We’re now in an era where, more than ever before, we’re hearing phrases like “provider and staff burnout,” “I’m just too busy for that,” and “self-care.” From yoga studios to juice bars, everywhere we turn, businesses are riding the #selfcare train to cash in on the need for busy people to slow down.

While there may be some merit to it, let’s take a look at eight simple ways to avoid provider burnout in your office.




Make sure you’re driving your to-do list and your list isn’t driving you. Compile your to-do list each morning (or the night before) with your top priorities and review, proactively, what needs to get done that day, that week, that month, and that quarter.




Take a hard look at what you, as the provider, need to be focused on, and the answer is easy: treating patients and clients. When it comes to insurance-related billing, that can be outsourced to a strong billing company. The same goes for managing your website – that’s best handled by a digital marketing firm. But, when it comes to verifying insurance claims, posting on social media, and serving as a patient care coordinator, that can be done by trusted, well-trained members of your team. Which brings us to tip three.




This should be a trustworthy team you’re able to delegate to, a team who works well together without you having to play referee on a daily basis. If you find that you don’t have this, look at why. Are you understaffed? Hire! Is your office drama-filled? Fire the drama queens before they infect the positive treasures. Your team is your backbone, and you’ll be surprised at how smoothly things run once you have a strong team in place. Removing negativity is key, as your office is no place for eye-rolling, yelling, tardiness, or disrespect.




For example, you’re more likely to have a strong, less-burned-out team when everyone feels they are treated with respect. Speak to each other with respect and respect each other’s capacities and schedules. This means no texting at midnight for something that can wait until the next day. In addition, offer fair benefits when you can and consider what your team values. Some may say health insurance and a retirement program, while others would rather have more paid time off. In addition, others may value in-office meditation, workplace wellness programs, or mindfulness coaching. Different offices have different mindsets, so dig deep into what works for you. Studies have shown that a happier team and happier providers lead to improved mental health, reduced stress levels, and strong physical health, which decreases absenteeism in the workplace.




We’re in a technology driven world where e-mail rules, text messages never stop blowing up, and social media is checked compulsively. But, even as a provider, you need time to unwind, so review what that looks like. Create a plan for who – when you’re away (either from your office, phone, or town on vacation) – will cover staff issues, respond to client e-mails, and handle those other annoying (yet vital) issues, like false alarms from the alarm company, for instance. Once you have a backup plan in place, you’re going to be more comfortable taking time away to regroup.




Sure, you love your job and we do, too. We really love what we do, and helping aesthetic practices and spas grow their business is fun for us, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t need a hobby outside of work. Vacation with your loved ones, go kayaking, spend time at the gym, or maybe even paint or garden. Whatever that hobby is for you, embrace something that gives you joy, even if you are only able to do it for 15 to 30 minutes each day. Trust us – it’s well worth taking back the time for you, even when you’re convinced that the time doesn’t exist.




It sounds basic, but make sure that each day, you’re doing the following: drinking enough water, eating breakfast, getting enough sleep, moving your body for at least 10 to 15 minutes, and spending some quality time with friends and family. Often, when we feel burned out, it comes from us feeling hungry, angry, lonely, or tired (remember the acronym HALT). Evaluate which of your basic needs need to be filled to remedy the situation.




Are there weekly to-do list items that can be recurring? Review automated systems on ordering your supplies in the office and even review an automated grocery delivery service. Taking the little things off your plate is going to be key.



2019 Jay Shorr



Jay A. Shorr, BA, MBM-C, CAC I-XIV is the founder and managing partner of Shorr Solutions, a Florida-based medical practice consulting firm assisting practices with their operational, administrative, and financial health. He served as the vice president of operations and practice administrator for a leading board-certified dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon and held partnerships in two leading South Florida plastic surgery centers. Shorr has served as a professional motivational speaker for nearly a dozen industry organizations. He is a certified medical business manager (CMBM) from Florida Atlantic University, a certified aesthetic consultant (Levels I-XIV) at The Aesthetic Show and The Aesthetic Academy, and a member of The Aesthetic Show’s 2019 Scientific Advisory Board.





2019 Mara Shorr



Mara Shorr, BS, CAC II-XIV, is a partner and vice president of marketing and business development for Shorr Solutions, bringing more than a decade of marketing and communications experience to Shorr Solutions’ clients. She is a Level II through XIV certified aesthetic consultant utilizing knowledge and skills from her previous positions in marketing for two separate leading dermatology, cosmetic, and plastic surgery practices located in South Florida. Focusing on both internal and client strategies in traditional and new media, she is a public speaker and has written for a number of industry publications.

There is something special about people in the beauty business. They are born with the caring gene, and this industry has provided an outlet for them to help people look and feel their best. Every day, skin care professionals are afforded the opportunity to meet new people and change their lives in a positive way.


Your job is important, and you are important to your clients. You have the privilege of performing a variety of services each day that will help improve someone’s image, which is the key to positive self-esteem. But have you ever felt you could do more, help more, or be a positive change in your community – you can.

