JUser: :_load: Unable to load user with ID: 31566
Saturday, 26 August 2006 09:39

It's A Brave New Skin Care World

Written by  

What will skin care look like in the future? This is the question I'll be exploring in my new series of ongoing columns for DERMASCOPE. After 30 years in this remarkable business, I've formed some strong opinions. But you already know that - otherwise you'd stop reading! And, I welcome your input - please be sure to check out the contact at the end of each column.
Of course, the future is now. Are you ready? Just like comic book space invaders, skin therapists indeed have laser-guns-and that's not an intrinsically bad thing.

And, we have a growing-actually exploding-number of latex-gloved, white-gowned clinicians treating the skin as if it were a suit of clothes that's been dropped off by its owner for a quick spiffing-up. But this is not the destination I had in mind for the industry which I love so passionately.
Let me say that I am not anti-M.D. Really. I entrust my own skin to a dermatologist, UCLA's Dr. Joshua Wieder, and he's fantastic, ethical, and wise.
But part of my mission in writing this column is to help all of us forge a better understanding and a better bond between dermatologists and other skin care professionals-- namely licensed skin therapists like myself who do not possess a medical degree.

Are Dermatologists The New "Aestheticians"?
Medical doctors still like to call us "aestheticians"-facilitators of beauty. This is a term I would apply to a make-up artist (and I can't live without a good mascara!), but not to a skin therapist, since we, like dermatologists, are dedicated to the health of the skin and not its beauty.
Maybe because most of them are men, maybe because most of us are women, this doesn't set too well with M.D.s. So for this reason, the term "aesthetician" persists. It's a code-word for someone who doesn't really know much about skin. And I think you really can only fully live up to the term if you keep your frosted hair in pink sponge rollers, have a skinny, "lady" cigarette with at least one inch of ash dangling from your perma-lined lips at all times, and wear a leopard-print polyester smock monogrammed "Sexy Sadie."
Methinks the medical industry doth protest too much. Being a doctor means that you have taken the Hippocratic Oath, meaning that you dedicate your practice to never harming clients who entrust themselves to your care. This means skin, in the case of the clients who entrust themselves to a dermatologist.
Well, has anyone been to Beverly Hills lately? There seems to be a new "scorched earth" policy in place. The name of this sci-fi thriller is "90210-The Revenge of the Translucent Women." Run for your lives-they've all had one-too-many "lunch-hour procedures", and now they want their epidermis back! And of course, these procedures have nothing to do with the health of the skin, even at their best. They are all about aesthetics-so, perhaps M.D.s are actually the new "aestheticians."

Why Do They Do It?
It's a fact that overly aggressive exfoliation, whether chemical, mechanical, or both, jeopardizes skin health. The relentless stripping of the lipid barrier which I observe out in the world can set up a nasty sensitized reaction in the skin. And newly, perilously "thin-skinned" clients may experience allergy-like reactions to all sorts of things, including favorite cosmetics and skin care products which they've used for years.
Many dermatologists have also recently gotten into the business of developing and marketing their own skin care products, targeted at the well-heeled anti-aging market.
I am not denying that the anti-aging market and its financial potential are as seductive as any siren-call. We all want to look good. We all want to feel good. And that's very good! It's good to feel good and I am all for it.
But at the end of the day, the term "anti-aging" actually makes my skin crawl, appropriately enough. I've always worked against the old "hope in a jar" fantasy. I think of the most intelligent response to the passage of time as "age with edge." Call it the Dame Judy Dench Factor. Let's remember-this year, Nabokov's once-notorious novel "Lolita" turns 50. Now THAT's a wake-up call!

It's Not Brain-Surgery!
With this in mind, it's high time that dermatologists take a page from OUR book-the expertise of the professional skin therapist. I can't think of a single dermatologist who knows what we know, or can do what we can do. I don't know of one who can give a proper skin treatment-- much less (with apologies to the mild-mannered Dr. Wieder), a Brazilian or Sphinx!
This may all seem very heady stuff for an M.D., which makes my point that they can learn from us. Yes, US. In order to truly serve the skin and whoever's in it, M.D.s must look at the decades of tradition which surround the practice of conventional medicine, especially in the days when it was entirely male-dominated, from a fresh angle. Rather than detaching from the patient, as doctors genuinely must in order to perform surgery, for instance, M.D.s involved with skin care now must learn to connect with the client. Rather than relying purely upon the cognitive, they must learn to re-integrate the intuitive back into their diagnostic equation, because once upon a time, ALL doctors were healers in a traditional sense and understood the link between body, mind, and spirit. A new form of intimacy must be defined and employed in the professional-client relationship. Only when M.D.s and skin therapists come to an understanding and can work in mutually supportive, truly complementary modalities will skin care clients finally receive optimum treatment from both a clinical and a whole-person perspective.
By the way, Dr. Wieder, how do you feel about leopard-print?

Readers, I'd love your feedback! Talk to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and thanks for reading!

Want to read more?

Subscribe to one of our monthly plans to continue reading this article.

