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Monday, 04 June 2007 15:09

Preventative Acne Treatment

Written by Rena Levi Gibson

Perfection. It’s what we all strive for in life, our families, and business. But, beginning at a very young age, it’s the perfection of the reflection we see in the mirror that becomes a daily goal. From the moment we notice that first flaw, perhaps the small whitehead or the “it happened overnight” exacerbated and full-blown pimple, the first attacks on facial perfection can quickly escalate to a full-blown war.

It doesn’t have to be a pre-teen issue that becomes a teen life crisis, which seems to last forever. The properly trained aesthetician is an effective resource for educating clients about how to make healthy lifestyle choices that produce healthy, naturally glowing skin.
Blackheads, whiteheads, red bumps, and oily glands make their way to the skin’s surface, and with the proper care even at a very young age, they can be removed and disabled, halting the process. The scarring and angst that comes from an uneducated lack of prevention and poor skin care, as well as delaying early treatment, can create deeper emotional scars than those on the surface of any young boy or girl. Acne is a disorder caused by hormones; often it is hereditary, and one of the greatest triggers is stress. Skin care issues are “equal opportunity” stressors, as men and women of all races tend to suffer. Affecting a majority of the population at one time or another, acne occurs when dead skin cells and clogged sebum are in the pores of the skin, trapping bacteria, and causing infection.
Failure to remove the blackhead or whitehead usually results in aggravating the situation with increased blemishing and infection. A whitehead, or comedo, can be a very small spot, sometimes almost invisible, and manifests when the bacteria and sebum are trapped under the skin’s surface. Once the bacteria and trapped sebum are exposed to the skin’s surface and oxygen, it turns black, and is known as an open comedo or blackhead. Neither of these blemishes can simply be washed away, and until treated, they will remain inflamed causing further infection.
It is preferable to physically remove the blackheads and whiteheads rather than stripping the skin of its natural oils with acids and other unnatural formulations. These harsh treatments ultimately irritate the skin, sending a message to the brain to produce more oil, which starts the acne cycle to repeat over and over again. A normal amount of oil produced by the body will heal the skin once the blackheads and whiteheads are removed.
But suffering with acneic skin isn’t necessary and can even be avoided if we educate our communities regarding the benefits of prevention and early treatment. Then we can treat the symptoms and beat the problem. This is good news to most people because there is a common perception that acne is just something that has to be endured. Clients whose skin has been cleared will return again and again to the “magic” that helps them maintain their clear and healthy skin. As a result, aestheticians can effectively: (A.) have satisfied and healthy clients, and (B.) build and sustain a client base in a successful profession. A satisfied client is your best advertisement because they will return for additional treatments and they will refer other clients… and the generations will follow.
It is important to emphasize that there is no age that is “too young” to learn how to care for one’s skin. Parents should not hesitate to take their children to qualified aestheticians for early and preventative acne treatments. While most people think of a facial as a relaxing, peaceful, “vacation” moment, it can and should be a time for deep cleansing of the skin. As more and more aestheticians become aware of the benefits of deep cleansing the skin, more and more clients will experience the satisfying results of clear, healthy skin.
Since most treatment sessions last about an hour, a gentle, 10 minute steaming of the face is all that is necessary to open the pores, permitting the aesthetician to work for the next 30 minutes to clean and clear the skin. First, clean the skin with an appropriate cleanser, followed by a very mild scrub for about 60 seconds (if the skin is too raw, continue without scrubbing). After steaming the face, begin to clear the blemish. Remember that the skin should be gently pulled back, rather than pinched (which causes the breaking of tissue cells, causing scarring). Then the finest sizing of blood lancet (if permitted in your state) is used to create a tiny opening for the blackhead or whitehead, which will easily disengage with the assistance of the aesthetician’s index and thumb wrapped thinly in wet cotton. The same is true for a full-blown pimple filled with pus. The face may then be sprayed with an astringent and all residue thoroughly removed.
After removing the blackheads and whiteheads, it is preferable to again spray the skin or wipe with cotton that is wrapped around the fingers, thereby decreasing the possibility of contaminating and infecting the skin. It is best to use an astringent created from aloe vera or cucumber. Regardless of the severity of the client’s condition, it is possible through methodical and tender treatment to have the client leave without any bruising. At the end of the treatment, apply a cleansing and renewal mask for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the mask gently with a warm towel, then apply a moisturizer or a serum and sunscreen.
For most clients, a monthly maintenance is recommended. For those with severe cases, a weekly clinical facial is necessary until all signs of acne are removed. The client and the aesthetician will see a significant difference from week to week.

