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Posted: November 26, 2008, from the December 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

An G. Hinds, Catherine Hinds Institute of Esthetics, Woburn, Massachusetts

A mandatory tool for all estheticians would be a loop, a 5x magnification. We spend a lot of time in the early parts of the training on this. You have to have a good eye and any tool you use is only as good as the operator. A loop five diopter is mandatory. You’re not an esthetician unless you have that in your toolbox. The reason why that loop is so important is that you get a clear picture of skin type, dry or oily, you get a host of conditions you see using your senses, looking at it, touching it, smell—a smoker, ill—and listening to the client, looking through the loop. When you magnify it, you have a clear picture of the secretions, thickness, epidermis, dehydration, dead cells. The loop is still the best tool for the esthetician for diagnosis.

The Wood’s lamp as a handheld device and you can use it as a dermal scan. Again, it is only as good as the person interpreting what they are seeing. The tools help explain to the client what the treatment plan is going to be and what the conditions are that need to be addressed. You have a way to look at it so the customer can see how much dehydration, pigmentation they have. It strengthens your hand to recommend a treatment plan for the individual.

There are handheld devices that judge hydration, that look at veins, that look right at a mole or a bit of pigment or a ruby point that are great tools. They are only small areas and are for really close magnification.

In the future, will have better and better magnifiers to look at the skin and be able to project onto a monitor to show how the skin is aging, and if you are looking at acne, how infected is that pustule.