Esthetician Regulations


Estheticians are specially trained in the care of skin. The state cosmetology board or licensing agency writes and implements regulations that protect the health and well-being of estheticians and their clients. Cosmetology officials may make surprise visits to inspect and enforce cosmetology rules and regulations in facilities where esthetics services are offered.


  • The amount of hours of training an esthetician is required to have varies by state; it ranges from 250 to 1,500 hours. Subjects taught in training include the anatomy and function of the skin, chemistry, facial treatment techniques, face and body waxing, makeup applications and body treatments. State laws may mandate that students spend a certain amount of time in the classroom receiving instruction with the remainder to be spent performing services. Cosmetology schools may have to submit an accounting of the esthetician's school hours to state officials.


  • After completion of training, an esthetician must pass a state licensing exam administered by the state cosmetology board to receive a license. The exam has two parts, a multiple choice written exam and a practical exam. A few weeks after passing the exam, the esthetician will receive a license allowing her to practice cosmetology. The license must be renewed periodically; in some states yearly and in others every other year. Depending on state law, the esthetician may have to complete continuing education classes before the license can be renewed. Some states require estheticians post a current license in their work area.

Scope of License

  • State cosmetology laws define the scope of an estheticians license. Estheticians are not medical doctors; they only work on the epidermis (the outer layer) of the skin and do not diagnose medical conditions. If an esthetician notices that a client has a skin condition that requires medical attention, the esthetician should not treat the skin but instead recommend the client see a physician. Estheticians should know whether or not their particular state laws allow them to render paramedical treatments such as medical grade chemical peels and laser treatments and if this should be done under the direction of a physician.

Safety and Sanitation

  • Estheticians protect the safety and health of their clients by following certain guidelines regarding sanitation practices. An esthetician’s workplace should remain free from dirt and debris. State law requires an esthetician to use hospital grade disinfectants to sanitize and disinfect non-porous tools used from client to client. An esthetician should discard disposable items such as wooden wax applicators and cotton after use. She should also wear protective clothing: a clinical jacket, gloves, and closed footwear. These will protect her from potential exposure to infectious materials.

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