How To Become A Skin Therapist

a skin therapist preparing their clients skin

If you’re looking for a career change and love working with people, consider becoming a skin therapist. Of course, this is not a job for everyone, but if you love working with people and helping them, this is a career where you can be a positive force in someone’s life. 

With more people getting serious about skincare, the demand for talented skin therapists is rising. Go to any hotel, spa or wellness centre, and you’re certain to find a skin therapist on the premises. Also, when brands introduce new skin care products to the market, a skin therapist is often one of the first to know and may even get early samples to try out.

While working as a skin therapist is rewarding and may open up a new world of opportunities, you need to start somewhere. So keep reading to see if this is the career for you. 

What Is A Skin Therapist?

a skin therapist giving a facial treatment

A skin therapist is a person who has specialised training to help clients deal with various skincare issues. Skin therapists must have the right qualifications and a license from their local authorities. These experts understand the conditions that affect the skin, such as spots, wrinkles and damage from the sun. 

Skin Therapist Responsibilities[i]

a skin therapist preparing a client's skin for treatment

The role of a skin therapist can be pretty varied, and some of the responsibilities may depend on where you work. However, you can expect to perfect the following treatments:

  • Show clients how to clean their skin and apply makeup properly
  • Check clients’ skin for spots of blemishes and recommend the best treatment or products
  • Recommend the best available skin care products for keeping the skin clean and nourished
  • Remove unwanted hair from the face or body using laser treatment, wax or other products
  • Offer facials and full-body treatments
  • Give clients head and neck massages to rejuvenate the look of the skin
  • Apply various masks or scrubs to remove dry or dead skin
  • Refer clients to dermatologists and other specialised skin care specialists for severe problems with the skin. 

Other tasks include:

  • Booking clients’ appointments.
  • Keeping all the equipment sanitised and sterile.
  • Ordering products and training new staff.

Many skin therapists also have a range of skin care products available on the premises and may sell them to clients as needed.

Good Skills For A Skin Therapist To Have[ii]

skin therapist working with client

A skin therapist will often be in charge of a wide variety of tasks, so many different skills would be considered beneficial for a skin therapist to have. Some of these skills include:

Business Skills – Whether you are working for a skincare clinic or plan on opening your own, it’s essential to understand that you are working in a business and the purpose of a company is to make a profit. If you know how the industry should work, you can help create a successful one. 

Sales & Marketing Skills – It’s important to understand your target demographic, and this is where sales and marketing skills come into play. Apart from offering initial skin care treatments, it’s always good to provide your clients with a collection of products and services when they come in for treatment. After all, once you help your clients deal with a particular skin issue, you want them to have a reason to come back, even if it is purchasing skincare products. 

Product Knowledge – Skin therapists often have a clinic full of various skin care products they offer their clients. While this is beneficial to the clinic as a business, it’s crucial to understand all the fine points of every product you offer. In addition, skin types will vary from one client to another, and you need to know which products are for a particular skin type. 

Time Management Skills – Time management skills are essential when you have a full schedule booked with clients. If you run late with one client, you run the risk of not only running late all day but also increasing the time so that by lunchtime, your clients may end up waiting longer than 15 minutes which they will find annoying. Instead, understand how long each treatment will take and allow enough time to sanitise all your equipment between clients. 

Cleanliness & Hygiene Practices – The skin is the body’s largest organ. Although it does contain all the internal components quite well, skin can become infected and irritated if skin therapists don’t take proper precautions to ensure everything in the clinic is kept clean to the highest standards. This means knowing how to properly sterilise all the equipment and ensuring you and other therapists maintain strict hygiene protocol. 

Readiness to keep learning – Skincare is a constantly changing industry with new products and techniques continually appearing on the market. If you aren’t willing to continue learning, you may find your skincare services obsolete. 

Customer Service & People Skills – Other than the skills and qualifications you need to be a licensed skin therapist, customer service and people skills are a top priority. Throughout the day, you will be working with possibly dozens of customers and clients as well as your co-workers. Therefore, you need to know how to speak with your clients in polite, friendly and respectful tones and treat your workers or co-workers with respect. The friendlier the work environment, the happier everyone will be and the better chances the clinic as a business at success. 

Education And Training Needed To Become A Skin Therapist

a skin therapist applying a facial treatment

Becoming a skin therapist requires education and training. It helps if you already understand how to care for your skin, and you will need to take some facial courses to know how to help your clients take care of their skin. Some of the modules covered in facial courses include: 

  • Skin Analysis
  • Skin Disorders
  • Structure of the Skin
  • Sanitation and Hygiene
  • Masks and moisturisers
  • Massage techniques for the face, neck and decolletage
  • Suggesting facial routines
  • Cleansing massages – both manually and with a brush machine
  • Products and Equipment
  • Setting up your work area
  • And many more

Once you have completed the relevant courses, you will also need to gain some experience. For example, many hotel spas take entry-level skin therapists, and you can also start in skincare clinics and beauty salons. Eventually, you may be able to open your own salon or clinic, but it is recommended that you gain some experience at a reputable clinic or spa first. 

Average Skin Therapist Salary

skin therapist providing treatment

As a skin therapist, you can expect to earn an average of about $30 per hour or close to $60,000 annually.[iii] However, this will depend on factors such as your experience and qualification levels, location and the type of facility you are working in. 

How To Become A Skin Therapist?

skin therapist providing facial cream

To become a skin therapist, the first thing you need to do is gain the relevant qualifications. Depending on where you live, the first step is completing the relevant courses to gain a Certificate in Beauty Therapy and Beauty Services. There are many courses you can take once you have completed the basic ones; you can choose others if you want to specialise in specific areas. Before you commit to any courses, make sure they are fully approved and licensed in your state or territory. 

Practical experience is also crucial in becoming a fully qualified and skilled skin therapist. The theory you learn during the courses will help you understand the basics about skin, diagnosing problems and suggesting treatment but without actual experience, you are only halfway there. Work experience with a fully qualified professional skin therapist is essential and you will gain a lot of additional knowledge from this person. You can also work as an apprentice skin therapist while you are completing your courses. 

Once you start working at a skin care clinic in either a spa, hotel, wellness centre or salon, you will quickly discover new and innovative techniques that you won’t learn in the courses you take. The courses are critical to get you started, but practical experience is where you will learn the best tips and secrets in the industry. 

Becoming A Skin Therapist

skin therapist providing facial treatment

There are many advantages to becoming a skin therapist not least of all the fact that this line of work can result in a long and rewarding career. This is the ideal career for those wanting a change and once you have gained experience and credentials, the sky is the limit. You can look for a position in a prestige salon or even open your own skin therapy clinic at home. If you like working with people and have a genuine interesting in helping them with their goals of radiant, healthy skin, becoming a skin therapist may be the perfect career choice for you.