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Today's Esthetic Toolbox

By: Cathy Christensen
Posted: November 25, 2008, from the December 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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Wood’s lamp. This test is performed in a dark room and involves shining ultraviolet light on the area of interest.1 Different skin conditions show up as different colors: blue is normal and healthy; white spots indicate dead skin cells; light purple shows dehydration; dark purple indicates sensitive, thin and dehydrated areas; brown spots show pigmentation and sun damage; orange indicates oily skin; and light yellow is acne and comedones.2

According to Hinds, “The tool helps explain to the client what the treatment plan is going to be and what conditions need to be addressed.” In today’s spas, the Wood’s lamp has taken on a different use—most likely due to the inquisitiveness of the natural esthetician—to assist with the application of peels. “It is very important when I’m teaching chemical peel treatments to use the Wood’s lamp to see how evenly the acid has been applied,” explains Terri Wojak, esthetics director and educator at True Skin Care Center in Chicago.

Skin scope. Very similar to a Wood’s lamp, the skin scope uses ultraviolet light in the same way to identify the condition of the skin. The big difference is that the skin scope features a mirror that allows clients to actually see what the esthetician sees. “It will freak anyone out,” exclaims Crossett. “It highlights any area of concern. It’s really easy to say ‘hyperpigmentation’ when the client is laying down getting a facial, but I don’t think they really internalize it unless they see it.”

Mag lamp. A magnifying lamp is used to analyze and zoom in on the skin to enhance the view for more detailed work. This is one of the most crucial pieces of equipment for an esthetician, says Hinds. “A mag lamp with a 5-diopter lens is mandatory,” she says. “You’re not an esthetician unless you have that in your toolbox.”

The mag lamp allows the esthetician to easily identify a client’s skin type and its conditions. “When you magnify it, you have a clear picture of secretions, thickness, dehydration and dead cells. It is still the best tool for diagnosis,” Hinds explains.

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