Visible skin improvement is the holy grail of the treatment room and should be the main goal of every skin care professional. Results, after all, are the fundamental reason why a client will drive across town at rush hour, circle the block three times for a parking spot, and manage to carve roughly 90 minutes out of his or her crazy schedule. The feel good, get to lie down and relax factor, while highly desirable, is not the driving force behind coming in. Achieving clearer, firmer, more-dewy, and younger-looking skin might be the chief motivator.
Fortunately, today there is an abundance of exciting and advanced technology and skin care professionals have never been in a stronger position to achieve their clients’ skin health dreams. But, for those who are still on the fence, wondering if clients want technology used on them in the room or if they are using gadgets at home, consider that in 2017, $33.5 billion in revenue was generated by the global beauty device market. This segment is forecasted to grow by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.4 percent from 2018 to 2023, according to research group P&S Market Research. This is in no way cutting into United States retail product sales, as by 2024, the global skin care market is estimated to reach $180 billion, reported by stastista.com. P&S reports that the increasing awareness among consumers about devices and skin technology for treating wrinkles, blemishes, and sagging skin is leading to their increased adoption and attributing to their vast growth in the market.
Understanding the fact versus fiction and marketing hype surrounding actual results, selecting a trustworthy manufacturer partner, and making a sizable financial investment can be a truly daunting task for most small business owners. New pieces of varying quality equipment have become readily available from every commerce channel and from all over the world at an alarming rate. This overwhelming avalanche of options leaves many professionals confused and somewhat vulnerable about equipment options, price, legalities, training, customer support, and, most importantly, safety. With so many machines available and so many vendors supplying what appears to be similar equipment, what is critical to have? How can professionals know what is right for them, their clients, and their bottom line? Let’s start with reviewing some fundamental basics.
SKIN MAGNIFYING HEADSET
These have had a serious upgrade from the squeaky, dust bunny attracting, clunky magnifying lamps professionals had to grip with one hand for fear of it hitting a client’s nose while peeping at their skin. Today’s top options are hands-free and look more like a pair of sport glasses. They are lightweight, have built in bright LEDs, and a collection of magnification lenses to swap out according to individual needs. The most cutting-edge technology is infused with silver ion technology to provide antimicrobial and antibacterial protection where the headset touches the professional’s own skin. This tool is what sets a professional apart. It is a conversation starter and works great in more retail focused settings, not to mention for eyelash and eyebrow services, too. Beyond the formal consultation, professionals have got to be able to see and touch every millimeter of their client’s skin, identify and chart what they see easily, investigate causes, then, discuss back and forth with the client to establish personalized solutions.
This is the absolute number one piece of equipment that every professional needs. It can be used on every client, during service schedule gaps on the floor, on hair, makeup, and retail clients, for seasonal skin checkups, and at events. It can also be used to analyze skin, chart, recommend products and services and, most importantly, to connect with clients or potential clients. The cost is typically under $150.
MICROSONIC SILICONE BRUSHES
Some of the most easily adopted technology available to the professional are handheld devices that can be used to deep cleanse the skin. The latest innovations have evolved greatly from traditional rotating nylon brushes and are not only more effective at removing debris, but gentle enough for sensitive and more fragile skins. They use microsonic technology, which works through extremely rapid, miniature vibrations, slightly under the level of ultrasonic. This microsonic activity has demonstrated to be up to six times more effective than cleansing the skin with the hands alone. This rationale proves that microsonic technology can and should be used in the treatment room ideally for a second cleanse, while also being retailed to every client, ideally with a mildly foaming, gel-based cleanser. In addition to the cleansing benefits, the exfoliation power of microsonic technology combined with a silicone brush can have an amazing smoothing effect on the visual appearance of the texture of the skin. If clients desire clean, smooth, and congestion free skin, this is one way to quickly help them achieve it.
Look for Azul silicone brush devices that are ergonomically shaped to fit the contours of the face, reach hard to clean areas like the sides of the nose and hairline, and can be gently used close to the eyes. Make sure to verify the IPX level, or water resistance, of the cleansing brush prior to making a purchase, as the bulk of at home cleansing brushes are kept and used in the shower. The latest versions are not only water resistant IPX6, which is the highest level available, but also infused with silver ion technology to ensure they have antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. Use and sell this device together with a cleanser to every customer.
Another fan favorite due to its multi-use application is the ultrasonic spatula, traditionally designed with a flat metal applicator to allow for both peeling and penetration actions. High technology designs and innovations combine both ultrasonic exfoliation and microcurrent product application. They are powered by ultrasound technology creating vibrations up to 28K hz in the flat metal applicator and, when used in conjunction with a more chemical based exfoliant, provide sublimely smooth skin in minutes. After the exfoliation step, the same technology can be used with a decongesting, slightly alkaline pH product to perform superb extractions. The last step in the skin service that can be performed with this device is all about maximizing effective product penetration. Ultrasound vibrations are able to create temporary cellular pathways in the outer layers of the skin that allow for better and deeper product absorption, while microcurrent ionizes the product to allow it to travel down the new pathways. The efficacy of these technologies when used together are incredible.
