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Selling the Traveler's Treatment

By: Christine Spehar
Posted: June 17, 2008, from the July 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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The wind, sun and dry air found at high altitudes are skin’s most feared enemies. Unfortunately, they are unavoidable components of almost any adventurous outdoor vacation. The key to combating dehydrated skin is moisture—inside and out. In addition to advising your client to drink plenty of water before, during and after a trip, suggest a heavier moisturizer. Lisa Sloat, the owner of Louisville, Colorado-based Face-to-Face Skin Care, recommends a “hydrating mask during the trip, if it’s possible.” Upon return, a “moisturizing facial, followed by a series of chemical peels several weeks later, will renew the skin’s appearance,” she adds.

Marcotte also advocates focusing on moisturizing treatments. “Before or after a trip to a dry climate, add a hydrating mask with paraffin on top for deep penetration at the end of the facial,” she says. This will help prepare the client’s skin for a harsh environment and make it less vulnerable to damage, in addition to repairing the harm that already was done.

Sun exposure

Although there’s nothing like relaxing in the sun to ease stress, the damaging solar effects cause wrinkles, sunspots and even melanoma. Remind clients that 80% of all sun damage is inflicted by age 18, while brown pigmentation and wrinkles don’t appear until after age 30. Before a beach vacation, advise your clients to drink water, wear sun block and “resist the urge to pick at those large flakes of peeling skin on their shoulders and face if they do get burned,” says Sloat. This will damage the skin further by preventing it from healing completely.

Be aware that the sun’s strength can be magnified by the surroundings. “Elevation increases the intensity of the sun’s rays by 4–8%. Also, if you’re spending a significant amount of time on concrete or in water, the reflection off these surfaces will increase sun damage as well,” reminds Rayner. Be sure to carry a variety of sunscreens in your retail area, including a water-resistant product and a noncomedogenic option for sensitive skin.

Finally, save any abrasive exfoliation for the client’s return. “I would not advise any radical treatment, such as chemical peels or microdermabrasion, immediately before traveling to a sunny climate. It would be contraindicative because you don’t want to expose fresh, new skin to the sun,” says Marcotte. After returning from the beach, Sloat recommends a “chemical peel for any signs of sun damage weeks later.”

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