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amanda mug 2017DERMASCOPE is introducing many new features in 2018 – a new website, new departments, new designs, new article themes… But I must admit that there is one fresh feature for 2018 that I have hardly been able to keep quiet about: our new editorial advisory board! We have had several advisory boards in the past, but, this time around, I have re-written the script and will be bringing you real time professional help, as well as a council to guide our editorial content.

New Year, New You

Written by Amanda Strunk Miller Associate Publisher

The month of December makes me both nostalgic and optimistic.

Both, I think, are common and reasonable feelings to experience during this time of year. Time with family, big parties, and extended periods off from work all offer time to reminisce and look back on fond memories. The month of December can also provide time to reflect over the past year and conjure up other emotions – passion, fear, optimism, resentment, happiness…

‘Tis the Season for Holiday Marketing!

Written by Amanda Strunk Miller Associate Publisher

Wait, it’s already the end of the year? I always look forward to the colder weather and the holiday season, but it continually seems to sneak up on me. Every year, it’s almost like Christmastime appears out of nowhere – especially now with two little boys of my own.

Building Your Business

Written by Amanda Strunk Miller

Marketing your business is one of the most common business topics I read about in trade magazines. It is such a vital topic that every year we focus an issue of DERMASCOPE on it! We try to cover every angle; from how to succeed with social media to handling bad client reviews online; marketing new clientele to upselling the regulars; understanding e-mail blasts to Google ads to postcard mailers. We recognize that marketing your business enables more cash flow and seemingly more clientele for the spa. But as Josh McCarter quotes in The Business Breakdown department this month, it can cost six times more to acquire new customers than it does to retain existing ones. In addition, frequent customers spend a whole lot more than first-timers – 67 percent more!

The Many Faces of Beauty

Written by Amanda Strunk Miller

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Perception is reality. Happy girls are the prettiest girls.

All of these sayings bring about alternate perspectives than the one typically observed through social media. To me, all of these sayings bring about freedom, creativity, and even peace of mind.

The Sensitive Skin Misconception

Written by Amanda Strunk Miller

Last summer, while planning the editorial calendar for 2017, I penned 'sensitive skin' as a topic I believed should be highlighted as a main theme for an issue. Days later, I allotted the subject to the month of August and proceeded to brainstorm on what the main articles for the month would entail. I had ideas like 'skin disorders' and 'skin conditions' in my notebook, along with a few names of industry leaders I knew could help me tackle the issue at hand. I assumed we would cover subjects like organic skin care ingredients and fragrance-free products in our press sections. I even bounced around a few cover ideas in my head.

Gearing Up for 2018

Written by Amanda Strunk Miller

For most people, the word summer brings about enjoyable thoughts, treasured memories, and anticipated vacations. For the staff at DERMASCOPE – and more specifically, the editorial team – the word summer brings about brainstorming and planning for new ideas in preparation for the upcoming editorial calendar year. The year may be only half over, but we are already gearing up for 2018!

A Must-Have Mentor

Written by Amanda Strunk Miller

In our industry, it is of great importance to a skin care professional's successful journey to have a mentor to guide them. Mentors provide invaluable information, expertise, and understanding. They offer insight on what it takes to advance, guidance on improving knowledge and skill, and opportunities and resources for building a strong and successful network.

Be everywhere. This piece of advice is often given to budding businesses who are trying to make an impression. The method is considered a positive way to build visibility online, cultivate traffic, and attract new prospects or leads. This idea works great for print, internet, or even community events; but when it comes to social media specifically, is it the best plan?

To Be or Not to Be Everywhere

Written by Amanda Strunk Miller

Be everywhere. This piece of advice is often given to budding businesses who are trying to make an impression. The method is considered a positive way to build visibility online, cultivate traffic, and attract new prospects or leads. This idea works great for print, internet, or even community events; but when it comes to social media specifically, is it the best plan?

I love this month's editorial lineup. Sun care and aromatherapy are two topics that I enjoy learning about each year.

Waxing, Sugaring, Laser, Oh My!

Written by Amanda Strunk Miller

My husband loves when I get the wax pot out at home. It is inevitable that while I am sitting on the counter waxing my legs, he will pop in and ask for a quick nose wax. Ever since he was a model at one of the waxing classes at a tradeshow years ago, he has been hooked! Even if we did not have a pot at home, I know he would go to the spa to get it done.

