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The Synergy of Technology and Experience

David Suzuki July 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine
silhouette in yoga pose

Regardless of what ailments or obstacles society faces, it is quick to look for new, sophisticated, exciting and what may appear to be faster, easier solutions to challenges, often before fully exploring the possibilities that may seem obvious.

The upside is that this seemingly human instinct keeps the search alive for greener grass, and has led to some of the greatest discoveries in history, including many diagnostic technologies that are being used today to better understand the very fundamentals of the human body, as well as the environment. As a result, the human race is entering a very exciting time in history where innovative diagnostics, logic, and new respect for the disciplines of the body and environment have begun to reveal the answers.


In the early 1790s, an Italian anatomy professor at the University of Bologna named Luigi Galvani realized that detached frog legs could be activated with stimulation provided by low levels of externally applied energy. After many experiments, he became convinced that the frog legs themselves also contained their own source of hidden energy in the nerves and around the wound area. Galvani referred to this as “animal electricity.”

Excited with his new discoveries, he quickly declared his findings to his university peers, only to be ridiculed by some for what was considered to be an absurd claim. It was only after his death that Galvani was later credited for discovering bimetallic direct current (DC), which he used specifically to carry out his experiments. He also utilized silver in his experiments to conduct energy, and, without knowing it, discovered what is now known as the current of injury.

The current of injury

By the early 1970s, Robert O. Becker, MD, an orthopedic surgeon, was running full tilt with experiments primarily focused on regeneration and the electrical system of the body. Although there were many great scientists and physicians who had actively built upon Galvani’s theories, it was Becker—assisted by modern science—who was able to finally capture the mystery of the body electric, paying tribute to Galvani and all those who had participated along the way.

Becker’s work resulted in scientific recognition that the body is in fact governed by an electrical system, contains its own form of electrical current and, when injured, puts forth an electrical current that initiates and expedites the healing and regeneration process, known as the current of injury. He also established that all body functions, including thoughts, pain, muscle contractions, cellular activity, healing, regeneration, longevity—life itself—are made possible because of body electricity. This inspired the title of his book, The Body Electric: Electromagnetism and the Foundation of Life (Harper Paperbacks, 1998), which he cowrote with Gary Selden. Although it took nearly 200 years, Galvani’s genius was finally vindicated.

The power of silver

During Becker’s series of experiments regarding the body’s electrical system and regeneration, he found himself in need of a conductive medium that would allow his microcurrent to be spread evenly throughout large areas. A friend of his from NASA supplied him with a conductive mesh-like material that was being used for one of their new projects. The results of using this material with electrical current were so fascinating that they sparked an entirely new subsection of experiments to specifically define the properties and mechanisms of this material—silver.

History suggests that as early as the Trojan War, medicine workers utilized silver to dress wounds, eradicate infection and greatly speed the healing of significant injuries and bone fractures suffered on the battlefield. It was believed that silver had special powers—specifically, a type of healing energy that worked with human energy. Because technology did not exist to substantiate the properties and benefits of silver or human energy, science denounced its efficacy. Silver was eventually replaced with an evolution of exciting new ointments, medicines and devices, each promising various remedies and cures.

As it turns out, silver—independent of any other catalyst—emits a small charge of electrical current, which, in turn, stimulates healing and keeps wound sites sterile. Additionally, more frequency can be added to the site at any time by clipping an external microcurrent device to the highly conductive material. As a result of Becker’s findings and confirmation of historical knowledge, silver bandages and silver-infused ointments are among the most successful remedies for modern wound-healing, especially for burn victims and severe injuries.


As science has become more sophisticated, a seemingly endless supply of new possibilities have been uncovered that involve enhancing the health and wellness of the human body, including skin and its visual appearance. Although there are always new technologies in development, some of the most interesting recent age-defying results have been derived from slight alterations and modifications to existing technology and associated protocols. And some of this progress is representative of good old-fashioned trial and error, but the strongest results are coming from new finite information and efficacy that have been identified by more sophisticated diagnostic devices that allow precision and accuracy, resulting in a new breed of technology and products. The best part is that now is a time in history where this technology can be used while people work, observing and improving recommendations, services and techniques nearly in real-time.

Dialing in on skin

Becoming factual, supplying efficacy and defining what works clinically is not the exclusive right of laboratories, universities or the medical profession. Although a well-educated and experienced skin therapist will always remain the single most powerful epicenter of great-looking skin, this knowledge and experience needs to be combined with science in order to realize the benefits that the synergy can provide.

Vision and view. Although nothing will ever be able to replace the power of touch and how this interaction instinctually guides a skin care professional’s work, the accuracy of your professional results and at-home recommendations can be enhanced with better, more precise vision. The self-illuminated vision visors available are typically about the weight of a sun visor, and usually come complete with different magnification lenses to accommodate an array of analyses. Because they come with a built-in LED light, the system is like having a mag lamp with you at all times, allowing for a thorough consultation, and an ongoing visual assessment of the skin. If you wear glasses, think back to the amazing first week when you began to use them. Vision visors are the spectacles of the skin therapist, and allow the finite details that otherwise might go unnoticed to be viewed.

Another tool, viewing scopes, or magnified imaging, are nothing short of an eye-opener for the skin therapist, as well as the client, and they really serve as virtual mirrors because they can educate clients about skin function, home care and professional services. These tools allow skin care professionals to clearly dial in on the skin and bring a new meaning to the basic fundamental regimens of skin care, which can result in a significant improvement.

Viewing scopes have made great progress during the last decade with the availability of small, ergonomic designs that can be used quickly and effectively, providing as much as 200x magnification. Best of all, many come with self-illuminated lighting systems and quick-focus thumb wheels that allow the skin care professional to quickly and effectively define concerns.

Moisture analysis. Many simple, yet effective skin diagnostic tools are becoming readily available to the skin therapist, allowing for both significant and finite adjustments to service protocols, professional protocols and home care recommendations, increasing results, client satisfaction and the spa’s bottom line.

Newly engineered moisture content measurement devices that utilize an ultra-sensitive skin membrane sensor with bio-impedance direct current technology are quickly becoming the thermometer of the skin care professional. These are usually accurate, easy to use and very effective. Measurements commonly can be taken in various areas on the face to gain a comprehensive insight on the needs of each client. Each time that the client returns, measurements are taken again. The entire measurement process can be as quick as 2–3 minutes.

The findings of moisture analysis tell the story of the skin. Excessively dry on one side of the face may indicate occupational exposure to weather on one side, which can occur on clients who spend a lot of their time driving. It could also be representative of severely uneven product application, which can happen with clients who apply product to the fingertips, then to the face, beginning in one central location and working outward. Both situations can be easily remedied by providing specific application instructions, encouragement to use products consistently, and products that allow for additional protection and hydration where needed. Diet, internal hydration and other habitual daily occurrences are also significant factors in the moisture content of the skin, all of which can be brought to the client’s attention.

A moisture analysis is vital to gauge the progress and effectiveness of in-spa services and home care products, and allows for modifications to be implemented as needed. Because most progressive analysis tools measure in exact number moisture levels, they allow for tangible measurement terms to be communicated to the client for discussion.


At 211°F, water is hot.

At 212°F, it boils.

And with boiling water comes steam.

And steam can power a locomotive.

—Sam Parker

This philosophy reaffirms the idea that the real results are in the details. Anyone can practice skin care; however, not all can obtain great results. Dialing in efficacy is more than a trend; it is a pathway to the future of your evolution as a skin care professional, and a pathway to the great-looking skin that each and every one of your clients desire and expect. Use your instincts, use your experience, and use the great new tools and technologies that are attainable and available.

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