Related items

  • Successful Upselling Foreward Successful Upselling Foreward

    Upselling and add-ons – a challenging subject to talk about even in the best of times. But here we are in the middle of an economic crisis, so you must be asking yourself how we could possibly consider this a reasonable topic when you are just happy you are able to sustain your clientele. Many of you are probably thinking there is no way you would jeopardize that relationship by asking the client to spend more money. All of which are perfectly reasonable thoughts and questions. However, I will ask you to put them in a box briefly, clear your mind, and be open to consideration for just a moment.

    Let me give you an example of an effective suggestion that happens millions of times, everyday, all around the world. You go to your favorite restaurant; you sit down, and look over the menu. Your server comes to the table and takes your order, you tell him what you would like and he confirms your order then says, “Would you like a salad with that tonight, or can I interest you in a glass of wine?” A perfectly harmless question, that was neither painful nor offensive. At worst you say “No, thank you.” At best, he just enhanced your dining experience, increased your bill, and ultimately his tip. Job well done!

  • Creating the Ideal Retail Mix - December 2008 Creating the Ideal Retail Mix - December 2008
    by Melinda Minton

    Selling retail is an essential part of a well run spa. This is true not only because the additional revenue is so crucial to a spa's bottom line, but also because prescriptive home care is the necessary second step to the professional care given to a client in the spa. While mastering the retail sale can be difficult from a team or individual perspective, there are methods for making your spa’s retail routine hum.



    Your Spa's Style

    Oftentimes spas try to sell a bit of everything in an attempt to accommodate everyone. This can be a fatal error. The more fragmented your retail mix the more clients and staff will be confused. There must be a driving force behind your spa philosophy. Are you primarily a spa focused in on medical skin care, contouring services, water therapies, or all organic non-ablative therapies? Before you can determine the best retail mix for your spa, you really need to dig deep and understand your theme, focus, and primary therapeutic offerings. Moreover, remember that if you can’t get the product on them in the treatment room—there is a much smaller chance that the client will be taking the product home with them for further use when not at the spa. Integrating the treatment experience with the retail experience is crucial. When determining your retail mix, be cognizant of your client. Do you primarily offer clinical services or is your treatment mix somewhat more “fluffy” or gift-oriented?

  • Deal or No Deal Deal or No Deal

    When Sarah Hughes skated off with the gold medal, she pulled off one of the biggest upsets in Olympic history. Her surprisingly simple secret? “I didn’t skate for a gold medal. I went out and had a great time.”

    Athletes say it all the time: “I just went out there and had fun.” And, admittedly, they do look like they’re having a great time.

    Fortunately, fun isn’t the sole province of superstar athletes. It can work for the rest of us in the skin care industry, too. The link between having fun and business success has been proven in countless studies. When we’re having fun on the job, we are more creative and more productive.


  • Sugar... Not Just for Coffee Anymore Sugar... Not Just for Coffee Anymore

    by Lina Kennedy

    A couple of decades ago, offering cream and sugar for anything other than coffee or tea would have sounded quite ridiculous! But in today’s realm of aesthetics and cosmetics promoting coffee and chocolate to soothe even the jitteriest skin, or offering sugar as a real hair removal solution to an age-old problem is very realistic. And as post treatment, applying a good trans-dermal cream to hydrate and moisturize the skin is simply a great, soothing and natural way to complete your sugaring service.

  • Jan Marini - August 2010: A Legend in Aesthetics
    Jan Marini - August 2010: A Legend in Aesthetics
    Jan Marinin


    Those who know Jan Marini refer to her as a visionary. While Jan might agree in principle, she sees this characterization as both a strength and a weakness. She envies those who are able to savor the moment. Where others view life in snapshots that capture real time, Jan sees broad borderless landscapes and endless possibilities. She does not see a product, she sees a business and in that same instance her mind is flooded with the business plan and all the accompanying details. Even when she is not envisioning empires, she is never satisfied with the status quo.
    Given her background, perhaps this is an understandable if not necessary survival tool. Jan’s mother, Florence, was a single mom of three boys in an era when divorce carried a major stigma. Florence remarried and unexpectedly gave birth to Jan late in life. The family struggled to live a very meager existence. Her father died when she was eight years old and the family was thrust into poverty. Florence worked only menial jobs and food was often scarce. It was no wonder that Jan viewed her world not as it was, but as it might be, and that she softened the bleak reality by envisioning a larger and more optimistic scenario brimming with potential. Because of her early circumstances, Jan is adamant that in order to succeed you must be tenacious, doggedly determined, and completely focused on the ultimate goal.
    Jan describes herself as a product researcher. “Back in the early days I was considered a product ingredient expert. I lectured to medical professionals, skin care professionals, and consumers about how ingredients really performed and what they could realistically expect to provide.” She also did talk radio and T.V., because as she puts it, “consumers love to hear about ingredients and whether their products really work. It is a popular topic that lends itself to talk shows.”
Login to post comments

December 2023

Business Blogs

Brands of the Month

  • Celluma by Biophotas, Inc
  • DMK Skin Revision Center
  • Repechage

Client Care

body { overflow-y: auto; } html, body { min-width: unset; }