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Saving Client's Skin--And Your Own

By: Jane Wurwand
Posted: September 25, 2009, from the October 2009 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

Lately, many people and businesses are having to shed their skins, meaning nearly everyone is experiencing the need to let go of old attitudes in order to thrive. This is especially true in economic terms.

Many of you have devoted your entire careers to professional skin care, and your years in this profession have likely taught you that all things move in cycles. Given that, is it likely posh times will return for the skin care industry? Hopefully not—at least not in the old sense of pampering and indulgence. But times of prosperity will return, yes, and the best way to prepare for the new prosperity is to open yourself to the present moment rather than clinging to the past.

Step one is to release your outmoded notions of luxury. Step two is to redefine your clients as consumers, meaning you need to see them as shoppers in search of retail products that keep skin performing at optimum levels between professional treatments.

Let clients off the hook

Clients bond to spa professionals as therapists in a truly intimate way during the experience of professional skin care. In fact, neurological science has revealed that a giving, caring touch between human beings releases a substance called oxytocin into the brain. This chemical is assessed to be even more powerful than sexual hormones, because oxytocin is what allows female animals to recognize their young and fosters in them the urge to mother.

Given this bond of loyalty, it stands to reason your clients don’t want to let you down. But the harsh reality today is that fewer and fewer Americans are in the position to comfortably commit $90–100 every six weeks for regular skin care treatments, and this is reflected in a drastic drop in services being performed. In the past year or so, there has been a decline of an average of 28% in treatment revenue, and it’s even more severe among skin care therapists who aren’t paying attention to the shock waves rippling through the spa industry—and the world.