Kathryn Leverette|Clinical Aesthetician, Educator and Consultant

Kathryn Leverette has been a licensed aesthetician, acne specialist, ethnic skin expert, consultant, and industry educator since 1987. In addition to acne, ethnic and sensitive skin, she specializes in hyperpigmentation and scar reduction. Her clientele is generally 85 percent African-American (40 percent of which are men), with a 15 percent mix of African, Hispanic, Caucasian, Asian, West Indian, Asian Indian, Pacific Islander and Native American clients. Leverette is best known in the professional skin care industry for developing the first internationally-recognized programs to successfully treat razor bumps and acne keloidalis (scalp bumps and scars). She was one of the first skin care professionals to utilize and write about the alpha hydroxy acids in the late 1980s, and the first to introduce the use of alpha hydroxy acids in Europe.

clinically-clearI have been an aesthetician for 26 years. During that time, I have also been an acne and ethnic skin specialist, clinic owner, industry educator, freelance writer, product formulation consultant, and cosmetic label copywriter. I believe that there is no better education than tons of experience and common sense. I love a challenge and I am a natural at treating darker skin. Throughout my career, I feel my ability to connect with my clients face-to-face, taking the time to look at their skin and listen to their concerns while asking the right questions has enabled me to be successful in this industry. There was no formal training for what I specialize in when I started my career. However, even to this day, I am always on a mission to explore new ingredient technologies and fine-tune my existing skin care protocols. That way, I stay on the cutting edge and provide better products and treatments for my clients. I urge future aestheticians to explore the countless opportunities in our industry and go with what they love. Specialize and create a relevant niche market in their community, whether it is acne, age management, the spa experience, makeup, waxing or ethnic skin. If at some point during a procedure they feel as if it is going wrong, or feel unsure about a treatment or product, they should seek expert advice from a colleague or mentor. When you love what you do, it never feels like work. Personally, my inspiration comes from guiding my clients to clear, healthy skin and seeing the enormous impact it has on their quality of life and self-esteem. I am a people person. I love interacting with my diverse clientele, which includes people of all ethnicities, countries, cultures, and all walks of life. It is my belief that some clients visit spas to be pampered and to relax as a retreat from their stressful lives. Others require a knowledgeable professional to help them with serious skin problems. Either way, how they are treated as human beings is central to the choices they make. There are dozens of things I might have done differently. I like to call them learning experiences, not mistakes. For years, I was instrumental in developing product lines, innovative formulations, and protocols as a paid consultant. I have mentored several budding aestheticians and shared customized formulations, protocols, industry sources, and detailed written material to help them jumpstart their careers. Looking back, I would have done things differently. However, that never stopped me from mentoring others in our industry. I have learned how to work smarter, not harder.

DERMASCOPE:
What has surprised you most during your professional journey? Continued...

Kathryn:
I have mentored several budding aestheticians and shared customized formulations, protocols, industry sources, and detailed written material to help them jumpstart their careers. I should not have been surprised that a couple of them later claimed everything as their own, from the systems and formulas to my written material. However, that never stopped me from mentoring others in our industry.

DERMASCOPE:
Do you have any regrets, or is there any one thing you can point to and think, "I wish I would have done that differently" or "if only I had known then what I know now." Continued...

Kathryn:
There are dozens of things I might have done differently. I like to call them learning experiences, not mistakes. For years, I was instrumental in developing product lines, innovative formulations, and protocols as a paid consultant. Looking back, the industry recognition that was verbally promised to me for my work would have been written into my contracts.

DERMASCOPE:
Do you have a signature treatment or technique that your clients love – a classic of sorts? What makes it so loved?

Kathryn:
Clients love our monthly Peel Deals. For a discounted price, they get our featured brightening peel, a depigmenting pore-tightening mask, and a brightening booster.

DERMASCOPE:
What is the one piece of advice you give to every client you see?

Kathryn:
In order to protect the overall health of the skin, clients need to practice safe sun care throughout their lifetime. Even a slight tan is a part of cumulative sun damage. Using the right sunscreen is the number one thing you can do for your skin.

DERMASCOPE:
What tool(s) would your treatment room (or business) not be complete without and why?

Kathryn:
Essential tools of my trade are taklon fan brushes for chemical peel application and Miltex Schamberg extra-fine comedone extractors.

DERMASCOPE:
Is there a particular moment or procedure where most professionals go wrong? What could they alter for a better result? Continued...

Kathryn:
If you feel unsure about a treatment or product, seek expert advice from a colleague or mentor. Do not perform microdermabrasion on skin of color, olive skin, or those even slightly prone to melasma or hyperpigmentation. Also, remember to never let a client walk out of your door without sunscreen.

DERMASCOPE:
Is there a particular ingredient that you feel is a "super" ingredient? If so, why?

Kathryn:
I love mandelic acid and retinoids equally. Mandelic acid is a newer AHA with anti-inflammatory, skin brightening and skin-smoothing properties. Active retinoids are the Cadillac of skin resurfacing topicals and work on the deeper layers to hold off skin laxity and wrinkles. A good micronized zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide physical sunscreen is the most important thing to ensure healthy skin for life.

DERMASCOPE:
You wear so many hats in this industry. What is your secret to keeping life in balance and enjoying the journey? Continued...

Kathryn:
I had to learn how to work smarter, not harder. I have always been a world traveler and in recent years I have traveled to Mali, Brazil, Belize and Jamaica. Future trips include Cuba, Panama and South Africa. After years of eating on the fly, in my early sixties I became a self-taught gourmet cook. I also spend time with my forever pet, a Doberman named Chief.

DERMASCOPE:
Do you or your company support any particular causes or charitable organizations? If so, who and why?

Kathryn:
For over 25 years, I have supported African-American burn survivors in my community by offering pro bono products and services. As we gradually soften, smooth out, and lighten thick scar tissue, clients begin to feel comfortable in their own skin. Our head aesthetician suffered massive disfiguring burns as a child. Today, she is a beautiful, confident woman.

1 comment

  • Comment Link Harris Yogi Saturday, 09 November 2013 22:34 posted by Harris Yogi

    I would love to see a book published from her in the future on Color Skin.

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