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Good Hands: Back to the Beginning

By: Annet King
Posted: June 4, 2008, from the February 2007 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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Please.

Generally, such treatments are harmless, except that they tend to waste your clients’ money and undermine the credibility of the individual skin care professional, the facility at which the therapist is employed and the skin care profession at large. Once the menu becomes cluttered with wacky, whimsical specialties instead of the rock-solid foundation of skin examination and treatment, your days as a skin care therapist are numbered. You’ve effectively sabotaged your own success.

Let’s go back to the beginning. There are no shortcuts, but there is a smarter way to begin.

  • Have a basic understanding of the skin’s structure and function. Your undergraduate training touched on this, but you certainly can’t know it all simply because you’ve successfully passed your state board exam.
  • Comprehend the origins of common skin conditions and how to treat them. Become truly familiar with identifying and discussing every skin disorder and anomaly, which requires fluency in anatomy, physiology, biology and ingredient chemistry.
  • Master the nuances of electrical modalities for the face. From here, you may be drawn into working with the undeniably lucrative services that comprise the medical spa industry, which primarily focuses on resurfacing procedures and injectables. Never offer a client a service that you cannot fully explain, especially when that service involves hard, cold steel and electricity.
  • Explore the role of nutrition and other elements from the realm of wellness. This may lead to the more specific study of holistic therapies, such as ayurveda, Thai yoga therapy, acupressure, reflexology, aromatherapy and manual lymphatic drainage.
  • Understand how the day-to-day operation of a skin care business works, beginning with the fundamentals of client service, retailing, ordering and inventory. This is true whether you plan to work for someone else or aspire to be on your own.
  • Learn how to market yourself as a “product” or a “brand.” Step outside of the skin care context and look at yourself objectively: What do you offer that’s uniquely desirable in your profession? It may take a while for you to clearly identify this Unique Selling Proposition, or USP. The best way to start is to observe someone who’s already doing it.

Find a mentor

A golden rule of professional success: Find a mentor. More golden rules will be revealed in future installments of this column.

A mentor is a seasoned, wise professional who shares your passion for the science, the craft and the art of professional skin care. You may even find this mentor in your advanced classes.