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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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Pore size is a common concern for clients and, although there are products and treatments that can improve the appearance of large pores, they do not simply open and close. Pores are necessary to protect the skin by secreting sebum to moisturize, and excreting waste through sudoriferous glands. If pores were closed, the skin would not have the ability to function normally. Clients also say they use steam or hot towels as methods to open pores, and cold water or ice to close them; this is especially common for those that try to perform extractions on themselves.

Client education. Show a diagram of the skin that demonstrates the function of pores; this will prove that it is not possible to open and close them. Explain that although some professionals say steam is used in a facial to open pores, it is actually used to soften hardened sebum and surrounding skin, making extractions easier to perform. It is also important that the client is aware that only licensed skin care professionals should perform extractions to avoid potential complications, including infection, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) and even scarring. Estheticians are educated on how to perform extractions safely to reduce these risks. Although pores cannot be opened and closed, removing comedones, exfoliating treatments and skin-tightening procedures can all reduce the appearance of large pores.

Wording is everything

It can be frustrating when clients are adamant about details they have heard in the past, but it is the job of skin care professionals to educate them about what is true. Education is key—make the client feel comfortable and provide specific details. Skin care is easily misunderstood, so wording is everything. Estheticians are allowed to cosmetically enhance the skin, yet some unknowingly claim inaccessible goals with medical benefits. It is not just cosmetic providers; product companies often claim miracle results through false advertisements and commission-sought representatives. To be respected as a skin care professional, care must be taken when describing expectations. If the proper message is not delivered, it can result in unsatisfied clients and will eventually hurt your career. On the other hand, an educated, honest esthetician will always persevere.

Terri A. WojakTerri A. Wojak is a licensed esthetician with more than 16 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 U Esthetics in Chicago.