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3 Tips for Treating Clients With Rosacea

Contact Author Scott McDougall, The Independent Pharmacy
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Thank you for your inquiry. Please note that the author cannot provide individual medical advice. Also, if you have a customer service question, email customer service at customerservice@skininc.com

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Working in a spa is tricky for various reasons, with one of the biggest being that skin is highly variable. Every client has a different complexion with distinct needs and a set of unique vulnerabilities to some of the countless skin conditions that frustrate people. As spa professionals, you know all too well that a treatment that works wonderfully for one person might cause great discomfort for another.

It’s particularly tough to know what to do when you’re dealing with a client who suffers from a major skin condition because you need to be extremely careful. One such condition is rosacea: mainly affecting the face, it causes patches of sore, red skin, and it’s recurring to top it off. So, the question remains, how can you cater to that? Let’s answer that question. Here’s what you need to think about when you’re trying to help a client suffering from rosacea.

Skin Sensitivity

Even if you’re not intending to apply any kind of lotion to the client’s face, or provide a massage around that area, the sensitivity of the skin could be a problem. For instance, consider the common setup of the massage table with the face cutout. Simply trying to get the client's face into it could result in discomfort for them,  which would then affect the overall treatment experience.

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The best thing to do here is ask your client about what they’re comfortable doing, then making an effort to make any requested concessions. Find out how sensitive their face is on that day. When did they last have an episode? Are they relaxed? It might well be better to skip some parts of the spa experience entirely if it would be too risky to try them. Facials, for instance, could be a treatment to skip over for reasons we’ll cover in more detail shortly.

Going to a spa is supposed to be a relaxing experience. Since your client has been open enough to let you know about their condition, you don't want to betray that trust by taking it too lightly.

Triggering Symptoms

Even after all the research that has been done into skin conditions, we’re still unsure about the exact causes of many of them, and rosacea is no exception. Across sufferers, many different things have been seen to trigger episodes, and some of these triggers are risked in spa environments:

  • Extreme temperatures: Keep the temperature down in the treatment area, and don’t give your client any hot drinks or perform any hot treatments.
  • Dairy products: Creams or lotions containing milk or other dairy derivatives should be avoided. Try to stick to basic moisturizers instead.
  • Exposure to UV light: Sunlight can exacerbate rosacea, but artificial UV light can also be dangerous, so keep the lights down if possible.
  • Humidity: there tends to be a lot of water in the air in a spa, so think about finding a drier area in which your client will be more comfortable.
  • Stress: While it shouldn’t be an issue in a spa, consider that it can be embarrassing to suffer with a skin condition. Check throughout the treatment that your client is feeling relaxed and comfortable and not worrying about how they look.

Avoid Medical Treatment Mixtures

Rosacea sufferers looking for relief will sometimes turn to pharmacy treatments for assistance, and there are various potent options on the market for alleviating symptoms and thinning the excess skin that can sometimes appear. Consequently, even if you’re only planning to use applications that should be safe, be mindful of what treatments your client may be using.

Ask them if they use any rosacea prescriptions, and how recently they’ve applied them if they do. If they haven’t applied anything in days, you’re probably fine to proceed. If they’ve recently applied a treatment, though, try to avoid the area altogether unless you have compelling evidence that your spa treatments won’t have any negative effects.

Rosacea is a distinctly-unpleasant skin condition that can appear in an episode at an extremely inconvenient time. If your client has been looking forward to their spa trip for a long time, only to see their rosacea flare up all of a sudden, they might be feeling quite disheartened when they get to you. Your job is to do your best to be accommodating and brighten their day. Get it right, and you’ll win a client for life.

Scott McDougall is the Co-Founder and Registered Manager of The Independent Pharmacy. He studied Pharmacy at the University of Strathclyde before going on to work at Alliance Boots and Lloydspharmacy. 

Note: treatments that a licensed esthetician may perform in a medical spa space vary by state. Please consult with your state board before adopting or performing any unfamiliar treatment.