Along with aging and acne concerns, uneven pigmentation is one of the most common complaints skin care professionals hear in the treatment room. Changes in skin pigmentation can occur due to many different factors and can be the most difficult issue to tackle in the treatment room. Perhaps one of the most challenging pigmentary conditions to treat is melasma, a common disorder of hyperpigmentation that affects more than five million Americans.1 Melasma predominantly affects women with Fitzpatrick phototypes III through VI, or those with ancestry stemming from equatorial regions where ultraviolet radiation (UVR) is highest. Although sun exposure and hormones are closely associated with triggering, much remains to be understood about the origin and development of the disorder.
While hyperpigmentation products and devices are frequently written about and analyzed, hypopigmentation receives far less discussion. The technical definition of hypopigmentation is abnormally diminished pigmentation resulting from decreased melanin production. The collective term for loss of pigment is Leukoderma. This is a complex and varied skin disorder, characterized by a lack of skin color. The causes can be due to genetics, chemicals, hormones, injury or the autoimmune disorder, vitiligo. Aside from vitiligo, there are numerous factors that can result in varying degrees of pigment loss as well.
Clients present high stress regarding the possible signs of fungus growth on their bodies, which can be unsightly and embarrassing. The most common fungus presented is athlete’s foot, also referred as tinea pedis. It presents itself as redness, peeling, itching and burning. This fungus grows in warm, moist environments and is common in the summer. Athlete’s foot is mostly experienced by men and women wearing tight shoes, allowing their feet to become sweaty. The best treatment is antifungal cream, open toe shoes and keeping the toes dry.
My career in specialized skin care transcends over 25 years of functioning behind the chair recognizing skin diseases and performing professional clinical skin care treatments. During this time, I have seen some of the most challenging facial conditions which would cause a majority of aestheticians to either panic or refuse. Embracing the difficulty of severe skin problems is what I love, therefore, I have built my career on this. I encourage aestheticians to expand their learning curve to recognize the most common skin diseases to provide a clinical remedy appropriate to the client's condition and your skill.
Skin conditions can be distressing at a visible level, however they are often triggered by responses occurring inside the body. Skin, being the largest organ of the body, can represent what is taking place from internal stress, to hormonal fluctuations, to an unhealthy lifestyle. The most common skin conditions seen by aestheticians are acne, rosacea and hyperpigmentation. Although there are actions we can take to assist clients in reducing the appearance of these unappealing conditions, treatments are not always skin deep.
Diabetes is a lifelong (chronic) disease that results in high levels of sugar in the blood. Diabetes or "diabetes mellitus" refers to a group of diseases that affect how the body uses blood glucose, commonly called blood sugar. Glucose is the main source of energy for the cells that make up muscles and tissues, including brain cells, and is therefore vital to health. Insulin is the hormone that regulates glucose levels in the body, and inadequate amounts of insulin result in diabetes. Aestheticians should be alert to the special needs of diabetic clients. As diabetes affects all parts of the body including the skin and nails, aestheticians should be aware of what diabetes is and how to inform the client about possible complications and precautions of the desired procedure.
Dermatologists evaluate only about 40 percent of people suffering from a skin disease or condition. Because of this fact, aestheticians are often the first line of defense for skin care needs. Clients/patients usually do not realize that what is believed to be an irritation, sensitivity, or problem skin may be a treatable disease. Although unable to officially “diagnose” a skin disorder, the trained skin care professional or licensed aesthetician often has the opportunity to notice changes in a client’s skin, which should trigger a referral to an experienced physician, preferably a dermatologist, for further evaluation and diagnosis.