Q&A with a Certified Esthetician

In this interview with certified esthetician, Bassma Khalid, she discusses the importance of seeing an esthetician for reaching your skin goals and maintaining beautiful, healthy skin.

1. What’s an esthetician and how do you become one?

There's a couple different types of estheticians: medical estheticians and estheticians. Medical estheticians are trained in a broader array of non-skincare related services, such as laser hair removal - in addition to skincare. Personally, I wanted to put all my focus on skincare, which is why I decided to take all the courses and certifications required to become an esthetician, rather than a medical esthetician.

I went to the International Beauty Institute to get my skincare certificate, which is the main certificate I needed to become an esthetician (you can add on certificates for certain treatments afterwards). We had midterms, finals, practicals, and had to achieve an average above 80% in order to pass. It was definitely rigorous, but totally worth it in the end.

I also went back and became a certified technician for microneedling, demaplaning, microdermabrasion and bb glow; and I am currently taking another certification course for medical-grade chemical peels.

2. How did you decide that you wanted to be an esthetician?

I always had a passion for skincare, but I never really knew where to start or had the courage to pursue it. What really gave me that push to get started down this path was the fact that I started getting adult/hormonal acne out of nowhere. My cheeks, chin and forehead were breaking out uncontrollably. I went to see quite a few estheticians and dermatologists; and unfortunately, they did not help improve my skin. So, after that I decided to take matters into my own hands and decided that I wanted to not only help myself, but also others that are struggling with their own individual skincare issues. I guess you could say that after my own experience with acne, my passion for skincare grew exponentially; and really gave me this sense of purpose, where I just knew I wanted to help people improve their skin.



3. How often should you be seeing an esthetician?

It’s always recommended to see an esthetician once every 4 weeks, because that’s how long it takes the skin to move through the full life cycle of skin cell growth. However, everyone is different and it depends on your skin type and skin condition. For example, for acne-prone skin (grade 3 and 4), it’s recommended to come in every 2 weeks for maximum results.

4. What type of service do you provide?

Microneedling: A procedure that involves using medical-grade sterile needles to create tiny, invisible punctures on the top layer of the skin. This creates micro-injuries that stimulate the body’s natural wound healing process, resulting in cell turnover. The skin will then repair itself, producing new collagen and elastin.

This treatment can be used for:

* Fine lines and wrinkles, including crow's feet, smile lines, forehead lines, frown lines, and neck lines

* Deep acne scars and surgical scars

* Stretch marks

* Hyperpigmentation and melasma

* UV damaged skin

* Lost elasticity

* Enlarged pores

* Increasing skin plumpness

* Improving skin tone and texture

Microdermabrasion: A form of mechanical exfoliation using a diamond tip wand that is passed across the surface of the face. This diamond tip, combined with suction allows the exfoliated dead skin cells to be sloughed off and sucked away from the skin, creating a smooth and even texture. The level of exfoliation is customized based on the client’s skin condition.

This treatment can aid with:

*Rough textured skin

* Clogged pores

* Blackheads

* Whiteheads

* Balancing oil production

* Dull looking skin complexion

*Congested skin

BB GLOW: It gives a similar effect as having semi-permanent makeup on your face, but with benefits that help you achieve a radiant and youthful complexion. This treatment involves penetrating a pigmented vitamin serum into your skin that is 100% natural, made of vegetable extracts, that prevent clogged pores, unlike applying foundation or bb cream. It is a subtle and natural way of giving you the perfect skin tint without applying makeup daily. Additional treatments will increase the longevity of the pigment into your skin, therefore creating more coverage.


* Brightens dark circles under the eyes

* Reduces the appearance of freckles

* A brighter and more radiant complexion

* Creates a more even skin tone

* Reduces skin discoloration and age spots

* Lessens the appearance of fine lines

Dermaplaning: An effective skin exfoliation technique that removes dead skin cells using a sterile surgical scalpel designed for the face. It is also excellent for removing vellus hair as it can trap oils and dirt, leading to blocked pores and breakouts. Although this is a common concern, dermaplaning will not make your hair grow back thicker or darker.


*Instant result and no downtime

*Promotes the growth of new skin cells

*Reduces the appearance of acne scars and fine lines

*Provides deeper product absorption

*Smoother texture resulting in a brighter complexion

*Makeup glides on flawlessly

Protein Face Lift Facial: This treatment will help tighten and firm wrinkled, sagging, and age diminished skin by stimulating collagen. It also improves the tone of the skin by reducing pigmentation and giving hydration back. Amazing for skin types that suffer acne and congestion; as well as photo damage and the signs of skin aging. This ultra-detoxifying treatment focuses on naturally drenching the skin cells with oxygen, enhancing circulation for skin health and increasing cellular activity to fight the signs of skin aging. In addition, oxygen is a powerhouse against bacteria outbreaks and helps in the treatment of acne skin condition.

