Tami Chance Assaf

Tami Chance Assaf

S.A.D. and the Spa

This time of year, with the longer, darker days and cooler temperatures of fall and winter, true emotional and physiological changes occur within the body and mind. It takes more energy to get up and go when the body wants to stay in and rest. Seasonally apparent, these moods feel like a case of the blues, indecision, apathy, fatigue, and irritability. Aptly referred to as seasonal affective disorder, or S.A.D., it can be visibly diagnosed with unexplainable weight gain (overeating at times not realized by the person) and can be emotionally perceived with a noticeable heightened anxiety. It is generally noticed through an overarching sense of fatigue or drag. Mood disorders such as S.A.D. present as chronic concerns to those afflicted, where it may feel like the activities of daily living are overwhelming. Thankfully, today, hope is often as close as a nearest spa, beauty clinic, or massage therapist.


Taking into consideration the international theme of spa as a lifestyle today, and not simply a luxury or only for external beauty, treatments for S.A.D. can be as easy as a phone call away. Spa offerings may incorporate beneficial technologies for mood disorders, such as LED light therapy, the taking in of healing waters, nutrition focused sessions and experiences, chi focused body work, meditations, touch and sensory care by an aromatherapy and flower essence practitioner, and flow focused European facial treatments. Sometimes, most significantly, spas represent a safe accessible place to get away from the daily mundane or the home or workplace, where individuals can find support and solace in a place to call their own.


Spa online booking allows for ease of creating that safe space while keeping the sometimes cherished anonymity desired to combat feelings that accompany S.A.D. For these clients, lifting that metaphorical thousand pound phone receiver to ask for help can be difficult. Online booking allows these clients to select services that speak to them during the tougher winter months at their leisure and at a time that works for them.


Spa allows for interaction with a support group focused on wellness and, often, with a holistic perspective on life, flow, and the seasons. Clients with S.A.D. can often rely on their skin care professionals for a listening ear and referrals they may be able to give. Stress felt during these seasons by clients may manifest itself in unpredictable skin reactions, irritable gut and sensitivities nutritionally, and an overall greater curiosity about self-help and wellness options.


Being prepared as a spa professional with more resources to offer will help in caring for clients with grace and confidence. Pull out those business cards of people who have come across your table or storefront who may have used those precious words, “Let me know if there is ever a time I can be of help.” Reignite those relationships and take time to care for yourself while you take time to care for clients this fall and winter. Bring awareness of S.A.D. as a seasonal pattern to light, lift the shame off the disorder, offer confidence and insight to this common disorder, and, through your services, treatments, and care, brighten the hearts and minds of clients.

Marvelous Micellar: Benefits of Using Micellar Water

Cleansers and toners are found as effective, all-in-one products, and today’s ability to refine the efficacy of more advanced compositions validates their long-standing purpose to clean and balance skin. While the existence of cleansers and toners as a duo is possible due to the purity of this generation’s skin care formulations and the advanced technology in today’s manufacturing capabilities, a European favorite, micellar water, has only recently come to domestic shelves. Micellar water promises to continue to impress and establish its reputation as a beauty fluid for flawlessness, proving to be an ideal water compilation for cleansing, flushing, and refreshing skin of all types.


Micellar water, named as such due to the small particles in the water called micelles, is supremely gentle on the skin and ideal for replacing city water in skin care use when faced with hard water situations or on-the-go travel circumstances. Carry a cotton ball or cotton pad, douse the cotton with micellar water, and wipe on the luxurious, yet simple formula for clean, balanced, and nourished skin. Micellar water is easily accessible and equally simple to substitute into a skin care regimen as a homecare basic or a clinic room benefit, now that skin care aficionados worldwide have adopted its use. Micellar water cleans where water is hard to access or not available, while being favorable to use on reactive skin conditions and weaker skin types.


Visualize tiny sponges or reservoirs that capture the unnecessary and provide the beneficial. Hydrating for the skin, while having the ability to cleanse and purify, micellar water is multifunctional in its organic nature. The fluid accumulates residual dirt and makeup from the skin surface with its oil-loving, lipophilic nature, while dissolving and flushing the trapped particles away thanks to the water-loving, hydrophyllic second nature of the micelle particle. Micellar water leaves the skin clean and soft without a tacky residue, sometimes found in leave-on cleansing products. Micellar water can be comfortably incorporated into any skin care routine, as it is not contraindicative to medical or pharmaceutical-grade skin care regimens.


Micellar water is manufactured domestically and internationally by reputable companies and has been for quite some time. More recently, the formulations have become more advanced to not just clean without stripping and purify without irritating, but clients with drier, acneic, or weaker skin find the hydration of their skin to be improved overall. Vitamins, herbal extracts, and flower essences can be found in some of the favorite micellar waters around the world.


