A successful medical spa is determined by the client experience. Your providers, treatments, education of products, and overall services are expected to be outstanding. What wins over clients is the experience – make yours amazing. The key is to get new potential clients to give your spa a try. Get creative and try different monthly ideas – anything that will entice new clients to experience what your spa has to offer. Who’s your target audience? Millennials, men, an ethnic subgroup? Get them through the door to an educational event and give them educational information and an added value gift card and they will be back to experience a complimentary, miniature treatment. Here are some ideas for getting them through the door.

With the passing of April showers come May flowers and, with them, the promise of warmer weather. Warmer weather means clients begin removing bulky clothing and exposing more skin. For the owner of a medical spa practice, this means more opportunity to promote skin care products and treatments. Help clients look their best as they emerge from the dreary winter months.

Celebrate the month of May with monthly themed events which make for great marketing. Pick a May celebration and use that theme for your event of the month. Carry the theme throughout your social media, blogs, website, displays, and so on. Here are some ideas for May celebrations.




The month of May is synonymous with Mother’s Day. Take advantage of this by promoting Mother’s Day specials. Plan a mom’s pampering event for the Saturday before Mother’s Day. Give added-value services to mothers. Serve complimentary champagne. Make it extra special by wrapping up a few candy kisses in a fancy bag with a pretty ribbon and give one to each mother or give each mother a rose to take home. Make it memorable by making them feel special.

Host a mother and daughter event and offer specials on services for the mother. Treat mothers to a facial, a massage, or any other services you wish to promote. Advertise antiaging treatments with a “Like Mother, Like Daughter” campaign and give a discount on an antiaging treatment for mother when her daughter also books at the same time. Don’t forget to have Mother’s Day themed gift baskets and gift cards ready for last-minute shoppers.

To help get new clients through the door, plan a Mother’s Day tea or wine and cheese event and give a short presentation on one or two key services (think pampering) to those attending. Offer discounts on services booked during the event and give away samples. Hold a drawing for a gift certificate. Collaborate with another local retailer and cross promote products and services. Being part of the local community puts you in the perfect position to network with other business owners. You can exchange promotional materials with hair and nail salons that are looking to cross – market. Just make sure these are establishments your ideal clients would consider a place to visit.

For example, partner with a salon or art gallery. The idea is to create interest to draw in new potential clients by coming up with creative ways to promote your medical spa practice. One way to do so is to plan a promotion around a national holiday such as Mother’s Day, Boss’ Day, National Truffle Day, or some other lesser-known national day. You can find a list of national days online.




The first Saturday in May is National Fitness Day. Think of doing a joint promotion with a local fitness center. Promote body sculpting and fat reduction treatments. In celebration of National Nurse’s Day, recognize these hard working professionals with discounted services. Be sure to offer these specials all month long to allow nurses to take advantage of them.

Tell the community what sets your medical spa practice apart from all the others. Do you specialize in offering ethnic skin care treatments? If so, take advantage of Cinco de Mayo. This provides an excellent opportunity to reach out to Latino clients. Hold educational seminars on skin care specific to darker skin tones. For young, Latina, teenage girls, hold a seminar on acne treatments in preparation for their Quinceanera.


Make your medical spa stand out by doing something extraordinary. Offer a signature treatment that’s over-the-top, such as a 24-karat gold facial or a day of pampering complete with limo service to and from home with complimentary champagne. Send press releases and grow your media list. Get a local media outlet to feature it and watch the reservations come in.

Offer a line of private label products – they help build your brand and keep clients coming back for more. Each time a client enters your practice it is an opportunity to grow your bottom line. Speaking of the bottom line, private label products also provide a healthy profit margin.

Have fun and be creative. Keep your staff engaged and having fun with these promotional events. Customer service is critical to a successful medical spa practice. If your staff isn’t happy and they aren’t engaged, your clients will know it. Be sure to include staff in event and promotional planning. They have great ideas.

“Spa Season” would love hearing about your successes, as well as answering any questions you might have. Please feel free to contact us. Next month, we’ll bring you some ideas for kicking off summer on a profitable note.


Internationally recognized aesthetic business development expert Cheryl Whitman is the founder and CEO of Beautiful Forever Consulting. She is a sought-after speaker and industry marketing specialist. With her seasoned team of professionals at Beautiful Forever, Whitman assists physicians and medical spas in creating new profit centers, developing profitable private label product lines, ghost writing articles and eBooks, and identifying and executing new business strategies aimed at improving their bottom line. A celebrated author, Whitman’s “Aesthetic Medical Success System,” a turnkey educational system, has assisted clients in opening or jumpstarting their current businesses. Her second book, “Beautifully Profitable, Forever Profitable,” provides solid, practical information on how to create, launch, and grow successful aesthetic medical practices and related businesses.

With summer on the horizon, clients are going to start thinking about tanning. It’s time to start promoting the sunless tanners retailed in the spa and educating clients on how to apply them. Every type of product from, lotions, sprays, mousse, gels, and so on all have their own best practices for application, and when followed, will achieve the best possible results.




The first step that should never be skipped is exfoliation. When you remove the dead skin cells from the surface of the skin, the tanning products will gain a more even application and will last longer. The outer layer of the skin is what reacts to the dihydroxyacetone (DHA) and erythrulose, the active ingredients in all self-tanning, spray tanning, and sunless tanning products. Use a water-based product to exfoliate with (any oil-based scrub will leave a barrier on the skin) and the active ingredients will be blocked from producing a tan. Water-based scrubs are not generally found on the shelves of a spa, so it’s great to bring them in as a retail product.

