Dermatologist vs Esthetician – Who Do I Need?

Whether you started to experience acne in high school or later on into your adult life, we are certain that one of the immediate questions you may have asked yourself was, “What is this and how do I get rid of it?” 

If you are anything like us, you first poked, prodded and popped the pimples to see if they would magically disappear to never be seen again. When that did not work, you visited your local drugstore and bought every acne-clearing product that ultimately failed to fulfill its promises listed on the package. So finally, (after a good cry session of course), you accepted the fact that acne is not fair and it is time to seek professional help. 

But where do you start? 


Turning To Dermatologists

When going at it alone, acne can be frustrating to get under control and it can be an even bigger task to get clear while acquiring the tools to stay clear. Even with educated tweaks to your diet and skincare regimen, sometimes it is nice to have someone along for the journey guiding and directing you toward the success you are hoping to achieve. 

Because we are commonly conditioned to go to a ‘doctor’ when we are feeling sick or experiencing something unfamiliar with our bodies, many of us may feel most comfortable enlisting a skincare professional with medical credentials- a dermatologist. 

Benefits of Going to Dermatologists

Although we are a team of estheticians and trained acne specialists at Natural Acne Clinic, we believe there are many benefits to visiting a dermatologist as an acne sufferer explores the best option for themselves. 

The American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD) defines a dermatologist as, “a doctor who specializes in conditions involving the skin, hair, and nails. A dermatologist can identify and treat more than 3,000 conditions that include eczema, psoriasis, and skin cancer, among many others.” And to become a dermatologist involves many years of education and training. 

The AAD lists the standard prerequisites as:

  • Four years of college to earn a bachelor’s degree
  • Four years of medical school to become a medical doctor
    • A year-long internship, and
  • Three years of residency, working alongside experienced doctors and completing 12,000 to 16,000 hours of treating patients.

Beyond the above requirements, dermatologists can choose to advance their specialty areas by completing a fellowship and / or becoming board-certified by passing the certification exam with the American Board of Dermatology, the American Osteopathic Board of Dermatology, or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

Because dermatologists are medical professionals and have acquired the credentials to treat medical conditions, if you are experiencing signs of skin disorders associated with psoriasis, eczema, discoid lupus, skin cancer, hair loss, acne, etc., a dermatologist has the liberty to conduct an in-clinic biopsy, execute testing, diagnose, and direct you to the specialist who may be better suited to care for your skin ailment. 

Regarding acne, a dermatologist can certainly diagnose acne and prescribe treatments to help heal your skin as a solo provider on your journey, but it is also common practice to partner with an esthetician who will be able to provide deeper focus into clearing your skin beyond diagnosis and treatment. 

Discover How You Can Get Clear Of Your Acne. Schedule A Free 15 Minute Clear Skin Discovery Session



What You Won’t Get From Seeing Them

Due to the nature of  common clinical operations, overloaded schedules and overwhelmed doctors often follow the same course of action for all patients when they arrive for help –  patient in, quick look over, condition determined as non life-threatening, speedy diagnosis, prescription written, and next appointment scheduled for two weeks later that often follows the same agenda. 

For acne sufferers, this is not the best mode of operation to meet their needs.

Because dermatologists are in high demand, they can often miss the fine details associated with each individual acne case. Unfortunately, many of us have experienced this approach and reluctantly accepted their ‘one-size-fits-all’ regimen of oral antibiotics and topical prescription creams such as Retin-A (which contains pore clogging inactive ingredients).


When this approach fails because the body has gotten accustomed to the antibiotic regimen, the doctor will often prescribe a new one, and then another one, and when that one fails, Accutane (also known as Isotretinoin) becomes a common last resort. Many of these prescriptions fail to cure acne and can cause health-depleting side effects such as constipation, diarrhea, liver damage, depression and much more.

Acne is a unique skin disorder considering most sufferers can not easily cover it up. Having acne is shared with the world as it is most commonly found on the face for all to see. That can bring out feelings of shame, embarrassment, and failure. Because of this, it is important that focused time is spent with patients to attentively listen to their experiences with acne, possible triggers, known allergies, and to simply build an interpersonal relationship that goes beyond surface level communication. While dermatologists mean well, the limited amount of time allotted for their patients does not allow for a ‘whole person’ approach for someone hoping to get rid of acne.