While free from irritating ingredients and user-friendly from tip-to-tip (tip of the forehead to tip of the toe), micellar water can be used twice a day in a homecare regimen as a fluid to activate powdered exfoliants and thin out too emollient moisturizers in the clinic room. Quickly becoming an aesthetic industry regular, micellar cleansing water is adaptable to skin on both ends of the spectrum, from weak to tough and dry. The product is effective, while soothing, and is easy to find online or in stores around the country.


Tami AssafA native San Diegan and UCLA alumna, Tami Chance Assaf gained experience from the medical laser industry and is currently an aesthetician for clinics in La Jolla, California and Palm Desert, California. She also consults for a variety of projects within the aesthetic industry. Assaf’s passion for continuing education and keeping a pulse on the latest in the skin care industry is reflected in her holistic approach to taking care of her clients’ skin from the inside out. As an aesthetician for RevivaMed La Jolla and an educator for CA Botana, Assaf shares her love for skin care techniques and the science behind getting great results with clients, friends, fellow skin care therapists, and students in the industry. Assaf resides in La Jolla, California with her daughter Kristine, son Kaden, husband Billy, and their border collie-lab Chloe.



Autumn Additions: Assessing Tools and Equipment Needed for Colder Climates

As fall settles in and clients are looking to refresh and restore skin damaged from summer activities, October is a time to re-evaluate tools and equipment within the clinic room. At this time of year, skin care professionals are encouraging clients to drink plenty of water to maintain optimum skin hydration levels and guarantee delivery of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to the active sites within the skin cells. They are ensuring the client is using proper cleansing and moisturizing protective products. And, they are even encouraging clients to use a humidifier within the home to combat the change to cold, outside air in order to allow the client to stay warm while preventing trans-epidermal water loss from indoor heaters. All these tips are effective when implemented, but what tools and machines are being used within the clinic to support the homecare regimen?




Topical exfoliation in the form of scrubs, creams, enzymes, and chemicals can be enhanced, complemented, and replaced by a form of manual exfoliation called microdermabrasion, which uses fine aluminum oxide crystals or diamond-tipped wand tips, in a variety of sizes and intensities, to remove dead skin cells. The suction function of a microdermabrasion treatment increases circulation which has antiaging and detoxifying benefits for the client.


Microdermabrasion treatments are painless, with no topical anesthetic needed. Inflammatory skin conditions, delicate or thin skin, and open wounds would be examples of contraindications of this suction-based, lightly abrasive treatment. Benefits include a smoother texture to skin immediately noticeable to the touch, as well as enhanced product absorption post-treatment. Helpful in addressing sun-damage related fine lines, wrinkles, and pigmentation, as well as shallow acne scars, microdermabrasion is safe to repeat multiple times during a season – as often as every three weeks. Ideally, the skin care therapist will be knowledgeable in proper serum use and hydration, with customized bioactive masks following each microdermabrasion treatment to take the results-oriented procedures to the next level.




Eyebrows, bikinis, and areas all over the body need maintenance – even after the warmer months have gone away. Therefore, pay attention to supplies of disinfected and clean waxing, sugaring, or threading supplies. Sanitary table paper, gloves (usually non-latex is advisable), sugar or wax warmers, thread, scissors, tweezers, pre- and post- care products, four-by-four pads, modesty towels, and a good magnifying lamp are all essentials for successful and comfortable hair removal procedures, regardless of methodology.




Outdoor activity and sunscreens leave the skin ready for a good cleaning come fall. From blackhead remover tools made of metal – with rounded ends of various diameters – to sharp-tipped comedone extractors, beauty supply stores and online retailers sell comedone releaser tools to the general public that can permanently damage the heathy cells around the infected and clogged areas needing professional attention. So, choose retailers wisely.




In order to stimulate cellular renewal – both superficially and at a deeper level –light emitting diodes (LED) therapy is used to deliver low-intensity light waves into the skin. LED waves can be absorbed and, therefore, create cellular change within the receptor regions of each skin cell. Offering natural light therapy at a variety of spectrums allows the clinician to effectively treat indications on the face and body, including those for aged, dehydrated skin, congested or acne-troubled skin, and various degrees of hyperpigmentation. The growth of healthy skin cells is accelerated by red and infrared light therapy.


Red LED treatments increase blood circulation and lower inflammation levels, which allow the skin’s repair mechanisms to function efficiently. The health benefits of red light also include an enhancement of cellular growth, which reduces the visible signs of aging. Skin rejuvenation benefits from red light LED therapy are seen in the delay in visible aging and reduction of fine lines and wrinkles, including more elasticity within the skin.


