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Things Clients Say

By: Terri A. Wojak
Posted: December 4, 2013, from the December 2013 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
Unilateral Dermatoheliosis

A 69-year-old man, who reported driving a delivery truck for 28 years, with a 25-year history of gradual sun damage on the left side of his face. Photo courtesy of The New England Journal of Medicine (2012)

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Client education. Show your client a diagram on the pathogenesis of acne and point out how drying the skin can actually form comedones leading to acne. Explain the importance of adding moisture to provide a healthy environment for skin to function naturally. In healthy skin, oil is produced to protect the outer layers of skin throughout the day and is washed away at night. Before sending the client home with a moisturizer, let her know that it may feel oilier at first, but it is simply the addition of moisture. Start out simple: A hydrating serum with hyaluronic acid is a great introductory product. If clients are wary of buying a home-care item, provide a sample so they can feel the difference themselves.

“I don’t use sunscreen because I don’t lay out in the sun.”

Even with all of the knowledge available about the damaging effects of the sun, it is still unclear to many clients that sunscreen must be worn on a consistent basis. Sun damage is cumulative and can occur at any time, making the majority of damage appear from the least obvious ways. Simply commuting to and from work on a daily basis can cause a substantial amount of sun damage, regardless of the transportation method. Whether it is hot, cold, cloudy or rainy outside, the sun’s damaging rays are always present. If a person were exposed to sunlight without sunscreen for only four minutes a day for 10 years, the skin could be exposed to more than 243 hours of damaging UV rays with no protection. In addition, many clients still believe that glass blocks UV rays from reaching the skin. Although glass blocks UVB rays (burning rays), it does not block UVA rays (aging rays), which are even more damaging over time.

Client education. Show pictures of sun-damaged skin—there are several images commonly used in the industry. One picture is of a woman who sat in an office with a window on one side for a period of 15 years. This visual clearly shows the difference between the effects of intrinsic aging (from genetics and passage of time) and extrinsic aging (from environmental factors) that makes up about 85% of visible damage. Another common picture is of a truck driver who also has a clear distinction in the effects of sun exposure on the left side of his face that was frequently in the sun while driving. (See Unilateral Dermatoheliosis.) Explain to the client that, in order to see results, regardless of skin condition, sunscreen must be worn continuously. Protecting the skin from the sun will greatly reduce the risk of skin cancer, which affects 3.5 million Americans annually, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. An antioxidant and sunscreen should be applied every morning, regardless of the weather.

“I have sensitive skin, so I only use all-natural products.”

Many people claim that they have sensitive skin when in reality that may not be the case. There are several explanations for this misunderstanding. Clients may have had adverse reactions in the past with treatments or products that were not right for their skin. There are many products that claim to be gentle, especially those including all-natural ingredients. However, just because a product is natural does not mean it is good for you or that it will not cause sensitivities. In fact, most allergic reactions are caused by natural elements. Some examples include peanuts, seeds, coconut, mushrooms, flowers and citrus fruit.

Client education. Ask questions. Knowing clients’ home-care regimens, lifestyles and experience with past treatments can help you determine why they consider their skin to be sensitive. If you believe a client is sensitive due to her own actions, explain why in detail. For example, using harsh products with high pH levels can disrupt the acid mantle, leading to dryness and irritation. Changing a home-care regimen can dramatically reduce the side effects associated with sensitive skin. If the client is wary of trying something new, provide samples to show the difference a change in products can make. On the other hand, if the client is sensitive due to a skin condition, such as rosacea, eczema or psoriasis, discuss potential triggers and how to avoid them.

“I need to close my pores.”