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Acne Through the Ages

By Steven H. Dayan, MD, FACS; Tracy L. Drumm; and Terri A. Wojak
Posted: April 27, 2012, from the May 2012 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
teen professional skin care client with acne

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The skin care professional’s first job, in this case, is to educate clients about how to care for their skin. Keep it as simple as possible: A typical regimen would be the use of a cleanser with a mild salicylic acid, a benzoyl peroxide spot treatment and a hydrating sunscreen. To increase results, teens can also benefit from cleansing facials with the addition of mild chemical peeling agents, including salicylic or alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs). Depending on the response to these treatments and the severity of the acne, the physician may choose to perform medical treatments as well.

Young adult acne. Many of these clients are seeking immediate treatment for a breakout because they have a job interview, an important business function or a big event on the horizon. Women at this age, in particular, often experience breakouts just before or during their menstrual cycle. For this reason, clients often schedule a cleansing facial or chemical exfoliation treatment on a monthly basis about a week before their cycle occurs to help prevent breakouts. If the acne is severe, it can be caused by more serious hormonal conditions and, therefore, should be treated by a physician. As for product recommendations, cleansers with AHAs, antioxidants, moisturizers and sunscreens are a must.

Mature acne. Although most mature skin tends to be dry, it can still break out for several of the aforementioned reasons. As cellular turnover tends to decrease, many skin conditions can occur, including acne breakouts. Most often, the best option for these clients is to introduce vitamin A products, or retinols; although, they must agree to wear sunscreen on a regular basis. Chemical peels, including modified Jessner’s peels and trichloroacetic acid (TCA) peels, are great choices for these clients. Not only will these treatments increase the cellular turnover, they will also be effective for many other conditions, including fine lines, wrinkles and hyperpigmentation.

When treating any age group with acne, it is important to do a thorough consultation. Find out what products clients are using, what they have used in the past, what worked and what didn’t. When treating those with acne, no matter what approach you are taking, it is important to make sure they are on a regular skin care program designed to meet their specific needs. Acne treatment should be a collaborative effort between the physician, the esthetician and the client.

Marketing point of view: Tracy L. Drumm

The best way to avoid a blemish on the books for your skin care facility is to create a plan to effectively engage each group within your target market. Begin by determining who you want to reach, and then tailor your message to meet the clients’ needs. Start each promotion by asking what the “what’s in it for me”(WIFM) is for potential clients. What will they gain from your treatments or products? Include the answer to this question in promotional materials for each segment of your target market.