This is the swiss army knife of skin tools; every professional needs one. However, there are many available on the market, so ensure that it uses both ultrasonic and microcurrent for superior efficacy. Ask about access to training to fully appreciate the various ways it can be used to exfoliate, penetrate serums and moisturizers, and help clear and extract impactions. Take very special care of the unit. The most modern versions are lightweight, compact, cordless, and rechargeable, but can be manhandled and dropped easily.
Skin needling goes by various names in the skin and medical community, including dermarolling, percutaneous collagen induction (PCI), collagen induction therapy, dry tattooing, and, now, microneedling. Originally pioneered by Dr. Andre Camirand in the late 1990s to help reduce scar tissue, the latest microneedling fractional pens have evolved greatly from the manually applied cylindrical dermarollers. Microneedling devices are either battery operated or hard wired or offer both options. Different needle depth options are available and should be used according to the professional’s license, scope, training, and work environment, namely working under a physician or not. Designed to hold anything from 12 to 48 stainless needles with a penetrating depth of .25 to 2.5 millimeters, they are applied directly to the skin at a selected speed in a crisscross motion. Microneedling creates micro injuries that trigger the skin’s natural healing and regeneration, including the synthesis of collagen and elastin. It is a well-recognized discipline that creates a favorable environment for the absorption of key skin care ingredients resulting in firmer, smoother, more evenly toned and textured looking skin. This modality pairs superbly with LED.
As with many methods, it is vital to respect the boundaries of medical or professional tools and skin benefits should not be confused. Always check with local state boards and insurance providers as to what devices and needle depth can be used by a licensed skin professional and work within scope
Microdermabrasion was a major game changer when it first entered the skin care market in the early 1980s. It was one of the first professional technologies and services that helped drive consumers into skin centers and spas. However, it has evolved greatly from the days of dry aluminum oxide (corundum) crystals or sodium bicarbonate crystals being projected then vacuumed up together with dead skin cells from the skin. Today’s new wet/dry microdermabrasion continues to remain amongst the highest sought out service in the industry, so much so that some companies base their entire business model around this one modality. Unlike the pesky and somewhat impossible to get rid of crystals of yesterday that would coat every surface, the new generation of wet/dry microdermabrasion machines use either liquids that are run through the machine or strategic topically applied products that can be sprayed onto the skin. Specialized applicators or diamond encrusted abrasive tips suitable for different skin conditions can be selected for exfoliation levels and these are used with a light vacuum to position the skin gently in contact with the tip. As the hand piece smoothly glides over the surface of the skin, the skin is thoroughly exfoliated, while the topical products enhance the experience and the skin. Up to four passes can be performed, creating a very customized service and smoother, firmer, brighter, and more hydrated skin.
Professionals should do their homework with this one, as costs can range from $5,000 to $25,000. Before making a major investment and buying into a brand’s marketing campaign, examine what needs to be achieved in the treatment room and the price of any required consumable products. Real results and cost per treatment are more important than advertising budgets and hype.
Clients concerned about how to combat the multiple signs of skin aging make up the bulk of clientele. They desire smoother, firmer, more toned, less lined skin that looks bright, healthy, and glowing. Enter microcurrent. This modality is critical to a professional’s equipment lineup for the multitude of positive benefits it can achieve on the skin. Microcurrent is a low level of electrical current that mirrors the body’s own natural current and can offer a multitude of benefits in the aesthetic skin care arena. Its proven, accepted, medically-based applications have a wide range of use, from wound healing to muscle rehabilitation to macular degeneration. Most microcurrent applications and results, whether they are medical or aesthetic, rely on the same mechanisms of action. Even without defining each in detail, the list is very impressive: increased circulatory benefits; muscle re-education; iontophoresis (product penetration); increased natural production of collagen and elastin; increase in protein synthesis, gluco neo-genesis, and membranes transport; increase in mitochondria activity, adenosine tri phosphate (ATP); and dispersion of hardened collagen.