You can usually find a water-based scrub at any tanning salon and many sunless tanning manufacturers also produce them. Remember the golden rule, no product is better than the wrong product. When your client doesn’t have a water-based scrub that they can use, advise them to use a loofah or washcloth. If you are offering an in-spa exfoliation treatment, remember that a water-based product will not have the same glide as an oil-based product, and you will have to use more of it than you normally would to complete the treatment. 

After exfoliation, it’s important to not apply any lotions or body oils to the skin. You want the skin as bare as possible of product. You also want the skin as dry as possible. Any moisture still on the skin or dripping down the body from wet hair, can cause the result to have water or run marks.




Most people fear these products, but they truly are the easiest to apply. You can find a spray or a mist product in a tinted version or a clear version. Start with the tinted until you are a self-proclaimed pro, and then move to the clear. You’ll want to stand firmly on an old towel in your shower. Without moving your feet, apply the mist to your body in a circular pattern, holding the canister a foot away from the skin and keeping it an even distance. It’s important to not move your feet, because as the product falls to the towel, you don’t want to step into it, thus tanning the soles of your feet. You’ll need someone to help you with your back. When doing your face, tilt your head back, so that your neck gets some of the application and just do a quick circle. Your face should always be lighter than the rest of your body. When you are done, stand in your shower to dry. You should be dry within about 30 to 45 seconds; if it takes longer, you’ve either applied too much product or you were too close. Contrary to popular belief, do not dry yourself with a blowdryer. Heat can deactivate the active ingredients, and standing on a damp towel, while running a blowdryer is dangerous. Allow the product to remain on the skin for six to eight hours and then rinse off. 




Until you get comfortable with a lotion or gel, start with a gradual product instead of a full-strength self-tanner. Again, you’ll find both tinted and clear products here, so it’s your preference on what you should use. Carefully and quickly apply to the body in a circular motion, using a small amount of product. When you get to the face, hands, and feet; apply a regular lotion to the skin first, and then apply the self-tanner on top of it. Let the skin dry, this may take 10 to 15 minutes and then allow to develop. With a tinted product, the development will be masked, but with a clear product you’ll slowly start to see the actual development. If you don’t wear a pair of tanning gloves during application, immediately after, take some of the scrub and wash the palms of your hand with it. When you take your first shower after development, wash your hair, the friction will help to remove any excess that is on your hands.




Some tanning mousses are meant for application in the shower and others are meant to be applied to dry skin. If they are meant for dry skin application, follow the same instructions for the lotion and gels. If they are meant to be applied in the shower, read the directions carefully. Some products will want the skin wet and some will not. Remember to scrub your hands after application, as many of these products are quick developers and hands will show some instant staining from the in-active ingredients.

To ensure your tan looks its best, keep skin hydrated with lotion (no oils), and avoid exfoliation until it’s time for your next application. After about six weeks of continually applying tanning products, you may experience some build-up, make sure to exfoliate completely and let the skin take a break for a few days before starting fresh.


Lastly, always remember that less is more. You can always apply more self-tanner, but you can’t take it off.




Kelly Richardson has over 13 years of experience educating the beauty, spa, and skin care industries on marketing, sunless tanning, and business topics. She is the president of VENONE, a communications and marketing company that supports beauty and skin care brands and businesses.

A large and active social media audience is important to almost every business. As a brick and mortar company, focusing your social media efforts on a local level is vital. No matter where a social media follower is located, an account is typically happy to have gained a new audience member. In terms of revenue generation, a distant follower of a local business is unlikely to contribute to the bottom line, but it is expected that a local business account will have a mixture of local and distant followers. The strategy of the business should focus on catering to the company’s ideal client. One element of a successful local strategy is creating partnerships with surrounding businesses. Developing partnerships between businesses can create added value for customers. In addition, connecting with non-competing businesses that target the same clientele in the area can help both co-sponsors reach potential clients that they have been missing.




Hosting events with nearby companies is a great way to spread awareness of your products or services while creating relationships with your community. Events allow for more mingling between consumers and companies. Attendees will get a preview of what value and benefits you offer, as well as a closer look at your brand personality. These events create a space where the audience can interact with employees and view a representation of your products or services in a no pressure setting. Inviting your loyal clients to these events encourages them to spread the word about their experiences with you to potential new clients. Do your due diligence when selecting a business to partner with. You’ll want to work with a company that has a great relationship with their clients and the community. Your brand will be aligning with theirs and should have some symmetry. Consider the company’s mission to ensure you don’t have opposite messaging.




Co-sponsoring digital contests is another effective way to leverage relationships with local businesses to grow your social media audience. Selecting your partner or co-sponsor is just as important, if not more, than choosing your giveaway. A good choice for a partner is someone who has a following that consists of your target audience. Ask yourself what your top clients have in common, then look for those traits in the audience of your potential partner. It’s also recommended to limit the number of businesses participating in the promotion. Typically, the more partners involved, the more work required for followers to enter. Giveaways are attractive to participants because they provide a large potential value with little investment to enter. Set the intentions of your contest first and make certain that your entry requirements reflect that goal. For example, if growing your e-mail list is a priority, skip the follow request for this promotion and just require applicants to direct message their e-mail address. A thoughtfully crafted giveaway or contest can create results quickly for both partners.




Word of mouth is still a very powerful tool for businesses. People trust friends, family, and even stranger’s reviews and recommendations. Fostering a relationship with a local company that has high traffic can be worthwhile. Displaying an advertisement at the counter of a popular coffee shop with an exclusive discount is an affordable way to be seen by your community. It can also get people talking about your business with other people. Your partner also benefits by being able to provide a free perk, like an exclusive discount to their customers. This helps build their relationship with their clients while not having to make an investment or be inconvenienced. Brainstorm win-win situations where all parties involved have a positive outcome.


