How to make it as an aesthetic therapist
1. You should love science
“I trained as a beauty therapist more than 20 years ago but didn’t get involved in the aesthetic side of things until I moved to Australia in 2001. I was introduced to cosmeceutical skincare ranges and peel treatments at a unisex grooming centre I worked at, learning the benefits of a more scientific approach to treating skin conditions such as acne and pigmentation, and it changed everything.
“When I moved back to the UK in 2003, I decided to specialise in aesthetic treatments. I approached leading cosmeceutical brands Skinbrands, Skinceuticals and Medik8 to work with them on a consultancy and educator basis, before setting up my own business SkinGenius Clinic in Warrington, Cheshire, in 2015.”
2. Start by upskilling
“To become an aesthetic therapist, you should have qualifications in skin needling, peels and Level 4 laser, as well as a strong understanding of skin physiology. However, it’s also about taking your consultation skills to the next level because it’s a completely different process for aesthetic treatments.
“At my clinic, I have an ‘integrated skincare consultation’ that covers sensitivity testing, skin diagnosing and advice on a proposed treatment plan. This type of protocol can be up to a 90-minute treatment on its own.”
3. Swot up on skin physiology
“Although I trained and consulted with cosmeceutical brands to gain the skills I needed, I also did an independent, Open University course on skin physiology because when working with these more results-driven treatments you need to understand how skin works on a surface and cellular level.”
4. Be confident in yourself
“You need to have an outgoing personality in this job because these treatments require much more ‘hand holding’ with clients. You’re delivering procedures where recovery time is increased – there’s redness, irritation and there could even be swelling – so you need to make sure they understand exactly what to expect.
“For example, it’s important to explain that there might be some redness the next day and why it’s completely normal, otherwise the client could jump to conclusions, thinking it’s an adverse reaction.”
5. Find the right employer
“Look for an opportunity to approach a skin or doctor-led clinic as these places are crying out for aesthetic therapists and the industry doesn’t have the supply to meet the demand.
“In my opinion, beauty therapists have become almost stuck because there’s not enough out there in terms of education for them to move through that progressive aesthetic qualification.”
6. Speak out about your specialism
“One of the toughest things about being an aesthetic therapist is getting people to understand your expertise. Doctors don’t always have a full appreciation of our role or what we do with the skin, and it’s a shame as, at the end of the day, it’s all integrated in the results for the client.
“I’m a specialist in skin and I’m good at what I do, but I also have a doctor on site at the clinic who does injectables because I want to offer a high-quality standard of service to my clients. It’s about working alongside each other to give the best results.”