New Year, New Dermascope

Written by Amanda Strunk Miller

The January magazine is always my favorite issue to publish each year. Not because of the editorial themes or wintery cover art; or because it is the start of a fresh year; or even because it is my birthday month. I love the January issue because it is when we roll out new departments, art layouts, special sections, and fresh and unique online content.

Money Making Makeup Artists

Written by Amanda Strunk-Miller


The world of makeup seems larger than any other niche in the beauty industry. With so many makeup companies, products, Instagram feeds, blogs, video tutorials, and “experts” floating around the internet, it can seem overwhelming and, honestly, a bit confusing. Topics like professional versus consumer are the first things I think of, followed by categories like organic or mineral, airbrush or camouflage, and trending or traditional.

Diving Into the Holiday Season

Written by Amanda Strunk-Miller

From candy corn to candy canes, the holiday season is often the busiest time of the year for small businesses. It seems that after Halloween hits in October, it is a non-stop whirlwind for businesses to market to their customers and sell more gift cards, presents, and stocking stuffers before the end of the year. While it can be easy to become overwhelmed with the growing to-do list as a business owner during this season, it should be equally as important to step back and take a moment to just get excited! With all of the festivities to plan, it can be a wonderful and enjoyable time for everyone working in the spa. There are so many holiday promotion ideas available that can be researched online and applied in the business, making marketing efforts easily implemented.

The ACAs Are Back!

Written by Amanda Strunk-Miller

The Aestheticians' Choice Awards are back for the third year in a row! Just like last year, our readers have been involved in every step of the process. Thank you for taking the time last month to submit your favorite products and skin care companies in our nomination process on We received thousands of submissions over the two week submission period. This nomination process has ensured that every product submitted for this respected award is not only one of the best in the professional market, but also approved by you, the skin care professional.

Customer Appreciation

Written by Amanda Strunk-Miller

The other day I went in for my regularly scheduled hair appointment; I did not request additional services or buy anything new. When I was finished and went to pay, I noticed my receipt had a 'VIP Discount' line under the total, with 15 percent subtracted. When I looked up to question my stylist about the markdown, she immediately smiled and said, "It's just because!" She went on to thank me for my loyalty and continued support of her business. I thought it was such a unique and genuine way for her to show her appreciation.

Academy of Legends

Written by Amanda Strunk-Miller

As you may have noticed, our cover art has had a different feel from the normal style of artwork that typically graces the covers of DERMASCOPE. This change is because, for the past three months, the Aesthetics International Association (AIA) has been inducting new pioneers from our industry into the coveted Academy of Legends.

Tradeshows have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. For the past 20 years, I have attended at least four a year – traveling across the country to walk the floors, try new products, attend lectures, and chat with leading educators.

My first thought of summer takes me back to childhood memories. Every year, my older brother would throw a pool party at our house to celebrate the end of the school year. All of his classmates and their siblings would come over to play basketball, swim in the pool, jump on the trampoline, and ride bikes.

Owning a martial arts school in a small town has been part of my life for almost 10 years. When the business started off with just a handful of students, it seemed simple enough to listen to requests and find a way for everyone to be content.

I have a stepson who just turned 14, is a freshman, and enrolled in a new school. Last year I counseled him to begin washing his face, pay more attention to his hair, and quit wadding up his clean clothes in his backpack.

Most aestheticians chose their profession because they like working with people and are, by nature, nurturers. In fact, helping others through customer service is the most common reason this career path was so enticing to a majority of professionals. Most just want to make a difference in people’s lives and, through aesthetics, have found their path.

On one hand, I embrace New Year’s resolutions as a great opportunity to implement a goal for the upcoming year. But from a more historical perspective, it can often seem like a compulsive plan for failure. How many times have we set a New Year’s resolution and remained committed through to its achievement? Most often, we make temporary progress only to slip back into our old patterns.

Our offices at DERMASCOPE are full of that New Year’s buzz of activity.
We are working diligently on the monthly issues of the magazine, the compilation of the 2016 Products and Education Guide, a redesign of, and the restructure of our editorial e-blasts. It is a lot to tackle, but we feel energized about the growth and direction of our brand.

It is hard for me to believe that 2015 is almost over. Months of preparation for 2016, such as gearing up with new ideas for the magazine, has made the last few months go by in a flash. Looking back, it has been an amazing year!

All year, a small button has been prominently displayed on our cover to commemorate DERMASCOPE’s 40th anniversary. This month, we are taking a majority of the magazine to throw ourselves a party and celebrate the past four decades of everything in the world of aesthetics.