In this digital age, social media platforms have business owners and marketers convinced that a massive social media following is crucial. For some companies, this may be true. For most, it is more important that a potential or active client is following you than someone who will most likely never be in a place to purchase your goods or services. Developing partnerships within your operating region is a successful way to reach potential clients. There are several ways to connect with nearby business owners, including attending networking groups, joining the Chamber of Commerce, reaching out online, or visiting their business. Once connected, let people know your businesses support each other. Dedicate a small section to your new partner in your newsletter or in a social media post. Then, get creative and explore different promotional opportunities to find what works for both sponsors. Remember, a successful marketing plan includes a mixture of methods for reaching the target audience.



Kelly Conlan is the marketing and communications director for DermaMed Solutions, an administrator for the Esthetician Connection, and a freelance marketing and social media consultant. Conlan discovered her enthusiasm for skin care over 12 years ago and found a home in the aesthetic industry. She holds a Bachelor of Science in business, with a focus on marketing and management, from Penn State and has expertise in generating content and strategic marketing plans to increase brand awareness for aesthetic manufactures, as well as spas, medical spas, and plastic surgery practices. In recent years, Conlan has found a new passion in the healing powers of CBD and hemp-based cannabinoids. Research and education are top priorities for Conlan as she continues her in-depth exploration of the developing uses and benefits for CBD.

It is not just great DNA that is responsible for great skin. It takes work, care, and commitment to maintain a healthy and vibrant skin tone and texture. Stress, hormonal influences, poor diet, a lack of water and sleep, unprotected sun exposure, and pollution all play a negative role in how the skin functions and how it looks and feels. The daily routine adopted and the quality and the application of the chosen skin care regimen will heavily influence the health of skin and its general appearance.

The skin care industry is an overwhelming arena. A sound understanding of active ingredients and their benefits and the difference between a cosmetic and cosmeceutical-grade product is imperative when choosing the right product for the right skin concern.




Understanding the skin type is the most important element in adopting the most appropriate and effective skin care. However, skin can change over time and with the seasons, so paying attention to signs the skin displays really helps. A minimalist wash-and-go regimen comprising of cleansing, moisturizing, and protecting is all a client needs for healthy, radiant skin.

Using products with inappropriate ingredients compromises the skin’s natural balance, triggering irritation, inflammation, breakouts, and even premature aging. Sebum is the skin’s natural defense against bacterial invasion, so constantly removing sebum disrupts the skin barrier, allowing invasion of bacteria and microorganisms. Constant stripping increases sebum production as the skin’s natural mechanism for moisturizing. Choosing the right cleanser helps to increase the health of the skin and is not merely for removing makeup.

The daily use of a quality moisturizer is key. The most basic function of a moisturizer is to hydrate and soften the skin, reduce transepidermal water loss (TEWL), and maintain the integrity of the barrier function. Choosing lightweight moisturizers in the morning with active antioxidants such as vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide (vitamin B3) will protect and support locking moisture into the skin. A rich textured cream with active ingredients, such as vitamin A, in the evening will ensure 24-hour support and protection. Additional support in the shape of peptides, ceramides, and alpha hydroxy acids will complete a skin care regimen.




While daily skin care is important in maintaining skin integrity and health, a very cost effective, safe, and minimally invasive way to get the most out of a skin care regimen is to incorporate the use of light emitting diode (LED) therapy into a weekly skin pamper. Using LED has clinically proven benefits for skin rejuvenation, managing acne breakouts, controlling sebum production, and reducing inflammatory processes due to pollution or a damaged barrier. It has also proven to have a degree of photo-protection prior to sun exposure.

This is a perfect opportunity to recharge the skin, as well as recharge the body. Luxuriate with a gentle but effective exfoliating cleanser to remove all makeup and pollution buildup on the skin. If desired, the use of a toner packed with active ingredients to deliver an extra shot of nutrients to the skin will be beneficial. The exfoliating properties, removing dead skin cells, will support the even penetration of the wavelengths. Once the skin is clean, dry, and free from invisible barriers, the use of an LED device for at least 30 minutes will give the skin an extra boost and provide a perfect base for the application of moisturizers packed with active ingredients.

The use of red LED is highly effective in increasing collagen production by stimulating fibroblast growth factors and decreasing matrix metallo-proteinase –(MMP-1). The increase in intracellular adenosine triphosphate, pro collagen and collagen synthesis, and blood flow dramatically reduces fine lines and wrinkles. Post-LED, applying a quality moisturizer containing high and low molecular weight hyaluronic acid can dramatically increase hydration at a cellular level. Use of LED 24 hours prior to sun exposure generates a strong cellular defense against solar toxicity.

For acne-prone skin, the use of blue LED or combined red and blue is effective for not only killing p.acnes bacteria, but also helping to decrease androgenic hormones in the sebaceous glands, thus regulating and normalizing sebum production. The deeper penetration of red light helps to reduce inflammation and subsequent scarring.


It is vital that skin product choices actually look after the health of the skin. A minimalist, simple regimen incorporating the use of LED into a weekly program will super charge skin cells. This dramatically reduces the signs of aging, increases the health and vitality of the skin, and is a low cost, effective way to increase the benefits of your preferred skin care products.



Pam Cushing is a registered nurse with over 35 years of experience in emergency medicine. She has worked in the field of aesthetics for over 15 years, full-time for the last five years. Cushing holds a degree at the master’s level, with commendation, as well as a post-graduate diploma in aesthetic medicine, with merit. She is an independent nurse prescriber in the United Kingdom. Cushing is a consultant educator for a couple of companies educating in injectables, skin resurfacing and chemical peel, microneedling, and LED. She thrives on being able to educate, motivate, and encourage others to grow and develop professionally. She is passionate about skin and the benefits of aesthetics in improving the confidence and quality of lives. Cushing believes our key role is to educate the client on appropriate treatment modalities with the focus on maintaining skin health.