Blue LED treatments effectively eliminate acne-causing bacteria through the production of free radicals, which bind to toxins in the skin, destroying bacteria-forming molecules. Combination therapy – using bacteria-destroying blue light and healing, anti-inflammatory red light – consistently proves to be the aestheticians’ alternative to referring out immediately for antibiotics and potentially harmful internal pharmaceuticals commonly used for acne cure in many medical settings.


Green LED treatments brighten the complexion and help diminish visible surface layer age spots and  hyperpigmentation and actually help address inadequate skin hydration levels. Green LED light regulates melanin production and has a preventative role against environmental damage. Regular treatments help delay the formation of lentigines, brown spots, and other consequences of sun damage.


LED light therapy impressively complements another aesthetic tool, the high frequency (HF) wand, and successfully treats thinning hair and scalp conditions by increasing blood circulation.




Seen as a luxury piece of equipment, the bed warmer ought to be viewed as a necessary tool for relaxing the client and, therefore, de-stressing skin. Tight muscles and body aches become less distracting as the client settles in for a professional treatment of excellence. It is recommended to complement the attention a skin care professional gives to client comfort by including inhalation aromatherapy, with towel warmer towels saturated with a wellness soak or an essential oil combination in a diffuser. Successful skin care professionals sell good feelings and results.




Ultrasound handpieces and wands emit sound waves through the skin barrier, generating a micro-massage of skin tissue deep within the fibroblast, increasing skin metabolism, blood circulation, and elastin production. Often, ultrasound handpieces are part of 5-in-1 machines complementing hot and cold therapy wands, LED light therapy treatments, and microdermabrasion exfoliation. The improvement of blood and lymph flow due to the high-speed vibration of ultrasound has direct health benefits for the client. There is a degree of localized heat during ultrasound treatments, often not enough to be contraindicative of the majority of inflammatory conditions. The benefits of tightened and smoother-textured skin will give the client a long-lasting glow.


The depth of ultrasound penetration depends on the frequency level of the oscillation; therefore, the higher the frequency, the shallower the penetration. Optimal facial skin treatment frequency should be around three MHz. The Board of Barbering and Cosmetology – or its equivalent – will be able to best guide the skin care professional as to the scope of licensure based on the state in which he or she is practicing.


Ultrasound can be used to lift skin and to aid collagen production when used by medical professionals. Reaching as deeply as possible into the skin is the goal for this therapy. Ultrasonic therapy is comfortable for clients, as it does not involve pulling on the skin. When done at a deeper level by a medical professional, ultrasonic therapy can be used to delay the need for surgery. Indications including pore size concerns, acne lesions, and scar tissue are effectively treated using ultrasound in professional treatments. Other results of ultrasound therapies include a reduction in puffiness (anti-inflammatory benefits); a lessening of fine lines, wrinkles, and stretch marks; and an improvement in the tone of sun-damaged skin. Ultrasound treatments are also known to shrink pore size, help acne problems, and soften and reduce scar tissue. When used under the care of a properly licensed professional, results over time include more youthful-looking and feeling skin, as ultrasound therapy assists in slowing down the skin aging process. Proper post-treatment serum and post-care home products will seal the deal.




HF therapy helps to enhance blood circulation, collagen, and elastin production and stimulate hair growth. Adding HF devices to a skin care routine helps improve oxygenation of the skin and rid skin of toxins, dead cells, and bacteria; balance oil production; and fight acne. HF as an antiaging treatment initiates new collagen and elastin production and activates the skin biochemical process.




Radio frequency (RF) uses energy for skin tightening, rejuvenation, and fat reduction and, thus, is often seen in body sculpting procedures on the cheek area, neck, and below. Most RF treatments must be performed within a medical spa or medical clinic due to the depth of penetration of the treatment. As a licensed skin care professional, the delivery of heat into deeper layers of the skin is outside the scope of practice in many states. In approved states, the benefits of renewed collagen production and tightening of sagging skin can be long-lasting and worth the extra expense for clients, when done under the care of an experienced and properly licensed professional.




Microcurrent therapy disperses low-level electrical currents (microcurrents) into the skin to address damaged tissues. For skin care therapists, the benefits of pain and inflammation reduction are helpful components in the healing of injured tissues. An antiaging tool, microcurrent machines emit gentle, electrical impulses that stimulate facial muscle contraction, therefore, strengthening loose facial muscles. Microcurrent will improve the delicate skin of the eye area, wrinkles around the eyes, and under-eye puffiness while increasing blood flow to harder-to-treat areas. Though microcurrent does not target the fatty bags, the microcurrent encourages the drain of excess fluid, therefore, less puffiness around the under-eye area occurs. Full face results include a smoothing of the facial skin and visible lifting. Products will beautifully penetrate microcurrent-treated skin more rapidly, visibly benefiting the client with more natural skin color and vibrant skin overall.