There are many ways you can utilize your skills within the industry to do good works. And that’s through giving back to the community.


There are so many options available that lend themselves to leaving a positive footprint on your community. You can invest time volunteering for a local organization or donate to a charity of your choice. Both ways can impact so many lives and, in my opinion, you are in the best business to do so.




The first tip is to determine where your passions lie. Doing some simple soul searching will help you decide where you want to begin your journey. First, ask yourself these general questions:

  • What is your area of expertise?
  • What do you love and enjoy doing?
  • What do you consider to be important?
  • Where do your talents lie?
  • Do you want to put your skillset to use and offer services to individuals in need, or would you rather donate to a charity either through volunteering or monetarily?


The answers to these questions will help you determine which option works best for you and your business.




It is also imperative to identify the needs of the community. By doing an easy Google search, you can discover the local charities that already exist. Once you have created a list of charities you would be interested in working with, reach out to them and begin to develop a relationship with them. Learning more about each charity will help you assess what their mission is and if it aligns with yours. But do your homework because not all charities are run the same.




If you are not already involved in your local chamber of commerce, become a member. This is an easy way to highlight your business and increase visibility by connecting with other local businesses. It’s also a great way to network and pinpoint issues that affect your community. This may help drive your choice of charity in a certain direction.




Another tip is to decide if you want to volunteer and donate time alone or would prefer to invite coworkers and maybe even clients on your new philanthropic path. There are strong benefits to both. However, you may find that if you create a team approach, the benefits will prove to be worthy. By engaging coworkers and utilizing your business, the outcome is two-fold. You will gain the knowledge and connections of many different people while placing your business on the map.


If you decide to foster a team approach, remember to be flexible. You always want the morale to stay positive among coworkers, as your goal should be employee retention, not turnover. You may find that not all members of your team share the same beliefs, so it’s okay if someone does not want to participate in the charity you’ve chosen. Give them the option of doing their own thing because the goal should be to have fun while generating charitable giving to a cause that means something to you.




Another idea is to partner with other local businesses. A benefit of attending your local chamber of commerce meetings is that you may identify other businesses that have the same goals as you. Establishing a partnership allows for the opportunity to increase the revenue for your charity of choice while also creating the potential to expand your number of clients.


If you are a small business, you never want to run the risk of breaking the bank, so associating with another company helps to keep costs down. But, if you decide you want to solely collaborate with individuals within your company, consider ways that are low cost. Some ideas are:


  • Invite staff to donate their time as a team (to an identified charity) on a day the business is closed, so no one is losing pay.
  • Utilize your team’s skillset at a local women’s shelter and give out goody bags to the residents.
  • Identify a local charity that may be in need of goods, such as clothing, shoes, and personal items; placing a drop box onsite allows for an easy way for people to donate items.
  • Choose a month where a certain percentage of the profits are donated to a charity; spread the word through social media to excite clients and get them involved.


The possibilities are endless for charitable giving. Be an active participate in the community and discover all the benefits from your good works. You can be creative and have your own fundraiser or utilize the organizations that already exist. Either way, you will feel a sense of accomplishment from giving back and it will benefit your business, as well as the community.



Carlee Clark



Carlee Clark is a licensed aesthetician and graduate of The Aesthetic Science Institute. She oversees all student enrollment processes, as well as Aesthetic Science Institute policies and procedures. Clark has over 20 years of sales, marketing, and management experience – all of which are incorporated into her daily practice as the institute director. She works closely with student and staff on preparation for job placement, interview skills, and professional etiquette. Clark’s dedication to the profession, both educationally and practically, is the foundation for her essential role in helping others create promising futures.

Are you thinking of planning a charity event at your spa to raise donations to give back to the community this year? Let’s talk about some creative and easy ways to plan and prepare a special event at your spa while keeping the donation number high and the stress of planning an event low. Considering some of these steps will help you enjoy raising the money for your charity or community organization of choice and provide a fantastic experience.




The most important step to planning an event is getting all of your reasons, ideas, and how you’re going to make the event happen down on paper first. This can be as simple as a bullet point or numeric list. I suggest making lists by category to help organize tasks (examples are food, drinks, decorations, and entertainment). Each list will serve a purpose and help you fill in the gaps with the little details. They will also assist in budgeting for marketing, supplies, and whatever goods are needed to make the charity event vision a reality. For instance, a list for your reasons why you’d like to donate to a particular charity or organization is important because when working on promotion and marketing of the event or when sending out invitations there will be a clear list of reasons that will make it easier to provide simple and direct responses for your donors’ questions.


The great thing about making lists and categorizing them by tasks is that there is less room for unanswered questions or lack of direction for the vision of your charity event. Once you’ve gotten your lists done you can start to accomplish all of your tasks in a clear and more organized manner. Having your ducks in a row will be a great stress reliever when the inevitable problems show up. If you get really deep into your lists, you may even have a solution for some of the possible problems that arise.