We have revered cleanliness as the highest form of self-respect since ancient times. Keeping your treatment room and trolley clean are among the best and easiest ways to show respect for clients and yourself. Familiarizing the basics is necessary for a an effortlessly functioning treatment room. In addition, utilizing a sanitary maintenance area will reduce trolley cleaning time. Organization will aid in the reduction of time spent cleaning for your entire facial area. Not only will keeping your area clean help you save time, but it will also improve your infection control techniques.

Keeping your treatment room and area clean has countless benefits. Among those are smoother processes, enhanced infection control, and ease of mind for the client. Knowing cleaning basics is of paramount importance. Cleaning as you go will reduce post-appointment servicing. If you have any drops or spills, quickly clean them with an absorbent material to prevent slips or sticky floors. Dispose of consumables immediately after use with a conveniently placed waste receptacle next to your table or bed. Clean dishes with processing time during a service, if it allows. Additionally, it is recommended to have a used-linens receptacle close to the treatment area that could be separate from the larger receptacle. Stay on track with cleaning and don’t skip any steps that may increase cleaning time at the end of the day, such as removing the trash and linens from their respective receptacles. This will make for an easier time of transition between clients. These cleaning basics will help you stay on time for appointments, keep your head clear and focused, and instill a sense of pride in your space.

Giving yourself the opportunity to be successful during a treatment is never a bad idea. A sanitary maintenance area will help keep your products and consumables organized and easily within reach. These organization tools are typically an area of your workspace that houses your consumables, like sponges, cotton items, and applicators, to prevent them from being cross-contaminated. Often, these are state regulated and required. They are often utilized for a couple of things: to keep all disposable items in one distinct area, to aid in service enhancement by allowing ample space for items to be organized and set up, and to offer assistance in a quick clean up. You can create one by using a towel, either reusable or single-use, a dental bib or other medical covering, or treatment table paper. You then place your disposable items on top and cover with your preferred method, like a paper towel or tissue. Utilizing this method of cleanliness, you will keep your area clean and organized.

Having a process for organization has enumerate benefits. Writing it down and practicing it every day will keep your transition times down and will help you stay focused on the task at hand. Everything should have a place according to your state’s regulations. Mainly linens, consumable materials, and multi-use materials are required to be in certain components so as to prevent cross-contamination and maintain their disinfected state. However, customization is key to sticking to your organization procedure. Make it your own and have fun with it. Labeling these areas is not only a way to save space and time but will also make quick work when searching for everyday items. Be sure to restock these items often, preferably daily, to help you stay on top of a cleaning cycle and also to keep your room in pristine condition. These organizational routines can provide you with unique opportunities for success by keeping your mind and those of your clients at ease.

Cleaning is a necessary aspect of our everyday lives – especially for allied health professionals like aestheticians. By knowing and understanding the basics of cleaning, you can clean as you go and make an easier time for those deep cleaning days that require a more vigorous effort. Keeping organized will undoubtedly aid in the cleanliness of your treatment room day after day. Knowing where each item resides is a remarkably easy way to set up for any treatment. Plus, using a sanitary maintenance area can help keep your trolley clean and organized, as well. So, take your time, organize your area, and clean as you go. These are not only time saving techniques but are also crucial to infection control for you and your clients.





Brittany Facio is a Phoenix-based educator-turned-business development manager, passionate about how proper aesthetics education and sophisticated protocol implementation can create business-changing revenue. As a business development manager, she is responsible for not only educating her clients on skin care products and protocols, both on an individual basis and in regional training seminars, but also for providing marketing, merchandising, and branding assistance to generate leads and capture a new audience. When she is not working, Facio can be found enjoying play time with her family and Havanese rescue, Spruce, trying a new dinner recipe, and binge-watching comedies on Netflix.

Mind, body, and soul – are these three separate entities or all parts of one being? Can we separate the different parts that make up a human being, treat only one part, and expect a holistic “fix,” peace, or good self care?  I don’t think so. If you are like me, you probably said a resounding no, as well.  But, what if we do a really great job on self care for the body?  Would we be good to go?  Or, do we also need to add in self care for the mind and soul?  Science, anecdotal reports, and experience all show that we need to pay attention, focus on, and care for each individual part if we want the best outcome for our life. Here are some fun and easy self care tips to try.




Exercise: It doesn’t matter what you do, just find something that you enjoy – it will help you stay with it.  And, you don’t need to spend a lot of money or a lot of time.  On a budget, you can go for a walk, a jog, ride a bike, play tennis or pickleball, basketball, throw a baseball, or dance to your favorite song.  If you want to and are able, join a gym and add in some strength training (good for muscles and bones), spinning or cycling, Zumba, or yoga. Again, just find something that you enjoy and schedule it in every day.

Massage: After you exercise, a helpful treat would be to gift yourself regular a massage at least once a month (or more). Massage increases blood flow, oxygen, and healing and relaxes sore muscles. It decreases stress, which can help strengthen the immune system, detoxifies the body, and helps improve sleep. And it feels great, too.

Facials: First, I know you already know the benefits of caring for our largest organ, the skin, but I also know that most of you are not practicing what you preach by having regular facials or body treatments. I ask for a raise of hands in each class for those that get regular facials and, usually, only one or two out of 10 are getting them once a month. It is a super important part of self care for the body and needs to be done once a month professionally and then maintained daily. The benefits of facials include clean, healthy, soft, and comfortable skin and facial massage can destress and promote better blood circulation, giving you healthy, glowing skin that will make you feel beautiful and increase self confidence. Facial massage also destresses by activating the sympathetic nervous system, which also reduces wrinkles. And, again, it feels great.

