When you think of where a dermal therapist typically works, you would often think of your typical skin clinic but there’s a lot more to it. Because dermal therapists study a diverse range of subjects, they are surprisingly candidates to a multitude of career prospects that you might not think of that relate to maintaining and managing optimal skin health.
Despite the wide range of career pathways, most jobs for dermal therapists in clinical settings have similar environments. The foundation of why places employ dermal therapists is depicted from their overall communication skills to provide explanations and evaluations on important aspects of treating clients. These aspects include understanding side effects, clinical endpoints, possible contraindications, risks, complications, advice on pre and post care instructions, aftercare, and general skincare cosmeceutical recommendations.
It is for those reasons that dermal therapists are great candidates for skin clinics as they can treat skin concerns but most importantly, they are skilled in providing extensive clinical consultations and skin analysis to determine the most appropriate method of treatment. With regularly treating clients with microdermabrasion, skin needling, various chemical peels, dermal delivery and LED for example, there’s always an assortment of roles to undertake.
With the ability to safely operate laser and light devices for superficial cosmetic treatments, it provides more pathways to where dermal therapists can work. Laser safety is a top priority and because there are laser operation regulations in some states, dermal therapists are generally sought out to safely operate machines and devices. There are clinics that may only offer laser services including laser hair removal, pigmentation, and vascularity treatments. Dermal therapists can also work at tattoo studios to perform laser tattoo removal treatments and provide after care instructions for the best possible care for the area of concern.
Clinics in the industry are becoming multi-disciplinary and contain employees from multiple specialisations as it helps develop the best possible patient care plans. Some workplaces give dermal therapists an opportunity to be able to observe surgeons or dermatologists in relation to skin concerns and treatments due to having training in dermoscopy, OH&S and infection control. Managing and provision of non-surgical treatments through wound cleansing, compression, and dressing, wound and scar assessments, following algorithms for example, are also tasks that these workplaces value in dermal therapists.
For example, they can work with surgeons by preparing the skin before surgery and providing clients with care advice and management of the skin for clients pre/post surgery and devising treatment plans for scarring and oedema associated. Dermal therapists have also been approached by places like aged care facilities and other community health care facilities to monitor skin health due to their knowledge in skin, oedema, and wound management. They are also employed for knowledge on risk assessments and care of lymphatic conditions with responsibilities that include swelling management, compression, and lymphatic drainage treatments. Skin cancer clinics also employ dermal therapists due to their fundamental knowledge with dermoscopy and can give skin advice based on sun protection, provide skin lesion assessments and to produce evidence-based resources.
Generating sales is a key skill for most businesses in the beauty industry, and with the gained knowledge of skin pathophysiology, dermal therapists can take a lead in selling and retailing skincare products, machinery, and devices. Through sales, multiple dermal therapists have even journeyed into a cosmetic chemistry route and produced their own skin care and cosmeceutical product lines to sell in skin clinics and at retailers. And of course, there is also the route of managing or owning their own clinic.
Additionally, there is always the option for further study to extend job prospects and expertise. Dermal therapists already have a lot of experience in researching, finding, and reading reputable journal articles, referencing, and setting up research projects so they can further study for a PhD to continue to conduct research studies for the industry. Commonly, completing advanced and professional certificates in dermoscopy is an opportunity to further study and analyse skin lesions more in-depth. Another example of further studying is enrolling into a nursing degree, if interested in performing injectables and other cosmetic treatments.
Other careers that can be ventured towards can involve education. After multiple years of experience in the dermal workforce there is opportunity to work in the education sector as beauty educators and lecturers to teach students both the theory behind the skin, the mechanisms behind the treatments and the ins-and-outs of being a proficient dermal therapist. There are also employment opportunities to represent medical aesthetic companies and conduct training for clinic employees with the company’s products.
Multiple businesses, both in and out of the industry may require the knowledge of a dermal therapist. Most notably in relation to media and marketing, the social media world has the scenes of TikTok and Instagram placing skincare on a pedestal with no sight of decline, and therefore providing opportunities where many online outlets may be seeking out skin specialists to create content or provide insight to the beauty industry world – whether that be writing articles or creating videos for example.
Dermal therapy is a relatively new career compared to other jobs in the beauty industry meaning a lot of pathways and concepts can be created. There are an abundance of opportunities to set up dermal therapy services on specialties that therapists are greatly passionate about. Providing a service that fills a gap that the industry has not yet filled with the modalities from the dermal scope of practice is a great way for the industry to further grow. Whether that be filling a gap with accessibility, patient group or service, there is the potential for expansion in the industry.
To get into these spaces and create movement within your career, networking is your friend. Connecting with fellow alumni and associations like the Australian Society of Dermal Clinicians, Aesthetic Beauty Industry Council and the Australasian Society of Cosmetic Dermatologists for example are great groups to meet fellow alumni in areas of interest to partake in conversations, volunteer in industry work and create a reputation for yourself.
The future of the beauty industry is also ever evolving, creating more developments and even more opportunities through the continuous innovation with technology and new machinery that can heighten our abilities to help clients with their concerns. So, what is the takeaway message from this? There will always be space for a dermal therapist in the workplace if you make it. Dermal therapists are educated in valuable skills and a wealth of knowledge so if you find a gap in this industry that you feel like your skills can benefit from, then have no hesitancy to go ahead and fill that gap.