Who’s who to care for Black Skin?

One question we hear a lot at Black Skin Directory is ‘who should I see about my skin?’ It’s a minefield out there with so many different types of skin professionals, so it’s important to consult the right one. Especially one that understands the nuances dark skin!

If you’re unsure whom you should see about your skin, don’t worry; you’re certainly not alone. It’s very common to be confused about whom will best serve your needs. So with that in mind, we’ve put together this handy guide to point you in the right direction for your best skin health and help you understand the different types of professionals listed on our directory.

5 types of #BSD Skin Professionals

1. Dermatologists

Dermatology is the branch of medicine concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases affecting the skin, hair and nails. Dermatologists are qualified medical doctors who have completed an additional eight years of post-graduate training to specialise in this field earning them the grand title of Consultant Dermatologist. That’s 14 years worth of training and education so they sit at the top of the skin health pyramid.

Dermatologists are qualified to work with a range of patients from new-born babies to the elderly and they tend to practice in hospitals, medispa clinics or within their own private practices. They provide skin consultations and can treat a range of conditions including skin cancer, moles, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea and acne.

Dermatologists also practice in non-medical aesthetics, performing an extensive range of cosmetic treatments such as: peels, laser therapy, intense light therapy (IPL), botox and dermal fillers to address aesthetic concerns.

2. Aesthetic Doctors

Aesthetic medicine is an umbrella term, which describes a set of practices that focus on improving cosmetic appearance. Qualified medical doctors and dentists are able to enter this field immediately post medical degree. They can also choose to complete a post-graduate qualification in aesthetic medicine or train with independent organisations who offer intensive short courses.

Aesthetic doctors must work predominately with adults and would usually refer their clients to a Dermatologist should they come across cases that require extensive medical attention (i.e. skin cancer).

You can find them in medi-spa clinics or private practice, delivering minimally invasive and non-invasive treatments for various conditions including acne, scars, skin laxity, wrinkles, moles, liver spots, excess fat, cellulite, unwanted hair, skin discolouration and spider veins. There is a vast choice in procedures and treatments to choose from when addressing these conditions and they range from: muscle relaxing injections sometimes called Botox, chemical peels, dermal fillers, derma roller, sclerotherapy, medical skin care, lasers and IPL and body sculpting.

3. Cosmetic Nurses

Cosmetic or Aesthetic Nurses are qualified nurses with a minimum three years general adult nursing experience, usually in the NHS or private private hospitals. With further training such as the Non-Medical Prescribing (V300) Course they can make the transition to providing full time aesthetic services, which include prescription Botox and dermal fillers. However, most Cosmetic Nurses also provide non invasive cosmetic treatments for conditions such as acne, spider veins and skin pigmentation concerns.

Cosmetic Nurses are usually based in medi-spa clinics or their own personal private practice space.

4. Aestheticians

Aestheticians are skin specialists who are trained to address skin disorders holistically. They undergo extensive training, usually in the form of a Level 4 diploma after completing NVQ’s in Beauty Therapy. This training can take up to two years to complete and provides in-depth knowledge about the skin’s anatomy, physiology and microbiology alongside skincare ingredient and how medical conditions, nutrition and lifestyle contribute to overall skin health.

Aestheticians deliver services within beauty salons, medi-spa clinics or their own private clinic. They offer advanced skin treatments such as chemical peels, lasers and IPL, microneedling, blemish removal via cryotherapy and skincare products.

It is common to find Aestheticians working concomitantly with Dermatologists and Aesthetic Doctors, as they are able to give advice to ensure the skin is in optimal condition to receive the full benefits of medical treatments.

5. Facialists

Facialist is a new ‘ish’ term used to describe beauty therapists who focus specifically on facial skin care post qualification (usually NVQ or CIBTAC). Some Facialists choose to undertake extensive product and brand training increase their knowledge and provide more varied treatments like laser and chemical peels.

Facialists can be found in beauty salons, medi-spa clinic’s, hotels, large beauty retailers, cruise ships and just about any environment that offers a pampering experience. They all work to enhance the appearance of the skin (which can also include the body) however, depending on their training and experience will use different approaches.


We are proud to have all of these types of practitioners on Black Skin Directory - be it hyperpigmentation, keloid scarring, DPN removal or melanoma they all know how to treat dark skin.

 The best way to contact them is to complete the enquiry form attached to each practitioner profile. They will contact you within 48 hours to get your on journey to skin health.
— Black Skin Directory

What are the key differences between practitioners?

-  Dermatologists and Aesthetic doctors are registered on the General Medical Council (GMC) register. Some Dermatologists predominantly work in the skin disease field, including the diagnosis, treatment and surgical management of skin cancers.

-  The main crossover between Dermatologists and Aesthetic Doctors lies in their ability to provide cosmetic treatments for their patients. They are both qualified to prescribe and administer prescription-only treatments (this includes injectable cosmetic treatments) and medical skincare such as oral and topical retinoids and antibiotics.

-   Cosmetic Nurses are qualified and registered on the Nursing & Midwifery Council and they usually have three years of general adult nursing NHS or private experience.

-  Aestheticians are qualified to provide comprehensive skin analysis, recommend advanced skin products and provide treatments. They are not prescribers and neither are they allowed to administer prescription-only treatments or medical skincare like Hydroquinone or Botox.

-  Facialists are not always skin specialists. If a facialist wishes to become an Aesthetician they must complete an accredited course in Aesthetic practice.

Now you know what everyone does, how do you select a practitioner?

Bearing in mind, the areas of overlap, the general rule of thumb is:

If you want a quick pick me up for an instant fresh-faced glow, your best bet is to consult a Facialist.

Addressing skin disorders like acne, rosacea, pigmentation and scarring requires you to consult a qualified Aesthetician who can give you a comprehensive view of what’s happening to your skin and/or refer you to Dermatologist for more intensive treatment.

If you want to make structural cosmetic changes to your face and body e.g. lip augmentation or non-surgical nose reshaping, then you would contact one of our Aesthetic Doctors or Nurses.

If you have a mole or scar that is constantly weeping or crusting, difficult to treat or heal, then heading straight to a Dermatologist for further investigation is the best action you can take. The same goes for any chronic and acute skin conditions, which you can’t seem to resolve.

We have all of these type of practitioners on Black Skin Directory - be it hyperpigmentation, keloid scarring, DPN removal or melanoma they all know how to treat dark skin.  The best way to contact them is to complete the enquiry form attached to each practitioner profile. They will contact you within 48 hours to get your on journey to skin health.