What is a Skincare Specialist?
A skincare specialist is responsible for helping people bring out the natural beauty of their skin. Though some people think of skincare as pertaining only to facials, skincare specialists actually work on all parts of the body to clean, restore, and beautify the skin.
Beyond providing skincare services, these workers also strive to help their clients change their skincare habits such that their skin has an improved appearance over the long-term. This can involve anything from providing massage therapy to recommending skincare products to advising clients how to properly clean their skin, apply makeup, and overcome common skin problems.
What Does a Skincare Specialist Do?
A skincare specialist has many varied job duties, all of which are focused on helping their clients to look better and feel better about their appearance. Much of a skincare specialist’s job is to utilize proper treatments to enhance the look of someone’s skin.
One of the first tasks of a skincare specialist is to simply evaluate the condition of their client’s skin. Not only does this inform the skincare specialist of the issue or issues that need to be treated, but it also allows them to determine if their client might need medical attention. For example, a client that complains of dry skin might actually have a dermatological condition that would necessitate a referral to a dermatologist for treatment.
One of the primary duties of a skincare specialist is to provide skin treatments. This might include facials or even full body skin treatments, the purpose of which is to clean, exfoliate, and rejuvenate the skin. Common methods for treating the skin include exfoliation, chemical peels, scrubs, steam treatments, or lotions and creams.
Many skincare specialists incorporate educational components into their service offerings. In addition to teaching their clients how to care for their skin, they might also teach their clients how to use specific skincare products. In addition, some skincare specialists might provide instruction to clients regarding how to apply and remove makeup.
Many skincare specialists use massage treatments as part of their repertoire of services. Typically, this is done in an informal manner, and though it is intended to relax the client and help improve blood flow in the skin, it is not the type of massage treatment one would get from a licensed or certified massage therapist. That said, some skincare specialists are also massage therapists and can provide more enhanced services.
Many skincare specialists also offer services that eliminate unwanted hair by removing it from the body. In many cases, this involves shaving or waxing the unwanted hair. With proper training, some skincare specialists can also use laser hair removal techniques.
What are the Working Conditions for a Skincare Specialist?
By and large, skincare specialists work in health spas, beauty spas, and salons alongside other workers that focus on beautifying the body, like hair stylists and manicurists. Less commonly, skincare specialists might be employed in a doctor’s office, usually in a dermatologist’s office, but to a lesser extent in family practices and other medical clinics.
Regardless of their employment location, skincare specialists enjoy a clean, safe working environment. Though they typically have to stand for long hours over the course of the day, skincare specialists can expect to work in a comfortable setting, and usually work 40 hours per week, with some nights and weekends as part of their schedule.
What are the Requirements to Become a Skincare Specialist?
The formal education requirements to be a skincare specialist are minimal. High school graduates or those with a high school equivalency can enroll in skincare specialist degree programs, which are typically one year in length or shorter and are completed at a trade school, cosmetology school, or vocational school. Students must be careful to enroll in a state-approved cosmetology or esthetician program in order to be eligible for licensure.
As noted earlier, students in these programs learn about a variety of topics related to skincare, healthcare, and business practices. Students might expect to take courses in cosmetology, anatomy and physiology, business, marketing, and communications, to name a few.
Specialized techniques are also covered in skincare specialist degree programs. For example, as part of a course on manicures and pedicures, students would learn the proper techniques for clipping, filing, and buffing fingernails and toenails.
Skincare technicians are required to be licensed in order to practice. In all but one state (Connecticut), prospective workers must pass a written and practical examination in addition to completing a state-approved program of study to be considered for licensure.
Licensure is handled on a state-by-state basis, so the specific requirements do vary somewhat. However, the National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology offers details regarding testing, including practice examinations.
Typically, certification is not required for skincare specialists, though it can often be a good idea. Being certified is a way to continue one’s education through research and participation in professional development that enhances one’s ability to provide the best services to clients.
Usually, certification programs in this field are available at community colleges, trade schools, and schools of cosmetology. Certifications usually focus on specialized areas, such as facial massage, treating acne, or using cutting-edge techniques like LED light therapy.
What Do You Learn in a Skincare Specialist Degree Program?
To work as a skincare specialist, one must first develop the requisite knowledge and skills required to complete the assigned job duties in a competent manner.