Infrared Sauna: This is a wonderful way to detoxify the body, relax muscle pain, aid weight loss, increase metabolism, and boost the immune system. 




Meditation: Simply giving your brain a break by calming your mind, every day will (once again) help decrease stress while increasing creativity and memory. It will take practice, so be gentle with yourself.  Just start with small increments of time and work your way up to 30 minutes a day.

Read: Reading each day helps boost your mind health, keeping it active and young, while also learning some new things along the way.

Unplug: Turn off or walk away from all technology for one day. Does that scare you?  Try it and find out the benefits.




Gratitude and Prayers of Thankfulness: First, make a journal or a list and write down all the things that you have to be grateful for. Then, make it a practice to give to many and expect nothing in return and see what happens. Saying prayers each morning for your intentions each day will guide your steps and help your soul find what it was created to do in this world. 

Joy: What do you do each day that brings you joy? If you can come up with something easily, then you are probably taking good care of your soul already. If you can’t, take a minute and think about what it is that makes you smile. Is it being with a certain person, your fur baby, having a forbidden food (like a fudge ice cream sundae, chocolate, or a glass of wine).  It will be different for each of us, so look within and, when you find it, do it every day.


You are on the way to some great self care habits, so keep it up.  


Becky Kuehn is founder of Oncology Spa Solutions, author of Life Changing Esthetics, and a licensed master aesthetician, cosmetologist, holistic cancer educator, and hope coach. Her journey started at the age of 18 when she was diagnosed with cancer. She had already lost friends and family members to cancer, so she was very familiar with the chaos and trauma associated with diagnosis and loss. As a cancer survivor for over three decades, she has made it her mission to discover and develop ways to turn around the devastating side effects of cancer treatments and return quality of life to those in need. Kuehn is the founder and owner of Oncology Spa Solutions, now the leading oncology training for spa, salon, and medical professionals. She is the author of “Life Changing Esthetics,” and a contributing author in the “Estheticians Guide to Outstanding Esthetics” Vol I and II. She has been part of the expert judge panel for The Skin Games’ Holistic, Compassionate, and Compromised skin categories. And, she provides advice and education articles for newspapers and leading industry magazines and is an invited speaker for oncology training at conventions.

Vitiligo Featured

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Did you ever wonder why Michael Jackson started to wear a white glove? While it may have been the beginning of a fashion trend, it was most likely an ingenious way to conceal a skin disorder – vitiligo.

Arnold Klein, MD, Michael Jackson’s dermatologist, observed in 1983 that Jackson had vitiligo. Initially, to treat his condition, Jackson used a light tone of makeup and skin-bleaching prescription creams to cover up or blend the uneven blotches of color caused by his disorder. Sadly, autopsy results stated that Jackson had tattooed lips and a dark tattoo along part of his scalp area most likely to blend his hairline with the wigs that he wore.

This month, we will discuss this skin and hair disorder that affects one to two percent of the world’s population. In the United States alone, 3 million cases are reported each year.




Vitiligo (vit-ih-LIE-go) is a skin pigmentation disease that causes the blotchy loss of color and sensitivity to sunlight. Any part of the body, hair, and even the skin inside the mouth can be affected. Determining how much color an individual will lose or how rapidly the condition will progress is impossible. It is common for discoloration to initially present on sun-exposed areas of the body. Typically, vitiligo appears before the age of 20 and it can last several years or be a lifelong ailment.

Vitiligo can affect all ethnicities but is more noticeable on darker skin tones. An individual with this condition often experiences stress, self-consciousness, depression, and shame due to their appearance and, usually, the individuals’ mental state affects their daily activities.

Skin color is obtained due to the content of melanin granules created and distributed by the melanocyte cell. These cells are located in the stratum germanitivum (stratum basale – the bottom layer) of the epidermis. Vitiligo destroys the melanocyte cells, preventing the distribution of color.



Types of Vitiligo

Generalized vitiligo is the most common form, with multiple patches appearing symmetrically on the body.

Segmental vitiligo appears at a younger age, usually on only one side of the body, progresses for a year or two, then stops.

Localized (focal) vitiligo appears typically on only one area of the body.




Vitiligo occurs when melanocytes experience apoptosis (cellular death) or stop producing melanin. Skin in the affected areas become lighter or even white.

Vitiligo may occur due to the following factors:

  • a disorder where the immune system attacks and destroys the melanocytes in the skin
  • family history (heredity)
  • catalysts including sunburn, stress, or exposure to industrial chemicals



  • Loss of skin color in blotches
  • Premature whitening or graying of the scalp, eyelashes, eyebrows, or beard
  • Loss of tissue color in the inside of the mouth and nose (mucous membranes)
  • Loss of or change in the color of the retina




To diagnose vitiligo, a physician must examine the patient and review their medical history to rule out other conditions, including dermatitis or even psoriasis, which can leave areas of hypopigmentation. An ultraviolet light such as a Woods lamp can also be used as part of the examination.

In addition to the review of medical history and skin examination, the doctor may:

  • take a skin biopsy of an affected area
  • run blood tests to look for autoimmune diseases




Currently, there is no cure for vitiligo; however, many treatments are available that can restore pigment to affected areas but will not stop color loss from occurring in other areas. Results will vary and are not predictable, with the possibility of unwanted side effects. Some treatment plans take months before you can determine effectiveness, and the client may have to try several different options before the correct regimen is found. Unfortunately, even with a successful regimen in place, the results may not always last.

Medications: Some drugs, used alone or with light therapy, can help restore some skin tone.

