Beauty in the Battle: Exploring Oncology Esthetics

oncology esthetics salary

When a client is undergoing cancer therapy, a skincare or spa treatment can go a long way toward easing their discomfort. However, not every esthetician has the expertise to address the unique skincare needs of those in the midst of cancer treatment. 

Because of this, the field of oncology esthetics has become a booming industry as more cancer patients seek out safe, nurturing services to address their needs without affecting their cancer therapies. 

Estheticians can obtain an oncology skincare certification by completing comprehensive training that teaches them how to understand, assess, and treat the needs of clients undergoing treatment therapy. 

Are you ready to expand on your knowledge of esthetics and make a meaningful difference in the lives of clients battling cancer?

In this article, we will discuss the roles of oncology estheticians, education and certification requirements, and what to expect during your training.

Table of Contents

What Is Oncology Esthetics?

Oncology esthetics is an advanced field within the beauty and skincare industry that focuses on providing safe and nurturing skincare for those experiencing the effects of cancer therapies or surgical interventions. 

Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and immunotherapy can cause various side effects, including

  • Redness and irritation
  • Itching
  • Dryness, flaking, or peeling
  • Rashes
  • Photosensitivity
  • Changes in pigmentation
  • And more 

Most of these side effects resolve themselves once treatment has finished but can cause significant discomfort in the meantime. Many patients seek the help of oncology estheticians for proper management to ease this discomfort and prevent further damage to the skin.

Oncology esthetics takes a person-centered approach that ensures both physical and psychological well-being. It includes modifying spa or salon treatments to prevent potential complications or discomfort while supporting clients experiencing cancer's physical and emotional challenges. 

ocology esthetics training

What Is an Oncology Esthetician and What Do They Do?

Oncology estheticians are trained to understand the effects of cancer treatments on the skin. They use their knowledge to modify esthetic therapies to the unique skincare needs and concerns of clients battling cancer. 

An oncology esthetician carefully assesses each client’s condition before proceeding with spa or salon treatments. The initial assessment may include the evaluation of:

  • Any rashes or irritation on the skin
  • Potential changes in skin pigmentation
  • Current or former steroid use
  • The presence of ports used for chemotherapy
  • Presence and location of phlebitis
  • Type of cancer therapy and what areas have been or are being treated
  • If the patient is currently undergoing chemotherapy or is in remission

Following the initial assessment, an oncology esthetician will modify treatments to ensure the physical and psychological well-being of the client. Some methods oncology estheticians utilize include

  • Using oncology-approved skincare products
  • Modifying acupuncture or massage techniques based on ports and surgical sites
  • Avoiding excessive heat or pressure
  • Avoiding using harsh chemicals, exfoliants, or irritating products

Oncology Esthetics Education and Certification Requirements

Oncology skincare is not a separate set of techniques and procedures but rather an extension of existing esthetics knowledge. 

To become an oncology esthetician, you must first obtain a basic or standard esthetician license. You can then seek advanced training or post-licensure certification in oncology skincare from an on-site, online, or hybrid program. While the state does not mandate rules and regulations for this specific field, an oncology esthetician certification can boost your career in many ways. 

Educational and State Licensing Requirements

Each state has its own set of rules and regulations governing the practice of esthetics, so it’s important to research your state’s requirements.

All states require estheticians to undergo some form of training to qualify for licensure. The minimum requirements for training and curriculum vary by state but typically include at least 600 practice hours. Some states also recognize apprenticeships as acceptable training methods, although this option may take longer. 

Following training, students must pass a state board exam to obtain licensure. The exam includes both a written and a practical portion that will test the student’s skills in various areas of esthetics. 

Ready to learn more? Find out how to become an esthetician.

Advanced Study and Certification in Oncology Esthetics

As cancer diagnoses continue to rise, there is an ever-growing demand for professionals who can provide safe and specialized skincare treatments for patients. 

A certification in oncology skincare can demonstrate your commitment to understanding and addressing clients’ concerns during every stage of their battle. 

Licensed estheticians seeking training in oncology skincare techniques can obtain certification by completing a comprehensive course of study, such as the onsite oncology workshop offered by Spectrum Advanced Aesthetics. 

Our training helps estheticians gain a deeper understanding of the side effects caused by surgical procedures and cancer treatments, such as 

Students learn how to properly evaluate the needs of clients undergoing cancer therapies and modify treatments to ensure comfort and safety throughout sessions. 

oncology esthetician

Oncology Esthetics FAQs

What Do You Learn in Oncology Esthetics Training?

In oncology esthetics training, you will acquire knowledge and skills to provide safe and effective skincare and beauty services for clients undergoing cancer treatment. 

During the training course, students will gain a deeper understanding of Western medicine cancer treatments and learn:

  • How the skin reacts to various treatments.
  • The right types of products to use. For example, products with antioxidants are not ideal for those undergoing treatment because free radicals are needed to kill cancer cells in the body. 
  • Modifications you can make to help reduce a client’s nausea and discomfort.  
  • How to become comfortable treating patients who are bald and how baldness can affect a person’s self-esteem. 
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Why Should I Consider Oncology Esthetics Training?

According to the National Cancer Institute, nearly 39.5% of men and women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point during their lifetimes. This means that much of the population will experience the unpleasant side effects of cancer treatments, such as rashes, photosensitivity, and dry skin. 

As an esthetician, you may not have anticipated practicing oncology skincare. However, one or more of your clients will likely be diagnosed with cancer sometime during your career, and they may want to keep you as their skincare specialist. 

Proper skincare products and services can help alleviate the discomfort of dry, itchy, or cracked skin caused by radiation and chemotherapy. As an esthetician trained in oncology skincare, you have the opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of your clients undergoing treatment. 

Obtaining certification enhances your skills as an esthetician, establishes trust, and proves your dedication to ensuring the well-being of your clients. 

What Is the Cost of Oncology Esthetics Training?

Costs of oncology esthetics training vary, but Spectrum’s on-site, comprehensive program is only $349. 

oncology esthetician

What Is the Average Oncology Esthetics Salary?

ZipRecruiter reports that as of September 2023, the average pay for Oncology Estheticians in the United States was $22 per hour, or $45,919 annually. However, salary may vary depending on your state.

Spectrum Advanced Aesthetics: The Preeminent School for Training in Oncology Esthetics in the Pacific Northwest

Ready to expand on your knowledge of esthetics with specialized oncology training? 

Spectrum Advanced Aesthetics offers state-of-the-art equipment and highly qualified staff that will help you make a meaningful difference in the lives of clients battling cancer. 

If you're in the greater Portland area and looking for the perfect oncology esthetics training program, connect with an admissions advocate today to get started.

The content in this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.