When to pick a Dermatologist vs an Aesthetician

When it comes to your skin, take the time to learn about the qualifications of the person who is administering care. Mistakes made by inexperienced or improperly trained skin care practitioners can worsen or permanently damage skin.

While trained aestheticians are great for skin pampering, that doesn’t mean they are the same or replacement for a Dermatologist when it comes to certain skin concerns you may have.

These differences are important to remember when you’re considering the care of your skin:

Years of training

Doctors have at minimum 10 years of advanced education and training before they become a consultant.

A Dermatologist is a specialized Doctor who undergoes further training for skin, hair and nails. At Clearly, every subscriber is paired with a Dermatologist who has at least 20 years of advanced education and training.

These are Dermatologists with practices licensed by the Singapore Medical Council.

Non-medical aestheticians may or may not have received professional training so it is important to vet the qualifications as well as their training in conducting the specific service you are seeking.

Best advice & treatment for you

When addressing your skin concerns, a Dermatologist will consider the full range of options and recommend the best for you. An aesthetician can only offer a subset of services and cannot prescribe medicine. In theory, aestheticians should also recommend the best option for you, even if it is outside of their subset of offerings.

However, since aesthetic clinics are not regulated it is difficult to ensure.

It is also important to remember that Doctors are held to high standards by the Singapore Medical Council. Doctors are obligated to make decisions that are in the best interest of their patients.

In Singapore, there is no regulatory body for aestheticians and spa/wellness professionals (only massage parlors) so customers need to be careful of businesses who employ ‘fly-by-night’ tactics such as "guaranteed results in first session", showing "before-and-after" images to create unjustified expectations of results, or hard sell tactics such as "do not delay" or "offer ending soon."


In the past, the cost of visiting a Dermatologist prevented most people from getting help. Through technology, Clearly has been able to significantly reduce the costs of accessing a Dermatologist to treat acne, enlarged pores, dark spots, fine lines and wrinkles. You pay a flat fee of $29.90 per month which includes the cost of medication, not matter how often you chat and how often we adjust your formulation.


Doctors have an obligation to act in the best interests of the patient, not to exploit patient’s vulnerabilities, fears or lack of knowledge such that they are persuaded to seek services that they may not need. Doctors are not allowed to promote an unreasonable expectation of benefit. In contrast, non-medical aesthetic clinics are free to advertise aggressively.

Clear signs that you are dealing with a non-medical practice is when you see clinics making claims of being “No. 1” or “Best”. Promoting an unreasonable expectation of benefit without even seeing a patient such as “cure your acne fast” or “results in just 1 session” are also tell-tale signs that you are dealing with a non-medical practice.

Put on your Buyer Beware Spidey-sense if you come across this.

Now, don’t get us wrong. Trained aestheticians can do good things for your skin, mood, and lifestyle. But be aware that just because they make you feel great doesn’t mean that they are the best or safest option when it comes to more persistent issues like acne, wrinkles, spots or clogged pores.

Dermatologists are able to give more holistic advice, proper medical treatments, and are held accountable to official and transparent standards. A good rule of thumb to ask yourself: would you feel comfortable sending your mama there? Keep these in mind when you are weighing your options!

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