Anti-inflammatory – Corticosteroid creams: Applying hydrocortisone may help color return, especially if started early in the disease; be patient, as results can take months.

  • over-the-counter hydrocortisone is easy and effective; however, prolonged use can thin the skin.
  • over-the-counter hydrocortisone at 1% is maximum strength. It can be purchased at 0.5% for use on children or to treat large areas of discoloration.
  • prescription corticosteroids include betamethasone valerate, clobetasol, and propionate.


Calcineurin Inhibitors: Calcineurin is an enzyme that activates the t-cells (t-lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell) of the immune system. Tacrolimus or pimecrolimus ointments may be effective for people with small areas of depigmentation, especially on the face and neck.

  • calcineurin inhibitors have fewer side effects than corticosteroids and can be combined with UVB light.
  • the FDA has issued a warning about a possible link between calcineurin inhibitors and lymphoma and skin cancer.




Combining Psoralen and Light Therapy: Psoralen, a substance derived from plants, taken orally or applied to an affected area and coupled with photochemotherapy (light therapy – UVA, UVB, or excimer) can return color to patches of vitiligo. Combined approaches have shown to produce better results than individual methods. However, several treatments are required each week and treatment may take up to a year.

Depigmentation (skin bleaching): Bleaching agents may be considered when a large part of the body has lost color and when other options have failed. A bleaching agent like hydroquinone or benquin is applied to unaffected areas of skin to gradually lighten the skin, enabling it to blend with the area of hypopigmentation. Treatment can take up to nine months or more, with results being permanent.

Side effects include redness, swelling, itching, dry skin, and photosensitivity.




If light therapy is unsuccessful, the physician may consider surgery as an option or surgery in combination with light therapy to even out skin tone by restoring color.

Skin Grafting: The physician removes small sections of pigmented skin, then attaches them to areas of hypopigmentation. This option is typically used when there are only small patches of color loss. Areas of concern include potential infection, scarring, and uneven skin tone.

Suction Blister Epidermal Grafting (SBEG): Although it almost sounds barbaric, don’t judge unless you have vitiligo. The physician creates blisters on sections of skin that still have color with a suction instrument. Next, the tops of the blisters are removed and transplanted to an area of discolored skin. Pitfalls for this option include discomfort, due to the heat required to form a blister, the potential to scar, uneven appearance of skin that does repigment, or failure to obtain any results.

Micropigmentation (Tattoo): A colored pigment is implanted into the skin. This is a good option to blend color around the lips in darker complexions. However, when attempting to match the skin tone, there is always the potential to trigger another patch of vitiligo.




Afamelanotide: A melanocyte – growth-stimulating peptide drug implanted under the skin. It mimics the activity of the melanocyte-stimulating hormone in the melanogenesis cycle leading to the production of eumelanin.





Prostaglandin E2: A gel-based medication that helps control melanocytes is being tested to restore pigment on localized vitiligo that isn’t progressing.

Tofacitinib: An oral medication typically used to treat rheumatoid arthritis has shown some potential because it reverses the loss of pigmentation.


Lifestyle and Home Remedies to Live By:

  • When outdoors, try to stay out of direct sunlight in shaded areas and wear clothing with ultraviolet protection.
  • Never use a tanning bed.
  • Protect from ultraviolet rays by wearing sunscreen that is broad-spectrum and water-resistant. Don’t forget to reapply sunscreen every two hours or after any activity inducing perspiration.
  • Use a camouflage concealer if your appearance bothers you.
  • Avoid tattoos except those used by a doctor for treatment, as inflicting damage to the skin can induce a new area of vitiligo.




New studies show the potential for restoring skin color with the following: ginkgo biloba, alpha-lipoic acid, folic acid, vitamin C, and vitamin B12 plus phototherapy. As always, never try new products or remedies before discussing them with a doctor.


Vitiligo presents many challenges for the client. Aestheticians can provide empathy to individuals struggling with this condition and deliver superior treatments to relax and renew their clients’ mind, body, and soul and restore their self-esteem.



Brenda Linday, L.E., L.E.I., C.A.C., Linday Aesthetic Consulting, is a licensed aesthetician, licensed aesthetic instructor, and certified aesthetic consultant with over 15 years of experience in the medical aesthetic industry. Linday serves as a consultant for medical and aesthetic companies desiring to build strong sales and education teams. She develops clinical and sales education content and trains sales and educational teams, clinicians, physicians, and distributors around the world. Linday is also a featured author in many industry publications. Her passion is sharing her wealth of knowledge with other like-minded professionals who believe that education is the key to building lasting relationships with clients, making each clinician more successful by increasing client satisfaction. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or @lindayconsult

When planning story angles with clients, there are times I will comment that a certain angle would be great for television or that a specific product could be in a magazine’s beauty round-up. With many communications platforms to choose from, pitch angles are not one-size-fits-all. It takes creativity, connections, and experience to know where and how to pitch stories.

This article is the second in a two-part series about choosing a communications platform to best tell your story. In March, I explored the vast world of deciding which social platforms are right for your business. This month, I’ll help you understand which types of media outlets or channels to pitch and why.

Before getting into those specifics, I urge you to do your homework. Read, watch, and listen to the media outlets you pitch. By doing so, you can determine if your brand is a fit based on the topics that are covered and the demographics of the readers, viewers, and listeners. For successful pitching, the deliverables of your brand should correlate with the coverage of the media outlet. For example, if you are a skin care brand that’s carried in spas, industry trade outlets, such as DERMASCOPE, should be on your pitch list. If you own a day spa or skin care center, local media outlets are where you should focus to reach potential clients. If your beauty business is online, there are scores of websites and bloggers to build relationships with.




