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

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UV Cameras are good for before and afters. In peels, we use the Wood’s lamp to show where there is a lot of stratum corneum and they are more a benefit to the consumer to show that you have done what you’ve said you are going to do. For the esthetician, it is good to see where to exfoliate. We use the Wood’s lamp for chemical peel application, but not for analysis.

Deedee Crossett, president, San Francisco Institute of Esthetics and Cosmetology, San Francisco

Some of the classic tools would be high frequency, steamer, galvanic, Wood’s lamp, brush system, a vacuum or suction. What I find interesting is that those are good, useful tools that work really well. There are all different versions of them … lots of different ways to do the same technology. Lots of estheticians don’t use high frequency and galvanic. Underutilized.

More and more get out of school and don’t know how to use them, after extractions to defuse redness, I have no idea why it’s not a staple item in everybody’s kit. They are going to have better product penetration with galvanic. Contraindications are minimal … although they are really classic machines. They are classic for a reason. Estheticians are getting smarter and more inquisitive and their understanding of the skin is evolving, when they are already using a machine like that, the natural esthetician will pull it out and say “I wonder what it’s doing.” With the skin scope, it is a huge Wood’s lamp and excellent way to show hyperpigmentation, roughness, dryness. There’s a mirror in there for the client and it will freak anyone out. It highlights any areas of concern, it is very easy. The word hyperpigmentation, when we use words like that and the client is laying upside down, I don’t know if they really internalize that means that you have an overabundance of freckles or pregnancy mask.

We learn faster when we hear and see. It adds professionalism for the esthetician, what we’re looking at and diagnosing is really. We’re not there to push product, it’s not a snake oil situation. I see that I have dehydration here and my pores are congested. It’s a really good tool to make sure the esthetician and the client are on the same page. Sometimes what we see is not a concern to the client, we start talking about lightening the skin, we may lose the client because she likes her freckles. It makes it easy for the guest and the skin specialist to be on the same page. The same goes for the digital cameras. They are getting more sophisticated and easier to use for the esthetician to automatically put up a picture, that is really powerful. At the end of the series, they forget what it looked like the first time because they are seeing it gradually and looking at it every day. If I was going to look at trends, there seems to be a trend having more than one service at a time … Lydia Sarfati came out with that 3-1 where you can get everything done at once, moving toward equipment that is multifunctional and if it’s handheld, that is where people are bringing people out from the back room that would encourage them to do a more traditional treatment. Any equipment that can be brought out that is more user-friendly is going to attract more attention. One thing that I was going to mention, for a new esthetician starting out, if they’re going to be doing multiple body treatments, facials, waxing, they need to invest in a bed and esthetics chair that moves up and down, you’re not going to do it; at some point you are going to be ergonomically out of whack. Invest in the bed for the comfort of your guest, but for you … you’re behind that bed 6-10 hours a day.