Now that the ideas are written down and you have a clear visual of what needs to be accomplished, you can start planning. Planning requires several details (but we have lists so we are prepared) and attention to detail is very important when people are donating to your cause – they want to know that you care.


Let’s say your spa will be hosting a small evening social or gala (this is a great way for people to network with others and have a good time). You will essentially be hosting a party with your charity as your theme, so you want to make sure that is fun, enjoyable, and an event that people will remember, so they will be excited to attend next year’s charity event at your spa. The organization you are collecting donations for should be clearly represented in the decorations of the room. If you will have standing tables, simple centerpieces will work and will be cost effective.


Remember, you want to raise as much money as possible for your event, so although you will be providing a memorable experience, keeping costs down will help you reach your goal and keep expenses manageable. You can set ticket prices based on your goal and then create a budget, so you can make the experience worthwhile. Or, you can set special bundle packages of your spa services and a percentage of that price will go to the charity and a percentage will go to covering costs. There are many ways to raise donations, it just depends on what you’re most comfortable with and if you will have staff to help you execute your plan the way you are visualizing it.


You can have a performance, free spa service giveaways, or a representative of the charity come and give a brief talk to the guests to provide them with additional information. As for food and drinks, you can serve fun, custom-themed alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages that people will love and enjoy drinking because of the aesthetics. You can make or cater small bites and snacks for guests to eat. And, you will want to give a cute party favor as a thank you for their attendance and donations; it also serves as a reminder that they helped you reach a goal that will be for the betterment of the community.



In short, when planning any event at your spa, your to-do lists will save you time, stress, and money. I live by them and I’m hoping they will help the process of your charity planning become smoother. Be as creative as you want to be with the details of your party, give your patrons something to enjoy, and make it fun so you can enjoy the entire journey. Good luck!



Mariasa Slaughter



Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, Mariasa Slaughter is a makeup artist and licensed aesthetician and holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is passionate about the skin, its conditions and treatments, promoting and educating ways to reach one’s goals, and keeping up on trends and tailoring them to her style of beauty. Beauty, although her first love, is not Slaughter’s only passion. She loves writing, language, and anything she can get her hands on to read. She spends a lot of time reading to gain knowledge on anything from skin care and makeup to cooking and budgeting.

Giving back to the community feels so good and it is very rewarding and a special thing for a business to do. I love to donate my time and give attention to girls of all ages and women born with down syndrome. I enjoy not only making them up but also making them look pretty and feel good.


My company also donates to the Special Olympics, and other organizations for people with down syndrome, with free sampling, skin care, and makeup products. We give away gift baskets or swag bags for events these organizations do. In addition, to go the extra mile, I like to do little princess and birthday parties. We host seasonal and fun events and invite them to enjoy, mix, and mingle with our clients.




The way I really got started on this beautiful venture, full speed ahead, is my twin brother passed away. He was born with down syndrome and he was sunshine on a cloudy day. He was smart, happy, always smiling, and the kindest guy. He was an athlete in the Special Olympics and won many medals for swimming. He could swim and I cannot, although I tried. His spirit and personality were larger than life and you knew it when he walked into the room. He was quite handsome and a charmer at that.


After my twin brother passed away, I suffered a deep period of depression. It was a period and feeling I had never felt before and never want to feel again. I was not myself and found day-to-day life hard to carry on. After many months, I thought about how I could get out of this dark place. My twin, sweet Norman, would want me to be happy. So, I put my heart and soul into helping girls who were born with down syndrome.


I decided to do a one-day lipstick promotion through an e-mail blast and invited our clients to shop for a cause, since my passion is lipstick. We donated $0.50 from the sale of each tube to the Special Olympics. Our clients connected with this promotion and event and my business even more so. Many did not realize my twin was born with down syndrome and the lipstick promotion was a success.


Then, I got the attention of a newspaper reporter who wanted to interview me and all I do. This caught the eye (and heart) of a mom in town who has a pre-teenage daughter with down syndrome. The mom read the news feature and quickly saw I was not your usual spa. She needed someone who understands and can treat her daughter with care and ease. I was so happy she reached out to me. It made me smile again – this time with both my lips and heart. She asked me if I could do a skin care and introductory makeup lesson for her daughter, Kelsey. She wanted a soft natural look. I told her that is my specialty, she loved it, and we hit if off so well she not only is a client, she is one of my dear friends.


I have also hired her for open houses and other events we do for office projects that come up from time to time at my studio. She has been featured with me not only in newspapers but also in blogs and professional trade publications. Next week I am using Kelsey on television as my model for a beauty segment I do on a morning show here in sunny Florida. She and her mom are so excited.




What I have found is people truly like to do business with nice people. They love it even more when you do things like this for a cause. Kindness goes a long way.


What do you do? Do you have a cause or organization you are passionate about?


Your clients will admire you and your business even more and you will also feel gratified.


If you have not found a cause or interacted with the community, I understand, as we are so busy with our day-to-day businesses and taking care of our clients that we do not always have time to spare.


I hope you will consider and think about getting involved with your community. Choose a cause close to your heart and go with that. Take baby steps.