Aestheticians should also see themselves as educators. We can teach our clients about diet and its effect on the skin, which will prove to be a tremendous asset in the fight against acne. While there is still much controversy about diet and acne - whether it’s the increase in insulin that is caused by some foods or an increase in the level of male hormones in the body - it is important to encourage your clients to limit their intake of fatty, oily, and high-sugar foods and drinks as part of a regimen to help clear the skin. While these foods may not cause the acne, limiting them almost always helps to clear the skin – and it provides the client with a healthy, pro-active agenda that will be reinforced as they begin to see positive results. Yogurt or acidophilus, in its most natural form, helps to kill bacteria throughout the body, including in skin related issues.

Water has been a cleansing agent for millennia, and increasing the volume of water that is consumed by your clients is one of the most practical ways to help clear the skin. The classic and longtime reports of the need for eight glasses of water a day remain true, as it is a primary method of cleansing impurities from the body. Not only does it assist in our digestion, circulation, and transportation of nutrients throughout our bodies, it flushes away the toxins that build up within. That build-up can find its way to the skin’s pores in the form of blackheads, whiteheads, and other forms of acne.

The “apples” of the cheeks will be clean and healthy with a hearty amount of vitamin A, which is found in many natural foods. In addition to encouraging your clients to eat more foods such as apricots, broccoli, carrots, green and red peppers, and tomatoes, you can teach them to make a natural astringent in their home. All they have to do is take one cup of clean spinach and run it through the blender to create a non-acidic, inexpensive astringent. The juice from one cup of blended spinach can be used during daily cleansings, and the leaves that don’t liquefy can be used as a mask, applied and left on the skin for 10 minutes once or twice a week.

Not enough can be said about the use of vitamin C in all areas of health and beauty. Another easy, once a week, at-home treatment that you can teach your clients is to slice an orange, lemon, or grapefruit and use it to thoroughly scrub the skin’s surface. There isn’t a better natural bleaching agent!

Limited exposure to the sun - generally two to three times a week for fifteen minutes at a time - in low light, will help both the skin and bones. Your clients should be advised to use UVB protection sunscreen, because soaking in oils for the purpose of tanning to achieve a “healthy glow” isn’t the goal. But this limited exposure to the sun, in addition to a recommended dose of vitamin D supplements, and foods including salmon, mackerel, sardines, milk, beef liver, and eggs will also help to safely increase the amount of vitamin D.

One of the most important, and easiest ways to create healthy skin is for your clients to get enough rest. In addition to the dark circles and drooping skin under the eyes that are common evidences of sleep deprivation, it is also common to see a tremendous increase in the breakout of blackheads and whiteheads in those circumstances. Therefore, it’s extremely important to emphasize the necessity of a full, uninterrupted eight to nine hours of sleep each night. This is especially true for students during the time of exams and business people with daily stress and deadlines – they should understand that sleep is a requirement, not a recommendation for healthier skin.

From the time we are young, our mother’s have asked “Did you wash behind your ears?” Clinical facials, the right foods, enough rest… all are important parts of a daily, healthy regimen of good hygiene and successful skin care. A weekly facial wash with baking soda is an additional cleansing agent for at-home treatment of early onset blackheads. Adequate maintenance - washing with a cleanser twice a day and especially following any physical exercise - is imperative. Teaching the client to maintain this routine, with a positive balance so that they don’t over clean and dry out the skin, is primary to changing lifestyle choices to create healthy skin.

From the ground up, nature has provided essential resources for our well-being for thousands and thousands of years. We as aestheticians are more than beautifiers and more than therapists. We can help our clients learn more about how to choose healthy lifestyles that help prevent the onset of acne, rather than constantly reacting to troubled and stressed skin. When your clients see the aesthetician as a partner in creating healthy skin, both parties will benefit. The client will be happy and healthy, and the aesthetician will have a happy and healthy clientele.

With over 30 years of experience as an aesthetician and skin care business owner, Rena Levi specializes in clinical facials and body solutions that focus on the treatment of difficult skin problems, including acne, rosacea, and other forms and the signs of aging. She has invented an effective line of skin care products with formulations that utilize natural ingredients. Her treatment methods are safe and effective on all skin types and conditions, regardless of gender or ethnicity. The evidence of her expertise is clearly demonstrated in the faces of her clients!

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