Nothing gets me in the holiday spirit faster than hearing Christmas music while I am at the store or seeing twinkle lights on neighborhood rooftops. I have enjoyed the holidays since I was a kid. I always look forward to the family, the food, and the time off at the end of the year. And this year, I have yet another joy to look forward to, my son’s first birthday.

As it is DERMASCOPE’s 40th anniversary, we decided to expand on all of this year’s special sections. In our September issue, we are using our pages to focus on breast cancer and how it has become intertwined within the spa industry. We took every angle we could when it comes to breast cancer and aesthetics. We interviewed oncology aestheticians, researched cutting edge complementary spa treatments, tackled common breast cancer myths, and that’s just the first
few pages.

Each year, DERMASCOPE shines the spotlight on retail as a main theme for one issue. And each year, we publish articles that offer new and alternative ways to capture profitability.

It is commonly understood that competition is a good force that presses us to do our best. When we are pressed to achieve, we grow. When we grow, our potential to achieve grows with us. While there are certain areas or situations in our lives where unhealthy competition can develop (relationships, for example), it is a powerful and positive motivational tool and the very basis for how Mother Nature chooses the future.

In an industry where fads pop up every season, we can certainly expend enormous resources trying to determine which are worth embracing and will lead us to the newest trend. Clients might be coming to your spa expecting to experience the newest product they discovered on Pinterest or have the skin treatment they heard Kim Kardashian gets every week.

Marketing. It is such a broad and important subject that an entire year of DERMASCOPE Magazine could be devoted to the subject in order to effectively bring readers up to date on such a critical aspect of business. And, sooner than we could absorb that information, new strategies, terms, resources, and ideas would be coming into play. To be sure, marketing is always a moving target. It requires a specific agenda, time and energy to be used effectively.

It seems as though the term ‘wellness’ is popping up more and more in today’s society. While in the spa industry wellness might have always been an important element to every aesthetician’s surroundings, the rest of the world is finally catching on and bringing more attention to this term.

I am particularly excited to share this issue of DERMASCOPE Magazine! Our staff has been gathering editorial content for months and I am positive that the information we have collected will provide very useful. In this issue, you will find the feature articles to focus on both summer skin and social media.

Achieving success financially as a result of being charitable or behaving well can be easier said than done. Benjamin Franklin once wrote, “A good conscience is a continual Christmas.” While people understand the difference between growths for the sake of profit versus for the good of others, it is questionable if a business really can make money by doing more good in the world.

The year 2015 has officially arrived! As with each New Year, it brings new challenges and new opportunities. This, of course, provides an excellent time to contemplate the potential to reorganize, improve, or otherwise advance our careers, personal goals, or growth in general. This is evidenced by the surge of gym memberships sold in January, the majority of which will not continue commitment past March.

Surely I am not alone when I say that this time of the year is always my favorite. From white chocolate peppermint mochas to the crisp, cold Northern air... Wood crackling in the fireplace and neighborhood houses decorated with twinkling lights…

Each holiday is designed to provide a respite from our toiling and bring friends and family together to celebrate. Because the origins of Thanksgiving are to celebrate a bountiful harvest, this particular holiday always reminds me of the opportunity to be aware and thankful for so many things in my life. While family and friends are on my short list of gratitude, I find it fulfilling and rejuvenating to spend a little time evaluating all that has been “harvested” through the year.

A day of mine never passes without scrolling across someone's post or pin or tweet regarding an inspirational quote or picture that my friends have shared through social media. It seems that images have become a dominant method to express quotes and society resonates with the messages read. The shocking number of times I have been told to “dance like nobody's watching” makes me stop and wonder why I have yet to take up on the advice. I think it is apparent that even outside my circle of connections, people are searching for meaning and confirmation in their lives.

I was really surprised to discover how difficult it was to come up with statistics on the number of bloggers on the Internet. There are many conflicting estimates, primarily because most blogging websites are quickly abandoned or rarely updated… So after uncovering these figures, and having just started a blog of my own, I am feeling motivated to keep mine updated – I definitely cannot be one of the statistical abandoners. I will begin by reaching out to you to help me out. I welcome all of you to visit our website, and my blog, to discover whatever is on my mind between monthly Editor’s Notes.

Whether it is from the movie, a spin off segment on the morning radio show, or the ever so often voice inside my head, the phrase ‘let it go’ seems to pop up everywhere around me. Originally meant to mean ‘resisting to do something,’ letting go these days carries a bit of a different meaning. Google it now and you will find words more along the lines of ‘releasing frustrations or anger to not let something become emotionally stressful.’ Easier said than done, you say? I tend to agree.

