facial massage; blackhead removal; and the application of masks, serums, and creams. Estheticians may also receive significant training in hair removal techniques. Many may choose to specialize in hair removal services and work exclusively in that area. Some may also choose to specialize even more within the area of hair removal, such as restricting their practice to the shaping and maintenance of eyebrows.
Medical or paramedical estheticians work closely with doctors and other health care professionals to provide personal appearance services to clients with special medical needs or to those who are undergoing cosmetic procedures that require medical supervision. In the first case, a medical esthetician may work with patients who are recovering from plastic surgery, who need help in concealing a facial disfigurement, or who are coping with skin sensitivities caused by medications or radiation therapy. In the second case, a medical esthetician may perform certain services, such as microdermabrasion or laser hair removal, under the direction of a physician.
In many places, applying makeup to someone else's face for financial compensation is restricted to those who hold a professional license as an esthetician or cosmetologist. As a result, some choose to specialize in providing makeup services to others. In some cases they may work for photographers or cosmetics retailers, while others work in salons or as freelance makeup artists who offer their services to anyone who needs a professional makeup application.