For example, The Heart Association, autism awareness, breast cancer, and local food banks are all great causes. There are so many possibilities! Brainstorm with your team and choose what you wish.


Spread the word about what you are going to do through the newspaper, television media, a news release, a newsletter to your clients, or a postcard mailed out to clients. Spread the buzz on Facebook and on Instagram, as well.


I wish you much success as you follow your passion and get involved with the community.



20019 Noreen Young


Noreen Young is an author, makeup artist, skin therapist, blogger, and beauty business owner. She guest speaks and educates all across the country. She is a television personality and is seen on various television stations and heard on the radio with her beauty and wellness segments. Her work has been featured in magazines and on blogs. She has created three DVDs for beauty professionals: “Beauty Begins with a Brush,” “Entertaining in Your Salon or Spa,” “Hello Gorgeous,” and “Diamonds Aren’t A Girls Best Friend…Makeup Is.” She recently created a blog just for the beauty professional, salon, and spa owner. lifelipstickglowingskin.com

For the past decade, businesses have been told that they need a presence on social media to be successful. Many companies follow this advice and create business pages on all the most popular social networking platforms. After countless hours of perfecting their brand image and crafting post after post, some begin to question if they will ever see a return on their investment. The truth is that social media is an amazing tool and while it does require time and dedication, implementing the right approach can benefit your business greatly. Social media experts recommend a strategy that incorporates a combination of organic (free) posts and sponsored or paid promotions to increase engagement and return on investment.




Deciding what to share organically isn’t terribly challenging. Focus your posts on topics that are interesting to your audience in addition to creating content based on your goods or services. For example, if your audience is fond of natural skin care products, they may also enjoy reading about healthy recipes, exercise routines, and other wellness topics. It’s a good practice to subscribe to a few newsletters that cater to your audience’s other areas of interest. Sharing their articles, along with content created about your products or services, will save you time and keep your page from feeling like a constant sales pitch. This mixture of content keeps your audience engaged and helps prevent posts from being subject to any of the social network’s pesky algorithms.




Generating content for advertising on social media is a bit more challenging than sharing a tasty recipe or highlighting a favorite service. Not only is it vital to ensure that your promotional content has considered your target audience and their needs, it’s also important to review the insights on your advertising platform. Social media providers supply businesses with feedback on their activity in the insight area or tab. The insights showcase the business’ best performing posts, detailing reach or how many users were able to view the content. Insights also provide engagement statistics that break down user actions such as likes, shares, and comments.




According to bigcommerce.com, the top two social networking sites for e-commerce advertising are Facebook and Instagram. Facebook allows businesses to sponsor promotions in two ways: a boost or an ad. A boost promotes a post already on your business page. An ad is new content that can’t be found on your business page but is shared directly to the targeted audience in their newsfeed. Additionally, Facebook ads allow for greater control over targeting, while post boosting keeps advertising simple. Instagram offers a variety of advertising options. Similar to Facebook, businesses can promote posts already shared on their page, along with advertisements created for Instagram stories and the explore area.


Boosting a post on Facebook is an easy and effective way to increase engagement on a specific post. Typically, only a small percentage of your audience will be exposed to your business’ posts without boosting. This is thanks to Facebook’s algorithm. Fortunately, boosts are affordable and can increase reach and engagement quickly. Reviewing the insights allows businesses to select the best performing posts prior to investing in the promotion. It’s an essential practice for getting the best value for your investment. Incorporating boosted posts is an important part of your social media strategy but should be a smaller portion of the budget, as most of the social media budget should be reserved for ads.


One major benefit of using Facebook ads is the advanced audience customization feature, which allows for selection of income, gender, age, interests, and more. It’s not always best to cast a wide net when advertising, focusing dollars only on your desired audience is more efficient. Spend some time developing the descriptive criteria for your target group before logging in to create the ad. You’ll also want to have any artwork complete. Both Facebook and Instagram have strict requirements for the images associated with ads. Only 20% of your artwork can have text on Facebook, so it’s vital to ensure that your image is visually appealing and demonstrates your message well. Users usually engage with videos more than images; if available, they are an excellent choice for ad artwork.




The next factors to consider are duration and spend. Due to the number of advertisements people see every day, we often require exposure to a message multiple times before we can absorb or engage with it. Longer ad durations provide more time for your target group to have your ad delivered to their newsfeed. Be sure to log into ads manager frequently and review the ad’s performance. Allow the promotion to run for one to two weeks, then analyze the insights. If it’s performing well, continue to let the ad run until a decrease in interaction occurs. Otherwise, try altering the message, artwork, or audience to achieve desired results. A combination of duration and spend determines how many audience members you will reach and how frequently. As you adjust the time and amount in ads manager, Facebook will estimate the reach and frequency with each combination. Once you select the final criteria, your ad is off for approval before becoming live for your audience to view.




