Thursday, 06 October 2011 09:38

Body Beautiful - Target Treatments for Lips, Hands, and Décolleté

Written by   Margaret Ancira

So much emphasis in our industry and society is placed on rejuvenating the face. After all, it is our calling card. But what about the rest of the body? Our hands and lips are the most active parts of our bodies and along with the chest and neck areas, the most exposed to the sun and other environmental aggressors. Yet these areas of skin don't receive near as much time and attention as the face does. Fortunately, new, non-invasive rejuvenating treatments targeting these often-neglected areas are emerging in growing numbers and presenting skin care professionals with new opportunities to expand their service menus and their bottom line.

The latest ingredients and new treatment protocols available for facial rejuvenation are now being incorporated into treatments for these often overlooked body parts.

Let's take a closer look at how the lips, hands, and décolleté can benefit from what's new on the market.

Lip Service

Skin density varies greatly over different areas of the body. The thinnest epidermal density is on the lips and periorbital area (.1 to .12mm). Both areas are very fragile and vulnerable to dehydration due to fewer sebaceous glands present, but the lips are especially susceptible because they are almost constantly in use. Factors such as lip licking, repetitive facial movement from gum chewing or smoking, using astringent products around the lip periphery, daily application of lip balms and lipsticks containing acid based dyes or artificial preservatives, and unprotected sun exposure can all contribute to less than lovely looking lips. On the horizon are a host of ingredients that can help improve overall lip health and appearance. Among the newcomers is BMX Complex. This blend of botanical extracts derived from barley and tomatoes has been clinically proven to boost moisture retention and dramatically reduce flakiness, a common problem associated with dry lips. A new class of topical peptides can stimulate collagen and firm lip tissue, resulting in plumper, fuller looking lips and a reduction in the appearance of lip lines that come with age. Finally, concentrated doses of antioxidants preserve this progress by enhancing barrier protection to shield lips from damaging free radicals. Lip products formulated with these types of ingredients can be incorporated into the end of any facial procedure to enhance the overall outcome. Begin by massaging a small amount of a gentle exfoliant on the lip area. Remove with a warm, damp towel. Apply a serum rich in epidermal growth factor to stimulate cell division and finish with the lip product.

A Helping Hand

The body's skin has fewer sebaceous glands than facial skin, making it typically drier. Nowhere is this more evident than on the hands. Although the palms have some of the thickest skin on the human body, the backs of hands have thin skin that is constantly in motion through hand use and finger movement. Next comes constant exposure to the elements, especially sun exposure through the windshield of a car or commuter transportation. Add to that contact with harsh soaps and detergents, fragrances, alcohol, dyes, and preservatives in commercial hand moisturizers and sanitizers, and it is no wonder that hands show their age faster than any other part of the body. There are gentle and effective methods to protect the barrier function and revive hands covered in crepe-like skin and prominent blue veins. Topical agents such as retinol, AHAs, peptides, lightening agents, and antioxidants such as vitamins A and C that are effective in reversing photo-damage on the face can be easily adapted into hand treatment protocols. Minimally irritating lactic acid and malic acid- based chemical peels are another option to stimulate cell turnover and induce collagen synthesis. Over time, repeated use of chemical peels coupled with home care products will result in a gradual thickening of the superficial layers of skin and reduce the appearance of dyschromias. Always occlude the back of hands with a broad-spectrum sunscreen post treatment and encourage clients to switch to hydrating sunscreen for hands.

Décolleté Dos And Don'ts

The body's denser skin structure tends to tolerate a more active treatment like a chemical peel quite well. This is not the case with the décolleté. This area below the neck tends to respond to treatments and external stimuli more like the face than the rest of the body. Medical research has even demonstrated that this region of the body tends to be more permeable than other sites such as the arms, legs, and trunk. The layer of adipose (fat) on the chest is the thinnest site on the body. While a chemical peel treatment can be effective in correcting hyperpigmentation and stimulating collagen genesis, its use should be limited to more resilient skin on the lower end of the Fitzpatrick scale. Advanced body peel formulas now on the market are designed to deliver minimum irritation and maximum penetration with the use of a pre-peel prepping mask containing super hydrating ingredients such as urea and malic acid. Follow with a well-rounded body peel solution of TCA, L-lactic, salicylic acids with kojic acid and arbutin for tyrosinase inhibition. The end result will be a visual improvement in the texture, tone, and moisture content of the décolleté. These target treatments can be offered as stand-alone services or as "add-on" treatments that can be done during a facial treatment. Besides being safe, efficient, and convenient, targeting these areas with add-on treatments such as chemical peels can be a profitable addition to your practice. When considering complementary treatments for your facial treatment menu, it is important to note the favorable ratio between the cost per treatment (CPT) and the approximate number of treatments per product.


*All costs approximate



Total Cost


# of Treatments


Cost per Treatment

Lip Renewal Treatment




Hand Renewal Peel



$2.50 to $4.16

Body Peel Treatment



$4.18 to $6.57

When establishing pricing for treatments, it is important to be competitive in your area. This will vary according to your market's demographics. Depending on the size of area being treated, add-on services for the lips, hands, or chest can add another $10, $20 or $75 to the session. Based on estimated costs listed above, it is obvious that with just a few add-ons to complement the facial treatment, the cost of the professional product is paid for immediately. The cost of other products that will be used during the treatment protocol, such as facial cleanser, toner, specialty serums, hydrators and SPF products need to be factored in as well. When the CPT for these companion products is added in to the equation, the total cost of a treatment may still only be $4.00 – $8.00 for the practice. When you include the revenue from up-selling home care products to sustain professional treatment results, it all adds up to a healthy profit margin.Before starting a treatment on a target area such as the lips, hands, or décolleté, ask clients if you may take before and after photos for your photo library. These photos are a dramatic way to demonstrate improvements, and also serve as an effective marketing tool for clients who may need convincing of the benefits. Make sure you receive written permission from clients to display their photos in your marketing materials.

Incorporating complementary treatments into your menu of facial services will be a welcome addition to clients looking to maximize their time (and dollars) on the aesthetician's treatment table. With new ingredients and new protocols available to bring out the best in the lips, hands, and décolleté, there is no reason any longer why the face should be the only part of your client's body to glow with good health!

Margaret Ancira, founder and president of Physician's Choice of Arizona, is a licensed aesthetician and a chemical peel educator. Ancira is a regularly featured speaker at medical symposia around the globe. She is the innovator of chemical peel formulations used to treat a variety of skin conditions including acne, eczema, rosacea, hyperpigmentation, and sun damage. Physician's Choiceâ professional treatments and PCA SKINâClinical Care Products are used in select clinical practices in 60 countries.

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