Who exactly should you trust with your skin concerns

It’s been over 3 years since I started taking clients as a skincare consultant and I find myself still getting baffled by the kind of stories I hear during consultations. Most times people tell me they visited a ‘dermatologist’ in a ‘market place’ and that he/she ‘mixed’ some topical applications for them which may or may not have worked. And this often makes me ask; who exactly should you trust with your skin concerns?

I’m a firm believer that when people are better informed they can make better decisions. So knowing who is who would go a long way in helping one to turn to the right place for help.

  • Dermatology is a branch of medicine that deals with skin, nails, hair and its diseases. This means that a dermatologist would have gone to medical school (7-10 years in Nigeria) and afterwards specialized in dermatology (another 2-3 years after housemanship and NYSC). He/She is licensed to perform surgical procedures and biopsies in order to treat dermatological diseases. In other words, dermatology is a specialty just like pediatrics and OB/GYN.
  • Skincare Consultations are usually anchored by a skincare consultant. Ideally, he/she must have obtained a certification after at least a 100-hour theory + practical training session from a credible institution. A diploma or degree is usually not required prior being certified to offer skincare consultation services. A credible skincare consultant would gladly refer a client to a dermatologist when unusual skin conditions are observed, either for biopsies or proper diagnosis. They do not use their clients as guinea pigs to test ‘mixtures’ and are transparent and not afraid to tell their clients their level of certification and/or experience. They are also open about the products they recommend to their clients, the ingredients contained in the product and why they recommend it. They may or may not offer facials services.
  • An esthetician usually offers spa, facials, waxing, massage, manicure and pedicure services. Because this requires a lot of touching others sometimes in personal places, proper training from a credible institution is required when pursuing this career path. In other climes, an additional license by a State Esthetician Board is required before one starts practicing. Such a license expires within a few years and has to be renewed after writing an exam or two. Unfortunately, that’s not the case in Nigeria.

Skincare Consultants can get further certification to become estheticians and vice versa. But neither of them is qualified to diagnose skin diseases (different from skin conditions). Something all of the above have in common is that they offer MORE of paid services than products.

I’ll ask you again, who exactly should you trust with your skin concerns?

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