Though this is not a complete list, students in skincare specialist degree programs can expect to learn the following:
- Proper Skincare Techniques – Students learn the most effective methodologies for cleaning skin, keeping skin hydrated, and addressing common skin conditions, like dry, flaky skin.
- Skin Examination Techniques – To understand what treatments might be needed, skincare specialists must understand how to evaluate a client’s current skin condition to determine what’s wrong and how the issue can be addressed most effectively.
- Hair Removal Techniques – Skincare specialist programs typically offer coursework in methods for removing unwanted hair, including instruction in how to use hot wax, razors, and even laser treatments for hair removal.
- Work Safety Practices – Students develop an understanding of how to safely provide services to clients. For example, students would learn how to use hot wax for hair removal purposes and get practice doing such that when the procedure is performed on a client, the client’s safety is well in hand.
- Sanitation – Skincare specialists should be well versed in maintaining a clean and sanitary work environment. This includes learning how to sanitize tools to prevent the spread of disease.
- Sales Skills – A major component of this line of work is being able to sell skincare and related products to customers. Understanding how to pitch products and services is a must for skincare specialists.
- Marketing Skills – Students should have a solid understanding of how to market themselves and their business in order to obtain clients and generate income over the long-term. This might include learning how to use social media for promotional purposes, how to network with other professionals in this field, and how to use promotions and discounts to get more business.
- Communication Skills – Skincare specialist programs typically require students to study communication techniques that allow them to speak and write clearly. Development of active listening skills is also often required because workers in this field rely on information provided to them by their clients to determine the best course of action for improving the client’s health and appearance.
- Relevant Regulations and Laws – Skincare specialist students learn the legalities of providing services to clients, including the relevant laws and regulations that govern their work. For example, students would likely be informed about the licensure or certification requirements of working in their state of residence.
What Does It Take to Be a Skincare Specialist?
Being a competent and effective skincare specialist requires more than just getting the proper training. Instead, skincare specialists should possess certain traits, qualities, and skills that make them more effective at their job.
Among the most important traits and skills that a skincare specialist should have include, but are not limited to:
- Dermatological Treatments – People that enter this field of work must have deep knowledge of dermatological treatments, how to utilize them safely, and possible side effects from the treatments. For example, a skincare specialist should understand how to apply a chemical peel by using sponges, gauze, and other materials and do so in a way that the peel does not enter sensitive areas, like the eyes.
- Analytical Skills – Though they aren’t doctors, skincare specialists should have a solid working knowledge of common skin problems, including diseases and other illnesses that might require medical attention. When evaluating clients, it’s important that workers in this field understand what types of conditions to look for that might warrant additional treatment from a dermatologist.
- Esthetic Skills – Having an eye for what looks good is a crucial skill that skincare specialists must develop. This includes meeting their client’s beauty goals while balancing that with providing sound advice for healthier living.
- Customer Service Skills – Part of building rapport with clients and developing a reputation as a top-notch skincare specialist is understanding how to work with many different types of customers, how to answer questions effectively, and how to rectify mistakes should one occur.
- Time Management Skills – Because skincare specialists work by appointment, being able to manage one’s time effectively is crucial. This includes allowing enough time to not just perform the needed procedures, but to also greet the client, clean up after the session with the client, collect payment, and so forth.
- General Business Skills – All skincare specialists should have a solid understanding of how to operate a business. Even workers that do not own their own business should still have the ability to keep organized records, perform basic accounting tasks, understand essential marketing principles, and so forth.
- Teaching Others – Skincare specialists should be able to effectively teach their clients how to use products at home or guide them in proper skincare techniques in a manner that’s easy to understand. Possessing strong verbal communication skills is helpful in that endeavor.
- Physical Stamina – Being a skincare specialist requires working many hours standing, sitting, and even hunched over to work on a client’s face, hands, or feet. Working in this way and working with one’s hands all day long requires exceptional strength and physical ability.
- Working with Diverse Populations – People from all walks of life and backgrounds seek the services of people in the skincare industry. That means that skincare specialists should have the ability and desire to work with a wide variety of people that need a range of treatments.
What are the Benefits of Being a Skincare Specialist?
Working as a skincare specialist offers workers many distinct benefits. These include, but are not limited to the following:
- Helping others – Being a skincare specialist isn’t just about giving people facials and doing their nails. Instead, workers in this field have an opportunity to help their clients overcome conditions that cause them to be self-conscious and learn to project a more confident appearance.
