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The meaning of the term "cosmetology" and the tasks and scope of competences of the cosmetologist according to students in cosmetology

Olga Debska, Radoslaw Spiewak

Recommended citation format: Debska O, Spiewak R: The meaning of the term "cosmetology" and the tasks and scope of competences of the cosmetologist according to students in cosmetology. Estetol Med Kosmetol 2013; 3 (1): online first.

Full text (PDF) | Polskie streszczenie


There is a lack of a comprehensive and unequivocal definition of cosmetology in the Polish-language scientific literature, thus one cannot be certain that all authors and readers understand this term in the same way. Aim: The aim of this study was to explore the understanding of the term "cosmetology" by master students in cosmetology, as well as of the scope of the cosmetologist's professional tasks and competences. Material and methods: In an anonymous survey, 60 master students in cosmetology at the Faculty of Pharmacy, Jagiellonian University in Krakow (Poland) were asked to write a definition of the term "cosmetology" as they perceive it, as well as to list professional tasks and competences, which cosmetologists in their opinion possess. Results: Definitions of "cosmetology" created by the respondents most frequently referred to skin care (81%), prevention of skin diseases (73%), and beautification (65%). Among professional tasks and competences ascribed to the cosmetologist, education of future cosmetologist (80%) and clients (78%) prevailed, followed by skin care treatments (63%). A fraction of the respondents expressed opinion that the competences of a cosmetologist include treatment of skin diseases (37%), as well as application of dermal fillers (10%) and botulinum toxin injections (7%). Conclusions: According to cosmetology students, the term "cosmetology" predominantly includes skin care, prevention of skin diseases and beautification. Regarding to the scope of professional tasks and competences of the cosmetologist, the majority of adepts in this profession name education and skin care treatments, while one in three indicates on the therapy skin diseases which may be perceived as usurpation of physician authority by cosmetologists. Creation of a coherent and widely accepted definition of cosmetology, as well as delineation of the cosmetologist's professional tasks and competences seems a crucial precondition for the development of this scientific discipline, as well as for settling possible disputes with representatives of other health professions about the boundaries of competences.

Keywords: cosmetology, definition, cosmetologist, professional competences

| Reprint (PDF) | Streszczenie | DOI: 10.14320/EMK.2013.003

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Open Access, online ISSN 2084-2007; print ISSN 2084-199X, DOI:
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Document created: 2 February 2013, last updated: 15 March 2014