This is a larger discussion that I’ll write about later this year. Meanwhile, a few tips:

  • Subscription services including Cision and Muck Rack keep track of journalists, where they work, what they write about, and so on.
  • Online articles often link to the writer’s contact or social presence.
  • Search for stories that are in your niche of spa, skin care, beauty, and wellness. When you find those stories, note the writers and follow them on social media. Share and comment on their posts and stories. After building a rapport, it is acceptable to ask how they prefer to receive pitches.
  • Hire a PR firm – more on that process in an article later this year.




Every major network has a local affiliate in towns or cities that are of significant size. There are 210 Designated Market Areas (DMAs) listed by Nielsen; New York is number one and number two hundred and ten is Glendive, Montana.



Television is a great lead generation tool. The segment is almost always posted on the station’s website, which you can use for social media, newsletters, and so forth. The segment may air more than once, such as in a morning show and an evening show.

The exposure is large and free, unless you pay to be on a news talk or entertainment show, which is called pay-for-play.

Local stations need local stories. Local television stations dedicated an average of 5.9 hours to news programming per weekday in 2018, up slightly from 5.6 hours in 2017.1

Immediate delivery of your message is another pro. Depending on the timeliness of your story, you could go on the same day that you pitch. If news breaks locally and you have something compelling that is a tie-in, offer your expertise.

Television is great for the spa and beauty industries, as it stimulates the senses. Skin care demonstrations, before and after images, and a b-roll of your facility or products make segments visual and are often required by producers.

Television has a local and regional emphasis. It’s a fantastic medium for reaching people in your market, getting your name out in the community, and establishing credibility.



Television requires a lot of preparation work. At least a basic level of media training is suggested before going on-camera. There’s also the process of selecting clothing, makeup, and hair, and figuring out how to sit or stand, and so on.

You must look and sound your best. If you are live, there are no do-overs. If you are taped and are very nice to the crew, you may be able to reshoot if you say something incorrectly.

Again, television bookings happen quickly. When pitching television, you need to be ready (in town, prepared, have the appropriate clothing, and such.)

Doing in-studio television interviews can be challenging because of the commotion – the lights, the cameras, the microphone, and the teleprompter, and all the while, you need to stay focused and look at the host.




At work, in the car, while making dinner – radio has the broadest reach of any medium. Nielsen reports 227 million adults tune to AM or FM radio each week.2 News and talk radio continues to capture the largest share of the audience, followed by adult contemporary, with country coming in third.3

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention podcasts in this section. 2019 was a breakout year for podcasting. According to Edison Research, more than half of Americans have listened to a podcast, and an estimated 32% listen monthly. Podcast creation also continues to grow, with more than 700,000 podcasts available.4



  • You can do radio interviews at home and even in your pajamas.
  • Like television, radio is instantaneous.
  • Radio hosts frequently welcome back guests they like.
  • Radio stations sometimes offer live remotes. These can help your campaign if you’re sponsoring a major event or opening a big business in a small community.
  • Local and regional audiences.



  • If a taped news item about you is inaccurate, it’s tough to correct on radio.
  • Radio interviews require short answers. Practice talking in chunks.
  • If your voice is quiet, creaky, or hard to understand, you might not be invited on the air. Radio hosts or producers figure this out by doing a pre-interview by phone.




The estimated total United States daily newspaper circulation (print and digital combined) in 2018 was 28.6 million for weekday and 30.8 million for Sunday.5 The Pew Research Center also reports that among those who get local news from daily newspapers 43% primarily access online, while 54% read in a print format.6 There are more than 1,300 daily newspapers currently in circulation in the United States. “USA Today”, “The New York Times”, and “The Wall Street Journal” have the highest circulations.



  • Newspaper stories rank high for believability, especially with an older audience.
  • Local and regional audiences.
  • Immediate delivery of your message online and daily in print.
  • Special targeted sections and shopping guides.
  • Very high Sunday readership, which is great for feature stories. Health, beauty, and wellness lend themselves well to features in the special sections, such as lifestyle, or in the weekend magazines.


Take advantage of newspaper editorial calendars, as they can help you determine where your story might be the best fit.

Community news calendars are also useful. Submit informational and fundraising events that are open to the public.

Send photo recaps. After a successful event, share a couple of high resolution images with a short paragraph and photo caption.



  • Circulation has gone down, and continues to do so, at major daily newspapers.
  • Many people under 40 don’t read print newspapers; however, they may check out a newspaper store online.
  • Lead times for various types of print media can be confusing. A daily newspaper might need only a day’s notice for a news story; however, feature coverage is planned at least a month in advance.
  • Errors appear in print forever. You can ask for a correction or write a letter to the editor, but it may run weeks later, or not at all. Corrections can be made to newspaper stories that are online.




There were 7, 218 magazines in the United States in 2018. Of course, magazines are now available in both printed and electronic formats. Some of the most popular publications in the United States based on their total reach include “ESPN The Magazine”, “People”, and “AARP The Magazine”.7



  • Long shelf life with high pass-along readership. Magazines in doctor’s offices, airplanes, salons, spas, skin care centers, and so on are read from customer to customer.
  • High reader loyalty, especially with niche publications. Special-interest magazines let you target your message to their loyal readers. Trade publications are an example of niche magazines.
  • Local and regional editions offer a targeted audience.
  • As with newspapers, take advantage of editorial calendars.



  • Apart from weeklies, there are long lead times. Editors at the national magazine you love might need pitches six months before the issue is printed. And, it’s Christmas in July for pitching holiday stories.
  • Heavy advertising clutter can detract from your story.
  • Poor local coverage unless it’s a local or regional publication.
  • As with newspapers, errors appear in print forever.