- Working with many different people – A skincare specialist’s day at work is never dull, nor is it ever the same. That’s thanks in part to the wide variety of people that seek treatment. What’s more, since skincare specialists might also work on a person’s hair, makeup, and nails, so there is a lot of variety in terms of job tasks over the course of the day that makes each workday interesting.
- Strong income potential – Many skincare specialists enjoy a good income, particularly when tips and commissions on selling products are factored in. Working as a skincare specialist isn’t the highest paying job, but there are opportunities for making excellent wages over the long-term.
- Work environment – Workers in this field enjoy clean, comfortable work environments to spend their workday. In some cases, they might even work in high-end boutiques, salons, or spas that offer an even heightened degree of comfort in terms of working conditions.
- Low educational requirements – As noted earlier, to become a skincare specialist, one must only have a high school diploma or GED and complete a skincare specialist degree program that usually takes less than one year to finish. Since income potential is strong and there isn’t a long training period, working as a skincare specialist is a solid choice for workers that want to begin earning income sooner rather than later.
What is the Demand for Skincare Specialists?
As reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2021, demand for skincare specialists is expected to experience faster-than-average growth over the course of the next decade. In fact, the BLS estimates that this field will grow at a 29 percent rate through 2030.
The primary reason why skincare specialists should be in higher demand in the future is the increasing desire by people to slow down the effects of aging on their skin. Likewise, more and more consumers are turning to skincare specialists to help them achieve healthier-looking skin through procedures like waxing and facials.
Furthermore, more and more workers in this field are offering a wider variety of services. This includes home-based services in which they make house calls to provide clients with facials and other services in the comfort of their own home. This expansion of services will also likely have a positive impact on the demand for skincare specialists.
What are the Advancement Opportunities for a Skincare Specialist?
Skincare specialists have many different opportunities to advance their career, particularly with continuing education to acquire new knowledge and skills that help them provide improved and expanded services to their clients.
For example, a skincare specialist might take a course on new skincare products that enhance their clients’ skin health and feelings of wellbeing. As a result, they can offer the new product and related services as a means of getting more clients and expanding their business.
As noted earlier, becoming licensed and/or certified can also help skincare specialists advance their career. By demonstrating a commitment to continuing education and staying on the cutting-edge of skincare, workers in this field communicate to potential clients that they are committed to providing the best possible products and services.
Additionally, as skincare specialists acquire more experience, there are opportunities to move into a new role. For example, a skincare specialist that has developed a strong client base while working in a salon might venture out on their own and start their own, separate business.
In other words, advancement opportunities abound for workers that are committed to improving their craft and pursuing their long-term career goals.
What is the Difference Between an Esthetician and a Skincare Specialist?
The difference between an esthetician and a skincare specialist is virtually only in the name. The term esthetician refers to workers whose job is to improve the appearance of their clients. This includes skincare specialists, skin care professionals, certified skincare specialists, and various other specialties. That means that skincare specialists are just one of many specialties within the field of estheticians.
What Professions are Similar to Skincare Specialist?
As noted above, skincare specialists are just one specialization in the beauty industry. Similar careers can be found in a variety of areas, including:
Manicurist and Pedicurist
Workers in this field focus not on beautifying their clients’ skin, but instead work on beautifying fingernails and toenails. In addition to cleaning, trimming, and filing nails, manicurists and pedicurists also offer advice on proper care for one’s nails, possible treatments for fingernails and toenails, polish and buff nail surfaces, and provide massage services for the hands and feet.
Hairstylists work with clients to cut, color, and style hair for an improved look. Hairstylists come in a variety of forms, from barbers to salon specialists that work with specific types of clients, like fashion models. Hairstylists also address issues of the scalp, like dandruff, and recommend treatments to repair damaged hair.
Cosmetologists are trained in using different products and treatments for improving the appearance of skin, hair, and nails. They recommend products like make-up and nail polish to enhance a person’s outward appearance as well as provide services like hair coloring, perms, hair straightening or extensions to give clients a new, fresh look.
Massage therapists focus less on helping their clients to look good and more on helping their clients to feel good. Using therapeutic massage techniques, massage therapists help relieve stress, reduce pain, and facilitate relaxation by working on a client’s muscles and soft tissues via touch.