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Medical Spa Point of View: Educating Clients on Proper Skin Care

By Steven H. Dayan, MD, FACS, Tracy L. Drumm and Terri A. Wojak
Posted: March 28, 2011, from the April 2011 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
By providing carefully worded brochures to all clients and retail consumers who come through your doors, you can continue the relationship after they leave your facility.

By providing carefully worded brochures to all clients and retail consumers who come through your doors, you can continue the relationship after they leave your facility.

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When patients are seeing an esthetician in a medical practice or medical spa, the physician feels more comfortable providing them with more invasive treatments. If it is unknown what is being used on patients’ skin when they leave—especially with treatments such as fractionated CO2 laser or surgery—there could be adverse effects. There are products that have too many chemicals in them that can irritate sensitive, healing skin or even hinder the results. If patients who are undergoing surgery are not using a good home care regimen, they may not heal quickly. Immediately following surgery, the skin is in a vulnerable state. Incision areas may become scarred if not properly protected from sun exposure. Again, topical antioxidants and sunscreens are the first choice of recommendation, along with gentle cleansers for these treatments.

Esthetician’s point of view: Terri A. Wojak

As skin care specialists, there is only so much you can do to the skin if clients are not doing their part at home. If you think about it, clients treat—or should treat—their skin 59 times to your one service if they come in once a month. When addressing skin conditions, only a percentage of results are experienced in the treatment room; the rest consists of what clients are doing at home. Improper product use can affect, cause or exacerbate many skin conditions. The two most common conditions that clients look to treat are acne and hyperpigmentation and, with both of these conditions, using the right products is essential to obtain results.

In all cases of acneic skin, product use is of the utmost importance. No matter how often clients come to see you, if they are not compliant with product use at home, it will be a vicious cycle for both provider and client because the skin may not be in a healthy state. There are many products on the market that claim to be good for acneic skin, but are often too drying or even irritating to the skin, causing more comedones and increased inflammation. One of the main causes of grades I and II acne, which are the milder forms of acne consisting of open and closed comedones, is simply from using the wrong products. In the instance of inflamed forms of acne, it is important that clients keep their skin hydrated at home and use products that reduce inflammation, as well as kill bacteria.

When pigmentation is a concern, skin-lighteners and sunscreens are essential. A good broad-spectrum sunscreen is the most important product clients should use at home when treating pigment concerns. If sunscreens are not used on a regular basis, then performing treatments in-office is pointless. It is hard enough to get pigment concerns under control, and it can become much worse with sun exposure. Chemical peels and laser treatments are most often used in-office to lighten the skin, but the use of skin-lightening products containing tyrosinase inhibitors, such as hydroquinone, kojic acid, bearberry and licorice root, can make a world of difference. With the combination of in-office treatments and client dedication to using the right products, results can be extraordinary.

If clients are not willing to use products at home that are beneficial to their skin, you must explain to them that there is nothing that can be done in-office to treat to the fullest potential. There are even times when you may have to turn clients away because there are treatments that can cause the skin to become worse if they are not going to follow up with the proper skin care regimen. If money is an issue, offer to skip an in-office treatment so they can afford the retail products and get better results in the long run. If clients are still skeptical about purchasing products, provide them with samples, although samples usually don’t contain enough product to show the difference that can be made in the skin’s condition. Educate your clients in every way you can to encourage them to see the benefits of a good home care regimen.

Marketing point of view: Tracy L. Drumm