Ad manager is also used for Instagram ads. Often, advertisers will create one promotion using ads manager that will be broadcasted on both applications. This feature is a huge time saver. Instagram also has a promotion option that is like Facebook’s post boost. You may have noticed when scrolling through your business’ Instagram that there is a promote button under each post. You can quickly and easily sponsor a post already on your business page to increase the engagement and reach of that post. Creating the ad in the ads manager application will always provide you with the most targeting and customization features.


The right strategy will increase your return on investment and prove the value social media brings to your marketing efforts. Experiment with ads, take note of how your audience behaves online, and use that information going forward to continue to tailor your ads to drive desired actions. Advertising on social media is an effective method to build your audience, reinforce brand personality and keep a connection with current clients.



Kelly Conlan



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 manufacturers, 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.

7 Questions to Ask Before Purchasing LED Featured

Written by Pam Cushing

Light therapy is a popular trend. Celebrities are touting it, clients are demanding it, and if you’re in the skin care business, then you know you need it. While selecting a new LED device can seem daunting, a little advance research will ensure satisfaction for you, glowing testimonials from clients, and a fast return on your LED purchase. Here are the seven most important questions to ask prior to making your decision.




Like all decisions, there are pros and cons to every choice. However, for efficacy and efficiency, skin care professionals will be best served by choosing a full-face panel style LED device. Panels provide greater coverage, allowing the entire area to benefit simultaneously, while leaving you free to work on other important business. Versatile, shape-taking panels can be contoured to treat the face, neck and décolleté, and other body parts. Face masks are less practical as they are limited to treating the face only. Clients may occasionally complain of feeling claustrophobic and may not like the temporary indentations which masks can leave on the skin. Often considered as entry-level, handheld devices are best reserved for home use, spot treatment, and travel and are ideally suited for retailing to clients for maintenance between appointments.




While panel devices are generally more expensive than handhelds or masks, a quality panel-style LED device will be more efficient, more versatile, and more affordable in the long run. Consider investing in a multi-functional machine that will pay for itself quickly and is capable of treating all your acne and antiaging cases. With advances in technology, modern LED machines have dispensed with bulky stands, reducing clutter and cost.




Humans perceive wavelengths as colors. When it comes to skin care, the most effective wavelengths are blue, red, and near-infrared. No other wavelengths are more broadly supported in the scientific community. Blue has been proven to be effective in killing acne-causing bacteria. However, blue is a shallow reaching wavelength, so it is not used for much more than the treatment of acne. Red and near-infrared wavelengths reach cells from the epidermis to the dermal layer and beyond and are ideal for treating skin and aging conditions whose root cause is located in the dermis. Shallow reaching wavelengths, such as yellow, green, and amber, are not recommended, as they cannot reach the target cells located deep in the dermal layer and are not supported by rigorous scientific research.




When it comes to light therapy, the effectiveness of a device is measured by how much energy is available for absorption by the cells, not how much power the device emits. After all, if the emitted energy is not absorbed, then there will be no change at the cellular level and no visible improvement, resulting in disappointment for you and your clients. Cells are only capable of absorbing a certain amount of energy in a given period and need a certain amount of time to absorb enough energy for an observable and favorable change. Laws of optical physics have established that the closer the light device is positioned to the skin the more energy is absorbed. For maximum results, look for devices that can be adjusted so that the distance from the light source and the entire face is consistent.




Put your concerns at ease by selecting a machine which is FDA-cleared, so at least you know that it has been reviewed for efficacy and safety by the agency. Otherwise, you really have no way to confirm what you are actually getting. Ask the manufacturer to provide proof of exactly what the device is cleared to treat. For example, if you want to treat wrinkles, then selecting a device that is only indicated to treat pain will not be the best option for you or your antiaging clients. Also, don’t be fooled –FDA-registered does not mean that the device has been reviewed for efficacy or safety or awarded any treatment clearances.




Marketing is everything, and with good planning, the right LED device can sometimes pay for itself even before it arrives. Ask the manufacturer about post-sales support and marketing tools. If you’re not satisfied with the response, move on. Look for a manufacturer with well-trained specialists who are committed to your clinical and commercial success, can readily answer your questions, and who offer extensive and ongoing marketing and educational support and tools. The sale should mark the beginning of a valuable and treasured relationship, not the end.



Pam Cushing



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.

Proper disinfection practices are the cornerstone of a successful spa business. As professionals, it is our duty to protect the public we service, while also protecting ourselves and our business.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has very clear outlines as to why and how we clean, disinfect, and sterilize our implements, workspaces, and tools of the trade. Along with the foundation of hand washing, it is imperative that we take every step necessary to keep our clients and ourselves healthy and safe. Science has never known more about pathogenic transmission as it does today, which is why sanitation and disinfection has become an everyday conversation in the spa industry.




