The Esthetic Goddess's post What I Have Learned (So Far) As An Esthetician, I knew I had to interview her about her career. In the following interview Susie provides an insider’s look into her career as an esthetician while offering advice and tips to help the consumer. Enjoy:
I have been a licensed esthetician for over 10 years in a wonderful medical spa. When I go to work every day I get to do facials, chemical peels, micro current, skin tightening treatments, and micro dermabrasion. My job is not only fun but rewarding and I love sharing what I have learned in the esthetics field!
What is an esthetician?
An esthetician is someone who works on the skin. This can include facials, waxing, chemical peels, body wraps, make-up and lasers. Estheticians cannot diagnose or treat skin diseases. If I see something suspicious on a client I recommend them to my favorite dermatologist who I know will take good care of them.
What motivated you to become an esthetician?
I started getting chemical peels at the age of 28. I thought it was so cool that just by applying something to someone’s skin you could change their skin tone and texture for the better.
When I was 37 my 17 year marriage came to an end. I had always been a stay at home mom and need a career. I had such a love for esthetics that it was a meant to be for me! We have no esthetic schooling around me so I drove 180 miles a day for school. I was extremely determined to make it happen and it was extremely worth it in the end!
What kind of experience and preparation helped you the most?
I feel like I got an exceptionally education from my esthetics teacher. She was a tough teacher. At first she didn’t even like me. (Hello?! I’m really lovable!) She gave me the hardest clients to work on and I was determined (There’s that word again. It describes me well!) To not let her break me. By the time I graduated her heart softened. She’d seen me working hard and exceeding education wise. She adored me by the end and I her! I owe so much to her. I felt very well prepared when I graduated.
In Illinois where I live Estheticians are required to have 750 hours of schooling. Once you graduate you have to get a state license by passing a written exam. After passing you can go on to more advanced training since you only learn basics in school. Every two years you need to complete 10 hours of continuing educating. This is for Illinois. All states have different requirements for estheticians.
What do you like best about your work?
Helping clients gain confidence! When a client comes to me with sun damage, acne, wrinkles, or whatever the skin problem is. I not only will help treat their skin but teach them what they need to be doing at home to maintain their skin in between the time till I see them again for another treatment. My goal is to always get my client skin looking great without make up.
What is your biggest headache?
Clients who think everything can be corrected in one treatment. It took a long time for their skin to get to the condition it is so it will take time to get it in good shape. Sometimes it can take several months. If you want your complexion looking beautiful for a wedding, reunion, etc. then start working on it a year before the special day.
What are the important personal qualities or abilities necessary for a person to be a successful esthetician?
Patience is a biggie! Not just treatment wise but you must have patience with the client themselves. For many of them they have never been taught to use the proper skin care. Often times I will baby step them into using the correct skin care. Starting with a good cleanser and working from there. This way they will not be overwhelmed with a lot of products at once.
I also think you must always be professional. I have a ton of fun with my clients but I would never bad mouth my completion. Even if a client is telling me of a bad experience they had with them.
Always do your job with integrity. Don’t sell a client a product or treatment you know will not work for them.
For someone who is considering this field, what would be you advice?
Find what you love in this field and specialize in it and never ever stop learning!
What do you wish you would have known before entering this field?
I can honestly say I have no surprises when I enter this field of work. I went into it with my eyes wide open and have never regretted it for a second!
How much can an esthetician expect to earn?
As a licensed esthetician you can make anywhere from $20,000-$50,000. It will all depend on experience and were you are working as well as what field you’re in. Working in a medical spa will pay more than working in a in a hair salon. You can also work from your own home or become a make-up artist. Salary will also depend on geo graphics. Do you live in a small town or big city? There are so many different variables.
Are there any scams or pitfalls to watch out for (phony opportunities, uncomfortable or scary situations, etc.)?
Oh there’s a ton of skin care out there that doesn’t really work. That’s why I will try out products for 3 months when trying a new product line. You cannot expect skin care to change your skin in 2 weeks and if they advertise that I would be very leery of that company. You also have to be careful of salesman selling machines. Lasers, skin tightening, microderm machines or any machine really. They all have limitations but sales people will say anything sometimes to make a sale. Not all sales people of course but they better have clinical studies to back up what they are claiming.
You mention on your blog that this is an ever changing field, what is the biggest change you’ve seen over the years?
There are definitely more machines then ever out now. So many different types of lasers and you can treat everything from sun damage to sagging skin to wrinkles with them. This is why it’s so important to stay on your toes. You have to figure out what really works and how well it will work for your clients.
I am a 51-year old woman with extremely oily yet sensitive skin. I recently noticed fine lines on my forehead and in the corner of my eyes. I have a drawer full of free samples of over-the-counter anti-aging products which I never remember to use. When I do remember, I either end up with a rash or don’t see any noticeable difference. If I were to visit your salon what would you recommend for my skin?
First and foremost we would sit down and discuss everything you are using on your skin and figure out what you should be using. Many times client believe there skin to be sensitive when it truly is not. It may have to do with two products they are using that are interacting with each other or it is an anti-aging ingredient, like retinol or glycolic acid, which when you first start using causes your skin to get red, itchy, or flaky. When used correctly, your skin will get acclimated to the products and all that will stop. After that we would discuss some of the treatments I can do on you to help address these issues. Like a chemical peel to help with fine lines and your oily skin. You may also be a candidate for the Venus Freeze treatment which helps tighten the skin. However I think your best bet is Botox to erase those wrinkles. Botox is a muscle relaxer. It’s perfect for forehead lines and crow’s-feet. I have been getting Botox done for over 20 years and think its da bomb!!
Also, I know a woman who had a skin treatment to remove acne scars from her chin at a prestige skin-salon. She ended up with second degree burns on her face and a settlement of $3,000 to pay her medical expenses. I’m not sure what happened; if a mistake was made with the procedure or if she didn’t understand the potential side-effects. What questions should consumers ask or potential problems should we be aware of before choosing a skin-treatment product or procedure?
This really is dependent on the type of treatment. I think the biggest thing for the client would be to know how often they are preforming this procedure. What kind of training was involved and what is the reputation of the facility they are planning on going to.
Is there anything else you would like readers to know about yourself, skin care or your career?
If anyone is think of going into esthetics it is an incredible rewarding field and I feel blessed every day to not only have a wonderful clientele but to work in a medical spa with the a fantastic group of people ever!
Where can we find you?
If anyone has any concern about their skin I am always happy to help. I can be found at http://www.estheticgoddess.com.