How does it work? Cosmetic microcurrent, by definition, is intended to stimulate the face. Less is more, in this case, and effective microcurrent facials use less than 400 microamperes. Because of its low intensity, microcurrent is subsensory and cannot cause a physical or visual manipulation through the electrical current. There are 32 different muscles of the face that are manually manipulated during progressive microcurrent treatments. Probes are used to perform a series of movements that physically place and hold the muscle in the desired position to perform what is known as muscle re-education: the process of lengthening or shortening muscles. Working a muscle from the belly outward will have a lengthening effect that is necessary on muscles that have become increasingly contracted over years of facial expression. Working a muscle from the origin and insertion point inward will have a shortening effect that is necessary for most muscles that have become elongated over many years of aging and gravity. These manual manipulations on their own could have positive effects, but add the power of properly engineered microcurrent and professionals have one of the most astounding and effective
Performing microcurrent well is a bit of an art form; training and continued practice is essential; however, clients will move from being loyal to raving fans if the professional masters this technique. It is called “the non-surgical face lift” by some professionals and clients for a reason. Research the technology and ask about the number of sequencing programs, as it makes all the difference in the world. Frequency-specific microcurrent is the most forward thinking technology available and a must-have.
Still a Hollywood favorite, especially when used as the finishing act of a celebrity’s pre-Oscar skin service, this technology refines pores, enhances color, smooths texture, and helps to provide the highly desirable lit from within affect. How does it really work? Ambient air is composed of approximately 18 percent oxygen and up to 82 percent nitrogen. Humans need oxygen to survive – a known fact. However, most do not know that the process of making ATP in the mitochondria is an aerobic process and, therefore, requires oxygen to carry out its job effectively. It is because of this fact that cellular respiration is so incredibly important to the skin and body. Forward thinking manufacturers have developed a method of separating the nitrogen from the oxygen, allowing for purity levels to reach as high as 94 percent. This new availability of oxygen excites the mitochondria and near instantly begins to improve and boost the appearance of the skin.
Try the supreme skin energy trifecta of microcurrent, LED, and oxygen. This gives the mitochondria all of the components to leverage the maximum amount of cellular energy. Talk about a wow, red carpet moment!
SHOPPING FOR THE RIGHT TECHNOLOGY
Make sure when researching manufacturers, and a representative of the manufacturer, that they not only have a robust online education program, but qualified educators and an education department that will champion training needs. Responsible manufacturers require every equipment purchaser to attend a certification class where the professional learns in-depth operation and theory of the equipment, as well as appropriate aesthetic applications. Marketing ideas and menu package and cost per treatment analysis should also be provided.
In searching for legitimate technology and suppliers, always look for: ISO 9001 and ISO 13485 quality certifications, GMP compliance, manufacturer product liability insurance, and CE safety testing declaration.
For professionals, there is a limitless choice of tools to add to their arsenal, but it is critical that they understand how to use those tools safely, correctly, and appropriately. Understanding the boundaries and applicability to skin care and the risks involved is also part of the job. Their reputation and success are in their own hands, so when they reach for the next shiny new device, professionals must ensure that they have evaluated all the outcomes, both good and bad.
Experts predict that if technology is not part of a spa’s practice, in five years they will have no practice. Remember, technology can never replace the importance or power of human touch, but it can help professionals create extraordinary, visible results and, thereby, win loyal clients for life.
1 “Beauty Device Market Overview.” Prescient & Strategic Intelligence. https://www.psmarketresearch.com/market-analysis/beauty-devices-market.
2 “Beauty Devices Market Potential Growth by L’Oreal S.A., Panasonic Co, Procter & Gamble Co. etc. by Witnessing a Rise at 7.8% till 2023.” Medgadget. https://www.medgadget.com/2018/10/beauty-devices-market-potential-growth-by-loreal-s-a-panasonic-co-procter-gamble-co-etc-by-witnessing-a-rise-at-7-8-till-2023.html.
3 “Size of the global skin care market from 2012 to 2024 (in billion U.S. dollars)*.” statista. https://www.statista.com/statistics/254612/global-skin-care-market-size/.
4 Whitcomb, Emily, Nina Monroe, Jennifer Hope-Higman, and Penny Campbell. “Demonstration of a Microcurrent-Generating Wound Care Device for Wound Healing Within a Rehabilitation Center Patient Population.” The Journal of the American College of Clinical Wound Specialists 4, no. 2 (2012): 32-39. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3921245/.
5 Opel, Daniel R., Erika Hagstrom, Aaron K. Pace, Krisanne Sisto, Stefanie A. Hirano-Ali, Shraddha Desai, and James Swan. The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology 8, no.
6 (2015): 36-44. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4479368/.
As Vice President of Business Development at Bio-Therapeutic, Annet King is responsible for strategic global brand development and expansion, calling upon her vast knowledge to refine and redefine the company’s internal, client-based, and institutional educational systems. King was raised and educated in the United Kingdom and is CIDESCO, ITEC, and CIBTAC-certified, placing her in the uppermost echelon of world-class skin care professionals. Prior to joining Bio-Therapeutic, King spent 19 years at Dermalogica and two years at Elemis in senior director and vice president roles.