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It’s always easy to talk to clients about the extrinsic, premature signs of aging that appear due to sun exposure or poor diet because they continually hear the facts and statistics about UV rays and skin damage, as well as the connection between a healthy diet and healthy skin.
Messages such as these have been a part of the mainstream media— in consumer women’s magazines and on television—for decades, and for good reason. But the topic of smoking and the skin has never been as widely discussed. Of course, it is commonly known that smoking is bad for your health, but its specific effects on the skin are rarely discussed in detail.
In research released by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services in 2010, 21% of adults 18 and older smoke cigarettes. As skin care professionals, it’s your responsibility to change the way you talk about smoking and the skin. It may be easy to say “Don’t smoke because it’s bad for your skin,” but clients already know that basic truth. It’s time to start a real dialogue about just how damaging smoking is to the skin, and how significant and premature the effects can be.
Your client may be a 20-something social smoker who has only a few cigarettes on the weekends when she’s out with friends and doesn’t feel the need to quit because she sees no signs of aging. Or, she may be a pack-a-day smoker who’s coming to you because she sees the deep lines, rough texture and skin discoloration. Either way, it’s time to start talking with these clients in the treatment room, and educating them in a way that is not lecturing, but is enlightening. Then, you can begin to treat smoker’s skin with ingredients and treatments that will improve skin function and appearance.
How do you begin to talk to clients about their smoking habits? It starts with the facts. During your initial skin assessment, as you discuss your client’s history, concerns and goals, take the opportunity to talk about smoking’s long-term effects. Here, broken out into talking points you can easily use, is what inhaling the 4,000 chemicals in a cigarette does to skin.