According to the CDC, disinfection is defined as a process that eliminates many or all pathogenic microorganisms, except bacterial spores, on inanimate objects. Studies conducted have shown that failure to comply with CDC guidelines has facilitated numerous disease and infection outbreaks over the years, despite published guidelines and protocols. There are three levels of infection control, which include cleaning at the most superficial level, disinfection, and sterilization. Both disinfection and sterilization are only as effective as the cleaning method used. As such, cleaning refers to the method of physically removing potential contaminants, such as dirt, debris, and other foreign materials with either friction, rubbing, or fluidics like high pressured water. At the next level, disinfection requires a chemical solution to further remove pathogenic microorganisms. This method’s success is dependent upon a variety of factors including but not limited to: prior cleaning, the amount of potential pathogens present on the surface, the material being disinfected, as well the pH of the solution and the contact time. At the highest level of infection control is sterilization. Sterilization, although typically only required for invasive tools, according to the CDC’s website, is a process that destroys or eliminates all forms of microbial life and is carried out in health-care facilities by physical or chemical methods, such as steam under pressure, dry heat, EtO gas, hydrogen peroxide gas plasma, and liquid chemicals. It is of paramount importance that when disclosing infection control practices with clients we do not confuse disinfection for sterilization, as sterilizing is a complete process and must be revered as such. Both disinfection and sterilization are only as effective as the cleaning method utilized; therefore, taking the time to properly clean your instruments can make all the difference to your clients and their health.


Understanding the importance of infection control in the spa is key. Therefore, appropriate disinfection is vital to a healthy, thriving business that sees multiple clients a day. Knowing the guidelines and protocols for disinfection is the first step in a successful procedure. When using multi-use items, the proper removal of foreign material is necessary for successful disinfection, so as to not cross contaminate to other workspaces or tools. Therefore, to safely reuse these tools and instruments, they must be correctly cleaned with soap and water, then disinfected with the preferred agent, and sterilized if necessary. The importance of taking these steps is to assist in the prevention of disease spreading pathogens and should be an everyday priority for any spa establishment.




Utilizing habitual practices can take the guess work out of infection control. Start with thoroughly washing your hands. With improper hand washing being the main factor in disease transmission, the Better Health website states that washing your hands properly can help prevent the spread of germs (like bacteria and viruses) that cause diseases like salmonella and influenza. To ensure this practice is correctly adhered to, the CDC has recommended hand washing guidelines available for download on their website. Next is effective disinfection. The most effective way to disinfect tools or a workspace is to first read the manufacturer’s label and determine if the product is suited for your professional needs. Next, be aware of the terms single-use and multi-use. If it is porous and cannot be properly disinfected, it should be discarded after each use. Also, to hinder cross-contimation, always wash hands meticulously before and after every client, wear the appropriate gloves or personal protective equipment, and move through the disinfection procedure as soon as possible after use. If at any point foreign material has a chance to dry on the item to be disinfected, it becomes more difficult to successfully remove, making disinfection or sterilization less powerful. Lastly, efficient organization of the workspace can enhance the disinfection process by leaving ample space to prevent contamination. Habits like these will only benefit the client, the skin care professional, and the community, so it is best to create a routine and consistently stick to it.


Every skin care professional, technician, and business owner plays a part in infection control. Whether directly or in overview, it is important to know why we disinfect, how to accomplish it, and when to choose the appropriate level of infection control. The CDC has great information and insight into how to best practice infection control in the spa that is readily available online. We owe it to our clients to comply for their safety and well-being, as well as that of those around us and ourselves.






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.

What is Self-care? Featured

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Self-care. What a word. It says so much just by itself, but I have found that no two people will define it the same way.


I will be doing a series on self-care and so I will start with the basic understading of what it is and why we need to know about it.


As I began the research journey, I was at our first annual “Spa for the Soul” event in Washington at a local cancer center. We had invited cancer survivors, patients, and caregivers. In my initial presentation, I asked each one to tell me what self-care meant to them. Here are some of the answers I received:


  • Eating right
  • Nutrition and supplements
  • Exercising
  • Personal education to learn how to get better, feel better, or be better (this one was mentioned three times)
  • Giving yourself permission to do or not do something
  • Putting yourself first
  • Saying no without guilt
  • Being mindful and in the present moment
  • Taking care of you, so that you can care for others


Webster defines self-care as, “The practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health.”


But, the Urban Dictionary’s top definition of self-care was really a head scratcher for me. It said the top definition was, “An umbrella term used to excuse poor financial decisions. For example, why spend monthly on things like rent and bills when you can buy coloring books from Whole Foods or spend $400 going to a spa for much needed self-care.” This is really what it said.


Okay, wow. So, no wonder we don’t know what self-care is. What I have come to realize is that there is no wrong answer because it means something different to each one of us, depending on each person, what they need, and what makes them happy. So, why is it different for each of us?


Turning to science and studies, I found that the information was a little conflicting also. But, I did find some interesting data on culture, generation, and birth order. Here are some of the highlights.




There are deep cultural differences that make an impact on self-care – things we are taught and learn based on our culture. Most of what I found in research were based around time together with loved ones or things that make your heart happy. A few of my favorites were from Sweden and Norway (yes, I am Scandinavian, so bear with me).


Sweden: They like to enjoy coffee with intention. They call it “Fika.” It means slowing down and mindfully taking time out of your day to connect with someone special. For them, self-care is practiced with others.