Chemical Peels: Chemical Peels are a treatment in which a licensed professional applies an acid solution to the skin to deeply exfoliate and remove the damaged layers of the epidermis (outer layer of the skin). This type of exfoliation will effectively help to treat concerns of: texture, blemishes, congestion, fine lines and wrinkles and loss of elasticity.

A chemical peel will:

*Reduce fine lines and wrinkles

*Strengthen skin, keeping it active and youthful

*Improve the appearance of texture and scarring

*Help to treat most grades of acne

*Reduce age spots, melasma, and PIH

There are different types of chemical peels, very superficial, to superficial, to medium depth.

LED, or Light Emitting Diode therapy: is a skincare treatment that uses varying wavelengths of light (red, blue, green, yellow), which have different effects on the skin.

*RED: is used to stimulate collagen production and increase circulation. It also increases the lymphatic flow and stimulates fibroblast activity.

*BLUE: Treatment for acne, kills the p. Acne bacteria (the bacteria that is known to cause acne)

*YELLOW: Healing, draining, detoxifying and promotes wound healing

*GREEN: Decreases melanin production, reduces pigmentation and eliminates redness

5. Who can benefit from seeing an esthetician?

Anyone and everyone can benefit from seeing an esthetician! It doesn’t matter if you’re a teenager, have mature skin, or even have perfect skin. It’s a great way to prevent further damage/breakouts/aging with both facials & skincare recommendations.

6. Do you only do facials or do you give skincare plans? How does seeing an esthetician fit into one’s overall skincare regiment?

Estheticians are able to comprehend and effectively recognize a vast array of different skin conditions; as well as have the knowledge and training to recommend and apply appropriate skincare products and treatments to help their clients achieve smoother, softer and more radiant looking skin.

In order to help my clients reach their skin goals, I will always recommend them a skincare plan. I like to say that my job is 30% and their job is 70%. This means that, there is no point in seeing an esthetician or getting a facial for your skincare concerns if you are not going to continue to properly care for your skin after our one hour or so monthly session. I find that this analogy really helps clients understand what I mean: getting a monthly facial and not having a quality skincare routine for care and maintenance is like going to the gym once a day trying to get your dream body; but then eating McDonalds for every meal.

Just like exercise will maximize your results when paired with a healthy diet, having a good skincare routine will maximize the results of the facial and its associated benefits.

7. What makes the products you use and recommend different from any other skincare from the drugstore, Sephora, etc.?

Medical grade skincare demands significant research and testing to certify that they’re safe and effective. While Sephora and over the counter skincare products require testing for safety, they don’t require the same rigor of research and testing that medical-grade skincare products require.

Also, medical grade skincare products are required to contain ingredients that are 99% pure and have higher concentrations of active ingredients. Most over-the-counter skincare products are designed to work only on the skin’s surface, whereas medical-grade products can reach the underlying layers of skin to help target the source of the problem.

My favorite medical skincare brand is GlyMed Plus. It is the highest quality of pharmaceutical grade skincare products and the only products that I use and recommend for my clients and myself. GlyMed Plus is designed to treat all skin conditions including aging, acne, photo-damaged, pigmentation, rosacea, sensitive, dry/dehydrated, and more.

Some facts about GlyMed Plus:

- Made in the USA

- Cruelty free

- Vegan

- Fragrance free

- Contains only organic botanicals

8. What makes a good esthetician? And what red flags should people look out for?

Before I started my business, I went to see a few estheticians for monthly facials. The times I have went I did not feel like the esthetician cared about the service she was providing or cared about improving my skin. I remember one time the esthetician did not ask me any questions, nor did she make me fill out a form telling her my skin issues, whether I am on Accutane (most facials cannot be performed while on Accutane), whether I’m pregnant or breastfeeding, what products I am currently using, and other important information – which are huge red flags.

Other red flags include: being distracted, going on their phone mid-session (and not sanitizing hands right after), the facial feeling very rushed, feeling like she’s trying to sell you on products instead of helping you; and not having her certificates on display.

A great esthetician asks many questions, from skincare, to diet, to activity levels, and more; in order to find the root of the client’s issues. In addition, they should also customize a skincare routine, have a spotless spa, always wearing and sanitizing gloves; as well as be informative, approachable, educated and passionate.

9. Are you currently taking patients and how can you be contacted for appointments?

I will be taking patients starting September 1st. I am currently working on the launch of my website and booking app, but for now I will be taking appointments through Instagram direct message (@facialsbybass) or through my email; facialsbybass@gmail.com

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Wellness is not simply a state of being, but rather a conscious, goal-oriented pursuit that spans throughout one's life. 

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