Two electrodes are used during microcurrent therapy. One electrode is passive and placed under the shoulder of the client and is connected to the microcurrent machine. The other electrode is held by the skin care therapist and is actively used to perform the treatment. Microcurrent, like many other modalities, helps skin rejuvenate, resulting in tighter and brighter skin. Most comprehensive microcurrent therapy sessions begin with an exfoliation step on cleansed skin. The skin care professional manipulates a smooth, dull blade or rod oscillating at high speed, powered by the current waves, to loosen dead skin cells (painless). Antioxidant serums are, ideally, used following the exfoliant segment of the therapy. A variety of shapes of wands are useful to have in an equipment drawer for different mechanisms of action.




When properly placed 10 to 15 inches from the face, based on the strength of the steamer unit, steam raises the ambient skin temperature, therefore, dilating blood vessels, increasing blood flow, and allowing the skin to release heat. The more rapid movement of blood – delivering nutrients and oxygen to tissues – is one of the many benefits of using a steamer in the professional skin care treatment room. Pores are not sphincter muscles (there are no muscles around the pore opening); therefore, steam does not facilitate the opening and closing of pores for cleansing purposes, but rather the increase of perspiration, which lifts dead skin cells, dirt, and debris from trapped areas on the surface of the skin.




The galvanic machine is a tool used to enhance and refine skin on the face and body and to revitalize hair growth. Galvanic current enhances circulation and has credibly been used for over half a century, predominantly in Europe. As galvanic treatments gain popularity in American skin care professional clinic rooms, the significant reduction in wrinkles, unclogging of pores, and reviving of hair follicles (ergo allowing hair growth) are making believers out of clients.


Galvanic treatment pushes topical gel deep into the skin through electric currents. A positive and negative charge binds the gel to impurities, draws them back out to the surface, and stimulates blood flow, increasing oxygen to the surface of the skin. Using the negatively charged galvanic, negatively charged gel binds to the impurities. When turned to the positive charge, the negatively charged gel, with attached impurities, are pulled to the skin surface. Great for facilitating extractions, galvanic is often used during steaming in a professional treatment for approximately 10 minutes.


As professionals assess their current equipment and tools, as well as the needs of their clientele, they will find that many of these modalities and tools would be great additions to their current offerings.


AssafA native San Diegan and UCLA alumna, Tami Assaf gained experience from the medical laser industry and is currently an aesthetician for clinics in La Jolla, California and Palm Desert, California. She also consults for a variety of projects within the aesthetic industry. As an educator for CA Botana, Assaf shares her love for skin care techniques and the science behind getting great results with fellow skin care professionals, as well as students in the industry.

How Obesity Compromises Skin

A common occurrence is the presence of altered skin health among those struggling with obesity. The physiology of skin changes in direct relation to a person’s weight as it moves from healthy to overweight and beyond.


There are distinct commonalities that skin care professionals worldwide see when addressing the needs of overweight and obese clients. There is always a disruption in sebum production, which directly impacts the protective nature and hydration health of the skin. The epidermal barrier is often noticeably compromised at a superficial level, so there is an increased chance of skin infections. At the deeper layers of the skin, there can be discrepancies within the collagen production and structural integrity of the skin. At all levels, there is unnatural strain and stress on the body which affects the skin.


Caring for Eyes and Lips in the Blinking, Drinking, and Squinting Era of Anti-Aging Skin Care

The delicate fabric of the skin in certain areas of the face shows signs of aging and environmental distress early due to a lack of blood flow, fewer healthy fatty deposits, and an absence of skin tenacity; these changes are the result of thinner epidermal-dermal countenance of the skin in the eye and lip area.

Successful Skin Routines for Aging Skin: Understanding the Preventative, Maintenance, and Reversal Philosophy

by Dieter Kuster, Ph.D. and Tami Assaf, L.E.


Properly addressing the needs of clients with aging skin requires understanding each individual client from a holistic perspective and establishing a solid grasp on integrating medical conditions with advanced treatments and pure botanicals. In this changing world, where social concerns, environmental issues, political influences, family dynamics, and the power of media have the ability to distract people from their own well-being and, in some way, affect almost every decision people make, caring for personal health can become a challenge. Skin is responsible for being a barrier and, unfortunately, due to external factors, is often directly or indirectly impacted; most often, it is simply neglected.

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