Norway: I am Norwegian and their self-care tradition is called “Hygge.” It means well-being, warmth, and goodness in life; spending some quiet time with a good book, a warm bath, a cup of coffee, or even sitting around a fire with friends. Sounds good, doesn’t it?



Some of the older generations were taught that caring for yourself is selfish and that you should always put others first. I know that is how I was raised, and I’m sure some of you can also identify with this thought process. That makes thinking of yourself first a little harder. You have to give yourself permission, focus, and make it a priority in order to make regular self-care happen.




Your birth order also makes a difference. First born children tend to think about others more because they were responsible for helping with siblings and parents as they were growing up. Middle children tend to be people pleasers, always trying to find their place and fit in, so for them it’s a little harder to think about what they need and want. And, the last born or only children in a family tend to get more attention, so thinking about themselves is a little easier and comes more naturally for them.




There is a connection between good self-care and good self-esteem. Caring for and loving ourselves, along with good self-care, means a healthy immune system. Conversely, when we have low self-esteem, science shows that we are at higher risk for alcoholism, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and a distressed immune system that will eventually lead to illness. So, you can see that self-care needs to be a very important part of everyday life.


My definition of self-care is simply self-love. So, how do you do that? Where do you start? I love the way Brené Brown said it: “Start by simply believing you are worthy.” Start believing in yourself today, this very minute. Know that you are enough, you are amazing, and you were created to do something that only you can do.


Think about things that make your heart happy and then fit them into your life each day, intentionally, and enjoy.


Becky Kuehn 2020


Becky Kuehn lives in Seattle, Washington and loves people, animals, and coffee. 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, provides advice and education articles for newspapers and industry leading magazines, and is an invited speaker for oncology training at conventions.

2020 will be an exciting year discovering new information and advances in several skin conditions and disorders each month. Before we proceed with individual skin conditions, we shall begin by reviewing the skin’s outermost defenses and how they can affect conditions, disorders, and potential diseases.


Many aestheticians believe that the skin’s microbiome is the same as the acid mantle. In actuality, there are three separate entities that are healthy skin’s line of defense against pathogens: the skin microbiome – also called the skin flora or skin microbiota, the acid mantle, and the lipid barrier.


Layers of Skin Acid Mantle


The three layers work together protecting against infection, irritants, moisture loss (transepidermal water loss), and ever-present environmental aggravators, including ultraviolet radiation, pollution, and free radicals. This article demonstrates how each layer contributes to healthy skin.




The microbiome is an ecosystem found at the surface of the skin that acts as a crucial defense mechanism. Its genetic makeup consists of microbes – bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and viruses. The amount of genes in all the microbes in an individual’s microbiome is 200 times the number of genes in the human genetic makeup.


Microbiome GuyMicrobiome


Human skin has a microbiome colonized by 10,000 to 1 million bacteria units per square centimeter.1 Most bacteria are staphylococcus or propionibacterium acnes; additionally, it houses yeasts (malassezia) and parasites (demodex mites).When disrupted, the microbiome’s barrier functions can fail, leading to an altered pH, infection, a decrease of antimicrobial peptides, and an increase in inflammation. Each microbiome is unique, varying with age, location on the body, and gender of the individual. A healthy microbiome that can protect against pathogens and irritants must be nourished with both pre- and probiotics.


New research has emerged showing how prebiotics can work when applied topically. Prebiotics are nutrients that help nourish and strengthen good bacteria. Plant sugars xylitol and l-rhamnose and carbohydrates like fructooligosaccharides are potent sources of prebiotics. Probiotics as in lactobacillus ferment are live, good bacteria that help promote a healthy microflora ecosystem by producing acidic compounds and reducing the pH of the skin. Caution: since probiotics are live bacteria, they are not intended for use in anyone who is immunosuppressed.


Postbiotics are chemical byproducts like antimicrobial peptides and the remaining fragments of dead bacterial cells. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are part of the immune system response.2 They function similarly to potent, broad-spectrum, antibiotic killing, gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria, viruses, and fungi and have even altered cancer cells.




Lying directly below the microbiome, the acid mantle is a mixture of sweat, sebum, water, dead skin cells, lactic acid, urocanic acid, fatty acids, and pyrrolidine carboxylic acid, with an acidic pH between 4.5 and 5.9 to 6.2.


Acid Mantle


The acid mantle helps inhibit the growth of unhealthy bacteria, fungi, and pathogens. The combination of the acidic exterior (acid mantle) and alkaline interior (inner skin) helps the body to defend against bacteria. A note of caution: certain medications can alter the acid mantle, including antihistamines, chemotherapy drugs (like Tamoxifen), Accutane, diuretics, protease inhibitors, and statins.




