Often overlooked when treating clients with acne is the emotional side of dealing with the condition. For youth, teasing and bullying often occurs. In some cases, this leads to depression, withdrawal, and even suicide. I have found that providing opportunities for clients to open up about the emotional element of acne creates an environment where they feel safe. Remember, it is not easy to gather the courage to make an appointment and have the very issue that could be contributing to poor self-esteem or emotional distress closely examined.
I had a very memorable consultation once with a mother and her son who had stage 4 acne. The mother was adamant that she had done all she could think of and nothing was working. She mentioned all of the antibiotics, face washes, lotions, and creams her son had used. As she talked, I noticed the son’s facial gestures seemed to say, “I don’t do all that.” His expression did not show any signs that one treatment had even been started.
I politely asked the mom if I could speak to her son alone; I had a feeling he might open up if we were able to speak privately. My instincts were spot on. When his mother left the room, the boy seemed to relax. I reviewed the treatments his mother had said he had been using and asked one simple question: “Have you really been using all of the products as instructed?”
I was not surprised to find the answer was no. The boy opened up about how he felt hurt by being looked at and judged. I also learned that the boy was not simply being lazy. No one had taken the time to explain to him the importance of each step of his treatment or how to use the products. He had never even been shown how to cleanse his face.
That day, I explained a timeline of expectations and taught him how to use his treatment products and tricks for committing to the process. Finally, the young man’s success was in his own hands. He felt empowered and excited to see a light at the end of the tunnel.
Connect with your clients. You went to school to learn how to perform treatments, but your clients did not. Remember to teach clients how to wash properly, how to apply products, and so forth. It is imperative for their success and happiness.
Taking the time to listen and teach builds a strong relationship with clients. Strong relationships create lifelong clients that lead to referrals and builds business. Start looking for these types of opportunities to make positive changes for you and your clients.
Michelle R. DeLeon