More than 4 billion people use the internet. Google is the world’s most visited website, YouTube comes in at number two, and Facebook rounds out the top three. Yahoo! News, the Huffington Post, and CNN.com are also popular.8



  • Fast and convenient. Your message can go out the same day.
  • Search based.
  • Web space is unlimited.
  • Reader feedback and opinions can be posted, which gives the opportunity to reply to questions such as, “What’s in your eye cream?”
  • Simple to share.
  • Errors can be fixed quickly.
  • Local, regional, and national opportunities.
  • If your content is of interest to a broad audience, consider pitching to large web platforms including Elephant Journal, MindBodyGreen, and the Huffington Post.



  • Can become a platform for negativity and false content.
  • Stories publish quickly, leaving room for error. There is less time to research and less time to see how a news event plays out.
  • Linking is great, but it often keeps the reader from finishing the article.
  • With a developing story, it can be tough for the reader to tell which version is newest.
  • Not accessible in some parts of the world.


Once you or your business have been covered by a few media outlets, more opportunities will open up, which will bring greater visibility and build credibility.



  1. “2019 Research: Local TV and Radio News Strengths.” RTDNA. Accessed March 12, 2020. https://www.rtdna.org/article/2019_research_local_tv_and_radio_news_strengths.


  1. McCurdy, Bob, Bob McCurdyBob McCurdy, Bob McCurdy, Bob McCurdy, Beasley Media Group, and Beasley Media Group. “2018 By The Numbers.” Radio Ink, January 2, 2019. https://radioink.com/2019/01/02/2018-by-the-numbers/.


  1. “Tops of 2018: Radio.” Nielsen, October 12, 2018. https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/article/2018/tops-of-2018-radio/.


  1. Moore, Justine, and Olivia Moore. “After a Breakout Year, Looking Ahead to the Future of Podcasting.” TechCrunch. TechCrunch, August 21, 2019. https://techcrunch.com/2019/08/21/after-a-breakout-year-looking-ahead-to-the-future-of-podcasting/.


  1. “Trends and Facts on Newspapers: State of the News Media.” Pew Research Centers Journalism Project, July 9, 2019. https://www.journalism.org/fact-sheet/newspapers/.


  1. “Americans Almost Equally Prefer to Get Local News Online or on TV Set.” Pew Research Center's Journalism Project, December 31, 2019. https://www.journalism.org/2019/03/26/nearly-as-many-americans-prefer-to-get-their-local-news-online-as-prefer-the-tv-set/.


  1. Watson, Amy. “Number of Magazines in the United States 2002-2018.” Statista, August 13, 2019. https://www.statista.com/statistics/238589/number-of-magazines-in-the-united-states/.


  1. Dubras, Ryan, Rosie Pond, and Gareth Leeding. “Digital 2019: Global Internet Use Accelerates.” We Are Social, January 30, 2019. https://wearesocial.com/blog/2019/01/digital-2019-global-internet-use-accelerates.




Respected for her communication skills and media relationships, Debra Locker has worked in public relations and journalism for nearly three decades. She is the president of Debra Locker Group (originally Locker Public Relations), which was founded in 2008. Debra Locker Group is an award-winning boutique agency that specializes in lifestyle, spa, wellness, and beauty. Clients are featured on “The TODAY Show,” “The Doctors,” in SHAPE, Marie Claire, and The New York Times – to name only a few. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Locker was the public relations director for the International SPA Association.

The key to a lucrative career in aesthetics is developing excellent waxing skills and that requires educating yourself on how to properly wax skin of color. Each ethnicity has specific considerations when applying wax and removing hair.




Asian skin tends to be sensitive. An Asian client needs to abstain from any harsh skin care products to the area being waxed in order to prevent extra irritation that can result from the wax removing any stratum corneum. Asian hair is also typically straight and thick – recommend that your client dry brush the area being treated to reduce ingrown hairs returning after waxing.




Skin of African descent has curved hair follicles and the resulting curly hair tends to grow back into the skin. If clients with curly hair of any ethnicity are going to shave between treatments, you should recommend they use a single blade razor. Double or triple blades can pull the hair and cut it off beneath the follicle as it snaps back into the follicle, creating even more ingrown hairs. Exfoliating the area with an enzyme to keep the buildup of dead skin cells to a minimum and then moisturizing can help reduce post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation due to the trauma of hair being pulled from their follicles.




Latinx clients will usually have thicker hair follicles and denser hair, meaning more hairs per square inch. Waxing is a great solution, since the hair will grow back finer over time. Recommend your client use an at-home sugar scrub to keep the area exfoliated between treatments.




Because East-Indian women can experience paradoxical hair growth with laser hair removal, waxing may be an alternative temporary hair removal measure, in addition to dermaplaning.


Hard wax is the best choice because it can be applied to areas where the hair is growing in multiple directions. You’ll have less risk of skin lifting and causing an injury or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

Remember that waxing can open the follicle and create a pathway for infection or inflammation from bacteria. Your waxing technique must include a thorough sanitation protocol, disinfecting the area pre-and post-treatment. Don’t use strong fragrances that can lead to unnecessary irritation. Use post-treatment skin care ingredients that are calming and soothing and remind your client that sunscreen is essential.

If waxing is your specialty, understanding the unique characteristics of skin of color will help boost your skillset and bottom line as your client base grows.





A technician, educator, mentor and business owner, Mary Nielsen has been at the forefront in medical aesthetics since its infancy in the early 1990s. She is currently vice chair and industry expert on the Oregon Board of Certified Advanced Estheticians. She is the author of “Fearless Beauties,” the book, along with other aesthetic texts. She is the executive director of an aesthetic school, the founder of Fearless Beauties, and the creator of Cascade Aesthetic Alliance and Skintelligent Resources.


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