The Lipid Barrier: The extracellular lipid matrix located in the stratum corneum is an essential component of the permeability barrier. The epidermal barrier protects the body from transepidermal water loss, and the entry of external substances. It consists of ceramides – waxy, lipid molecules formed from sphingosine and fatty acid, free fatty acids, byproducts of the metabolism of fat in adipose tissues, and cholesterol- a waxy, fat molecule made by the liver, with ceramides being the essential compound.2


Phytosphingosine and sphingolipids (ceramide precursors) help the skin make more ceramides. Lipids assist in retaining water molecules and keeping pathogens out.




Ceramides used in skin care include:

  • ceramide AP
  • ceramide EOP
  • ceramide NG
  • ceramide NP
  • ceramide NS
  • phytosphingosine
  • sphingosine


Ceramides work best when combined with other moisture replenishing ingredients like fatty acids and cholesterol. Lecithin is a phospholipid often used in moisturizers.




Products using this remarkable science are still in their infancy. Exciting new advances within the microflora industry are always emerging. Studies have concluded that bifidobacterium longum increases the skin’s resistance to temperature and irritation (product-related). Streptococcus thermophilus increases the production of ceramides. Lactobacillus paracasei inhibits substance P (a neuropeptide), thereby decreasing inflammation and sebaceous activity. Enterococcus faecalis, streptococcus salivarius, and lactobacillus plantarum decrease P.acnes. Bacillus coagulans and bifidobacterium breve are antioxidants and protect against ultraviolet radiation.




To encourage a healthy microbiome, the following steps can help.


Chose the Correct Cleanser


 Protect the microbiome by being diligent to never over-cleanse the skin. Pay close attention to ingredients used in skin care products. Use a cleanser that is lather-free, cream- or oil-based, and has an acidic pH. Avoid using antibacterial wipes, antibacterial soaps, sanitizers, and products with antimicrobial irritants (sulfates and parabens), as they eradicate all bacteria – leaving skin exposed to irritants and pathogens. Additionally, avoid:


  • antihistamines, which dry out the skin
  • high blood pressure medication, which can reduce sweat levels
  • Accutane, which dries up oil production from the sebaceous glands
  • chemotherapeutic medications, which interfere with sweat and sebum production
  • diuretics, which dehydrate and reduce the body’s salt levels
  • statins, which remove the skin’s natural oils


Rebalance the pH


Even a gentle cleansing can disrupt the skin’s pH. Be sure that your cleanser is pH balanced or use a toner to restore the pH. Microbiome bacteria thrive in an acidic environment of around a 5.      




Regular Exfoliation


Dead cell buildup from an impaired desquamation process inhibits the functioning of a healthy microbiome. Use products that provide a gentle daily exfoliation or incorporate a weekly mild exfoliation with a mild alpha hydroxy acids or enzyme at-home treatment. Don’t forget to include a product that initiates a healthy cell turnover rate.


A few examples include:

  • alpha hydroxy acids
  • retinol
  • Retin-A or retinoic acid
  • retinaldehyde
  • granactive retinoid
  • RNF-1 peptide
  • jojoba beads
  • sea salt
  • coffee grounds
  • cornmeal
  • sugar scrubs
  • proteolytic (digestive) enzymes



Bad BacteriaGood Bacteria


Use Pre- and Probiotics to Promote the Good Bacteria   


Prebiotics include aloe vera polysaccharides, alpha-glucan oligosaccharide, and biolin.Probiotics that improve hydration, reduce irritation, and promote a healthy ecosystem enabling microflora to flourish include fig ferment, lemon ferment, kloeckera ferment, hansenula ferment, lactococcus ferment, bifida derment lysate, leuconostoc ferment, pediococcus ferment, lactobacillus ferment, saccharomyces lysate extract, and pichia and resveratrol ferment lysate.

Support the Skin Barrier Function


The three ingredients that help to nourish the lipid barrier are hyaluronic acid, essential fatty acids, and ceramides. Replenish and repair the skin barrier with moisturizers, ceramides, phospholipids, and botanical oils. 


Protect with Sunscreen


Mineral-based sunscreen using titanium dioxide or zinc oxide creates a physical barrier to shield the skin from ultraviolet radiation, while calming inflammation.


 Armed with a new awareness and updated information, you can now help to achieve and maintain your clients’ skin integrity by fostering a healthy, bacteria-rich environment.




1 Talakoub, Lily and Naissan O. Wesley. “Probiotic, prebiotic, and postbiotic skin care.” MDedge Dermatology. Feb 2019.



2 Solstad, R.G., C. Li, J. Isaksson, J. Johansen, J. Svenson, K. Stensvag, and T. Haug.

“Novel Antimicrobial Peptides EeCentrocins 1, 2 and EeStrongylocin 2 from the

Edible Sea Urchin Echinus Esculentus Have 6-Br-Trp Post-Translational Modifications.” PLoS One 11, no. 3 (2016): e0151820.


3 Daniells, Stephen. “Study supports prebiotic potential of Aloe vera polysaccharides.”

NUTRA ingredients-usa.com. Nov 2017. https://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Article/2017/11/14/Study-supports-prebiotic-potential-of-Aloe-vera-polysaccharides.




Brenda Linday 2014



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


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