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A Prescription for Success

By: Pat Lam
Posted: June 11, 2008, from the November 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

page 4 of 6

Blood pressure. There are several contraindications related to high and low blood pressure in skin and body treatments. Do not allow the client’s head to become lower than the rest of their body when lying down. Encourage them to sit up a few minutes longer to recover from a reclined position. Heat treatments, such as hot steam, paraffin wax, whirlpool, sauna and underwater massage, may be contraindicated, as well.

Allergies. If the client has allergies, the skin often appears congested and irritated due to a low immune system. Constant sneezing leads to telangiectasia—particularly around the nose and cheeks—and the client probably will be on a medication that includes antihistamines, which will affect the skin’s natural pH level. With the increased level of allergens in the environment and cosmetics, it is important for skin care professionals to learn as much as possible about the active ingredients used in cosmetics and how they may affect the skin.

Lifestyle behaviors. Smoking and alcohol consumption contribute a great deal to the skin’s condition. Aside from having deep wrinkles around the mouth, a smoker’s skin appears dull and devitalized with a gray tinge due to impaired oxygen intake in the upper layers. Excessive alcohol ingestion can result in blotchy skin with telangiectasia. It may feel warm or even hot to the touch.

Exercise. If the client engages in outdoor winter sports, such as skiing or skating, recommend heavier protective creams to guard against extreme weather. During exercise that results in heavy perspiration, instruct them to wash the toxins from their skin and body immediately after a workout. Strenuous exercise and swimming should be avoided for 24 hours after chemical peels or microdermabrasion.

Sunbathing. Freckles, sunspots and a leathery texture all indicate that the client enjoys sun exposure. Although it is commonly known to avoid direct rays in order to prevent skin cancer, skin care professionals have to remind clients regularly. Reiterate that sunscreen should be reapplied constantly—not only once—before going into the sun. Emphasize the ramifications of overexposure, and inform them that it is important to forgo direct sun exposure between 11 am–4 pm. Furthermore, prompt the client to avoid the sun for 24 hours after any treatment, such as waxing, electrolysis, chemical peels or microdermabrasion.