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Active Ingredients in Action

By: Terri A. Wojak
Posted: August 29, 2012, from the September 2012 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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Inform clients about the importance of using products that are of a higher standard than those available at local drug stores. Not to imply that there are not any good products over-the-counter; however, professional skin care products often carry more weight. They typically have produced in-office studies, before-and-after pictures and some even offer U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved clinical trials. Professional product lines commonly use higher percentages of active ingredients to create a desired reaction. Be aware of the type of ingredients used, as well. For example, there are many forms of vitamin C, but they may differ in various ways. Think of it as getting a cheeseburger from a fast-food restaurant compared to a high-end steak house.

Skin care professionals should have vast knowledge on a variety of active ingredients and their functions. Education is crucial when choosing and recommending the right products for each client. Industry professionals commonly believe that the majority of clients’ results come from their home-care regimen. When recommending a regimen for a client, know exactly how and why each product works. If a company does not promote proper education when it comes to using its product, question its effectiveness. Education shouldn’t stop with the skin care professional; brochures or materials should be available that thoroughly explain how the product should be used and its mechanism of action. A comprehensive product line may cover the majority of your client’s concerns, but you may choose to add items from other lines to fill in any gaps.

To run a successful business, you must be able to meet the client’s needs and, to meet the client’s needs, you must be well-informed about products that are available to the consumer.

Terri A. Wojak is a licensed esthetician with more than 14 years of experience. She has knowledge in all aspects of the skin care industry, including education, sales, medical esthetics, management and ownership, and she is the director, as well as an educator, at True University in Chicago. She can be contacted at 312-335-2070 or via e-mail at