I have spent the last few weeks spinning in circles from my busy schedule. While I have the magazine to publish, I also run a martial arts school on nights and weekends. In addition, it seems like holidays, birthdays, vacations, weddings and graduation parties have filled up every spare minute. Sometimes it is hard to catch my breath. On the positive side, these events provided the opportunity to celebrate and spend time with family and friends.

Have you had a chance to attend a tradeshow this year? What about a local seminar, workshop or online webinar? In a profession like ours, it is crucial to stay up-to-date with the latest education, developments and trends. Seminars, workshops, and webinars provide the chance to learn and grow, but, for me, tradeshows are the pinnacle. They are a top priority every year. They provide so many positive things even if sometimes it can feel like a sensory overload!

It has been a positive, forward-moving, and productive year for me. And now tradeshow season has begun. The International Congress of Esthetics and Spa kicked off in Miami last month, and this month professionals from all over the southwest are headed to Dallas. When you think of attending a tradeshow, what comes to mind? My first thoughts are the networking opportunities – catching up with existing relationships and creating new ones. But mostly, I think of continuing education… The atmosphere is always charged with positive energy; it is full of learning, excitement, growth, and opportunity. One of these topics I feel most strongly about is learning.

When you finish my Editor’s Note and start to flip through the magazine, you will begin to notice that this issue has more valuable resources in addition to the educational feature stories on hormones and ethnic skin.
Beyond the primary topics of this particular issue, there is plenty of content that touches base on a series of different material. From our monthly case study (April focuses on how to treat chronic dry hands in the spa) to the top 10 tips of getting skin ready for the summer, there is an abundance of education that will surely leave each reader a little more informed. But this print version of DERMASCOPE Magazine you are holding is not the whole story this month.

Twenty years ago this month, my father became Associate Publisher of DERMASCOPE Magazine. Not so coincidentally, this month I accept the same position. As you might know from my previous editor’s notes through the years, I have grown up in the world of aesthetics where my passion has continued to evolve. I have become a beneficiary of many important relationships. Between industry legends and world renowned writers and educators, I have an enormous resource of talent to draw from in my quest to keep DERMASCOPE at the forefront of aesthetics. Many have been great guides and continue to provide inspiration to me. I have enjoyed the rewards of working in this industry and it has been a true labor of love. It helps to do what you love in life and, for me, it is an accurate depiction of my job. I work with great people and every day is entertaining and enjoyable.

Wil-StrunkIt is difficult to believe it has been 20 years since I wrote my first Publisher’s note in DERMASCOPE Magazine. My predecessor, Ron Renee developed DERMASCOPE from a newsletter he created for the Aesthetics International Association (AIA) in 1972. Ron owned several cosmetology schools and a successful beauty supply business. Throughout the 1960s he was a regular attendee at hair tradeshows in Europe where he discovered a world of skin care that had not yet found its way to America. As he began to import skin care education and equipment, he found little interest from the attendees at the American hair shows. He founded AIA as a networking and educational resource, which created the first gathering of aestheticians in America.

Some people consider the saying “Jack of all trades, master of none” somewhat derogatory. My perspective is different being raised in a family business. When my parents met, my father was a devoted entrepreneur and my mother an aesthetician. After they married, my father decided to train as a massage therapist and open a spa with my mom. He also obtained his aesthetics license and they stayed in the spa business for about six years. My father began publishing this magazine and producing tradeshows 20 years ago. In addition to operating these businesses, he is partner in an advertising agency and runs a charitable foundation. He has often been accused of being a serial entrepreneur and his “spirit” was definitely passed along to his children.

In 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was quoted during his inaugural address: “Things in life will not always run smoothly. Sometimes we will be rising toward the heights – then all will seem to reverse itself and start downward. The great fact to remember is that the trend of civilization itself is forever upward, that a line drawn through the middle of the peaks and the valleys of the centuries always has an upward trend.”

I am proud to unveil the special issue of DERMASCOPE Magazine – The 2014 Products and Education Guide. Our team has compiled an in-depth, updated directory for you, our valued skin care professionals. We bring you all of our industry resources and help you reference the best products, services and post-graduate education in the aesthetics industry.

Happy holidays! I hope this letter finds you in a joyful holiday spirit. This time of the year is certainly my favorite. Taking the time off from my everyday schedule gives me a chance to recharge for the upcoming New Year, as well as spend quality with my husband and kids. For the past few years, we have been traveling to visit my family and, if we are lucky, spend time in the snow. But no matter where we are, we love taking part in the long-standing traditions my family has kept; traditions of baked ham and sweets, games, parties, gift exchanges, and perusing the neighborhood Christmas light displays. We have even added a few new traditions that will hopefully be passed down to my children.