Seeing An Esthetician

The practice of Esthetics “refers to the application of various techniques to the epidermal layer of the human body [such as, but not limited to] steaming, waxing, extraction, chemical peels, and pore cleansing,” according to

And those who practice esthetics are called estheticians. 

Estheticians are trained skin care professionals who are required to complete 300 to 1,000 hours of specialized training at an esthetics school, school of cosmetology, or in an apprenticeship program along with passing a state exam. Although each state’s requirements may differ slightly, most states require that esthetic professionals renew their license regularly and take continuing education classes to maintain a high level awareness and understanding of industry standards. 

Although most estheticians are accepted into their chosen esthetics program with a two-year or four-year college degree, that is not required. 

Benefits of Getting Treated By an Esthetician

There are instances when a dermatologist may also be a licensed esthetician, but this combo is not often found in a single skin care professional. 

Dermatologists regularly refer their patients to estheticians when the patient needs more time and attention to increasing the health, beauty and vitality of their skin by way of the following practices that are not commonly performed at a medical office:


How Medical Estheticians Can Help You

Acne sufferers know all too well that acne is not just surface deep and often starts with our diet and hormones. And even after those two triggers are addressed and we achieve clear skin, we may be left with unsightly hyperpigmentation and scarring. 

To help clients with a wider scope of services to address internal bodily needs and a  more broad spectrum of surface skin treatments, estheticians may opt to complete an additional 600 hours of extensive training to attain a Master Esthetician License which will equip them to  perform the following:

  • Aging analysis
  • Light energy
  • Stress management
  • Aromatherapy
  • Advanced skin disorders
  • Advanced hair removal
  • Advanced facials
  • Alternative spa therapies
  • Medical esthetics
  • And more!

Benefits of Working with Natural Acne Clinic

When you choose to select Natural Acne Clinic to come alongside you on your clear skin journey, we will: 

1) Get to know you in a 15-minute complimentary, no-commitment Clear Skin Discovery Session.

2)  Spend up to 1 hour with you during your first consultation online or in our Denver-based clinic so we can get to know you and your story in full detail, along with providing you with a customized treatment plan. 

3) Walk with you every step of the way whether you choose to achieve clear skin through our Online Acne Program or through our in-clinic Holistic Acne Consult

Coach on online consult
Clear Skin Specialist on Online Consult

The truth is, if there were only one specific acne trigger that you needed to focus on, it would be easy to get the clear and radiant skin you have been dreaming of. 

However, acne is a bit more complex and manifests itself differently in every individual. It is important that you and your acne history are known as a unique case and not treated with the same pill and cream given to everyone else.

Let’s Get Your Acne Treated

This is how we do things differently:

  • After scheduling your Online Acne Consult (conducted via a phone or Zoom video call), you will complete a Health Questionnaire and upload photos of your skin in our private and secure client portal, Clear Connection.  (For in-clinic clients, this step will happen in person.)
  • You will then meet with a Clear Skin Specialist for a 1-hour consultation via a phone or Zoom video call to discuss your acne type(s), skin tolerance, hormones, digestive system, and stress levels for imbalances that may be triggering acne. (For in-clinic clients, this step will happen in person.)
  • Receive your customized Clear Skin Treatment Plan in the Clear Connection portal along with a recommendation for the herbs and supplements that will help rebalance your body from the inside out, product regimen, and lifestyle education related to the habits and choices that aggravate acne such as food, birth control pills, medications, prescriptions, and stress.
  • Every 2-weeks, you will check in with your Clear Skin Specialist, via Clear Connection, to discuss your progress and responsiveness to the program. Based on your feedback and the Clear Skin Specialist’s assessment, customized adjustments will be made to your home care regimen. In order to get you clear, we must challenge your skin with a slightly different regimen every couple of weeks – this is what makes our program different. (For in-clinic clients, this step will happen in person.)
  • Week after week, celebrate your clear skin!


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About the Founder: Jessica Gremley

Jessica has been a Medical Esthetician, Certified Acne Specialist and Healing Diets Coach since 2003. After struggling with acne for more than a decade, she became determined to find a way to clear acne without pharmaceuticals for herself and eventually, future clients. Today, she offers a complete acne regimen that combines proven non-comedogenic skincare products, natural supplements, lifestyle coaching, and support from trained acne specialists to achieve lifelong clear skin. She and her staff serve locally at Natural Acne Clinic in Wheat Ridge, Colorado and nationally via NAC’s Online Acne Program.

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