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21.10.21 - PERS

What is the difference between a beautician, skin therapist and dermatologist?

A skin therapist is not a beautician, but also not a dermatologist. In this article we explain to you what the difference is and who is best to contact for which condition.

A beautician, skin therapist and dermatologist all have one thing in common: they have a profession that focuses on the skin.

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Skin therapist

The skin therapist is a paramedical specialist in treating healthy, diseased and/or damaged skin. Skin therapists work on the skin, with a focus on improving or maintaining healthy skin. You don’t come to skin therapists for a relaxing and soothing treatment. The aim of a skin therapeutic treatment is to reduce or repair a skin complaint. Some examples of complaints with which people can go to a skin therapist are forms of acne, vascular disorders, laser tattoo removal, pigment disorders, scars, skin aging and excess hair. The field of expertise of the skin therapist belongs to paramedics, which means that the skin therapist may perform medical procedures. However, the skin therapist is not a doctor.

To become a skin therapist, a 4-year HBO course in Skin Therapy is completed. Skin therapists fall under Article 34 of the BIG Act (Individual Healthcare Professions Act). The purpose of the BIG Act is to promote and monitor quality in healthcare. In order to retain the title of skin therapist and to remain registered in the BIG Act, the skin therapist is obliged to follow further training. These further training and other activities are registered in the paramedic quality register (KP register), also to help maintain knowledge and skills at a high-quality level. A skin therapist often works together with a dermatologist. In the past, you needed a referral from your GP to make an appointment with the skin therapist. A referral is no longer necessary, but the skin therapist can request information or provide feedback to the GP.


A dermatologist is a skin doctor who, after basic training as a doctor (duration: 6 years), has further specialized in recognizing and treating skin diseases. This further training lasts five years and can be followed at all university hospitals in the Netherlands. Dermatology (skin science) has four important pillars:

General dermatology
(Recognizing and treating skin conditions)
(Recognizing and treating varicose veins and skin abnormalities caused by impaired blood circulation in the legs)
(Surgical treatment of benign and malignant skin tumors)

Every dermatologist is extensively trained in these four pillars during their training. Often a dermatologist or a dermatology department has a specialty. For example, some dermatologists are extra interested in laser therapy, hereditary disorders, pigmentation disorders, varicose veins, lymphedema or skin abnormalities in children. Some dermatologists are so specialized that patients with special problems are referred to them from all over the country. In addition to these special skills, however, every dermatologist must master the entire profession and maintain professional knowledge. That is why there are national and international continuing education courses, of which every dermatologist must follow several annually in order to maintain his/her registration as a dermatologist.


A beautician performs a caring, relaxing and cosmetic procedure on the face and body. The biggest difference between the work of the skin therapist and the work of the beautician is that the emphasis of the work for beauticians is more on relaxation and beauty. The purpose of a beauty treatment is relaxation and care. This includes relaxing skin massages, refreshing masks or caring treatments such as epilation and waxing or, for example, dyeing eyelashes and eyebrows. Our beauticians will pamper you with soothing music, a warm blanket and wonderful scents. Beauticians have completed a 3-year MBO course and have all the knowledge to make you leave feeling wonderfully relaxed and cared for. Sometimes they take courses to enrich their knowledge.

Hopefully this article has made you a little wiser, but if you have any questions, you can always email me!

With kind regards,

Skin therapist at Undo