While researching on the other day, I came across a list of 10 words that should be “erased from your vocabulary – immediately.” Being an editor, I instantly became intrigued with what this list could consist of. Personally, I believe that if certain words should not be in my vocabulary, they definitely should not be included in writing… and after reading the list, I have to say that I agree. It especially seems that in such an industry as ours we should be as professional and qualified as possible, even in our speech with others.

While scrolling in my social media app the other day, a cute quote passed on the screen. It had a simple drawing of Winnie the Pooh and his friend Piglet. The text read above it: “What day is it?” “It’s today,” squeaked Piglet. “My favorite day,” said Pooh. While I am not quite sure what made me stop to read a Winnie the Pooh quote, I do know it left me with an uplifted spirit.

Creating new habits can be hard. Breaking old habits can be even harder. Both are required for growth and healthy living. When taking the time to learn something new in your life, most often it can feel gratifying to reach a significant goal. Besides the benefit of learning something new, you have also improved yourself for the better. Most of these positive improvements can be developed into good habits. This is even backed up by a few studies I have read recently. It is suggested that by forming good habits, the goals are more attainable. And more importantly, we are not motivated enough by just focusing on the goal itself. Our day-to-day activity and progress with our habits give us motivation to stay on track. In one of the studies, it even stated that reflecting on the habits we have formed can help us progress with our goal and adjust when needed, therefore being more successful in the end result.

Creating new habits can be hard. Breaking old habits can be even harder. Both are required for growth and healthy living. When taking the time to learn something new in your life, most often it can feel gratifying to reach a significant goal. Besides the benefit of learning something new, you have also improved yourself for the better. Most of these positive improvements can be developed into good habits. This is even backed up by a few studies I have read recently. It is suggested that by forming good habits, the goals are more attainable. And more importantly, we are not motivated enough by just focusing on the goal itself. Our day-to-day activity and progress with our habits give us motivation to stay on track. In one of the studies, it even stated that reflecting on the habits we have formed can help us progress with our goal and adjust when needed, therefore being more successful in the end result.

Juggling the necessities of a personal life and a career is an unending test. We deal with so many things on a day-to-day basis: advancing in our career; developing our relationship with our significant other; catching up with friends; raising our children; helping our elderly; constantly growing, whether physically, spiritually or mentally; dabbling in a hobby; tackling the household chores; and keeping up with the Jones'. It is called the "work-life balance" and can seem like a fairy tale to many people.

Considering today's busy world, sometimes we do not notice when we put others before ourselves. Day-to-day demands of work, education, marriage, children, in-laws, friends, and even pets can make us feel like a professional juggler of priorities. At times it feels as though there is just too much going on in our life! To top it all off, it might feel as though there is not much time left over for the caregiver… you! And even when those that care about us pull us to the side to tell us to slow down, we shake our head and keep pushing. Does this sound familiar to you? All too familiar, you might be thinking.

Within seconds of first meeting someone, we unconsciously judge the person. After forming the first impression, we normally do not go beyond it to look for any accuracy in our perception – unless it seems like a serious situation. While this is an innate characteristic in us all, how we prepare for our first impression with others can pave a road to a positive lasting impression.
First impressions are not just towards others. People will walk into a restaurant, house, spa, or even school and instantly have feelings – whether positive or negative. For example, spa owners are taught to keep the entrance to the spa neutral to accommodate both women and men. If a man walks into a frou-frou spa with pink everything, I think his first instinct is to turn and run.

Vince Lombardi is considered to be the most successful professional football coach of all time. A popular story of Coach Lombardi comes to mind from his infamous "This is a Football" speech. During the first team meeting of the pre-season, the legendary coach would gather all of the players on his NFL team together in the locker room. He would hold up a football and say, "Gentlemen, this is a football." I do not doubt that the first time he ever said this to his team, he received many eyes rolling back at him.

I am probably in the minority with the following statement, but I love spring cleaning! I love the organization… the cleaning… the figurative breath of fresh air and the feeling of accomplishment that comes with a clutter-free space. I find that it promotes optimistic thoughts, helps me gain clarity, and creates a sense of success. There is just something about having a clean space that makes it easier to focus. My husband has very specific requirements when it comes to cooking… He needs all of the dishes to be put away and everything in its place before he can start dinner!