The professional then has to spend time explaining to the client that it took years for those signs of poor skin health and age to show and that one treatment is not going to make it all vanish. This response is usually met with an unsatisfied look on the client's face as they begrudgingly agree to follow the professional's lead and join the journey to restoring the health and youth of their skin.
The good news is that it may not always be like this moving forward; women and men are starting to take care of their skin's health at a younger age and are finally realizing the importance of preventative care in order to maintain their skin's health. It is an important job to help clients of all ages understand that prevention is just as important as correction and that once their skin is corrected, they will need to maintain the results by continuing preventative measures.
While professionals plan out how to help correct the client's skin in the spa, there are four main topicals that will help prevent and correct damaged skin before, during, and after professional treatments. In order to prevent and maintain great skin health, everyone should be using a broad spectrum sunscreen, vitamin C antioxidant, an exfoliant, and a pigment regulator.
SUN PROTECTION IS THE FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE:
Ninety percent of extrinsic aging comes from the sun's powerful rays. While most people know that using sunscreen is important, many of them are still falling short, refusing to wear sunscreen for a wide range of reasons. The two biggest complaints about sunscreens are its tactile feel and sensitivity issues. Clients should be educated on the difference between chemical and physical sunscreens and that the reason they are having sensitivity is because they are using sunscreens that contain chemical filters.
Chemical filters are widely used because they are cheap and they work. However, these ingredients can cause acne, irritation, and dermatitis in a large group of users. Although not all chemical sunscreens are substandard, they are, more often than not, the reason many clients do not like to wear sunscreen during the day. Offering clients a good mineral-based/physical sunscreen should eliminate these issues.
Traditional physical blockers, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, act as a shield that does not allow light rays to penetrate to the skin, thus protecting from a burn. Physical sunscreens have evolved since the days of lifeguards with white noses and have now been micronized to provide a soft and powdery finish to the skin. Offer clients daily sunscreen options that only use physical filters, are broad spectrum, and have a SPF of 30 or higher. Also, remind them that if they are out in the sun, they should be reapplying their sunscreen every hour in order to be fully protected.
ANTIOXIDANTS TO THE RESCUE
Once the client has been educated on proper sunscreen use, start the conversation of adding in a daily antioxidant to protect the skin from sun damage and to prevent from future signs of aging. Antioxidants are so important because they reverse damage that has already happened and prevent new damage from occurring. Clients should look for an antioxidant that protects from UVA, UVB, and infrared A in order to ensure that they are fully protected. UVA rays cause aging, while UVB rays cause burning; infrared A is a new term in skin care and comes from anything that induces heat. Scientists are now looking at heat and the role that it plays in the degradation of collagen and aging of the skin.
Sunscreen is never enough protection because, unfortunately, most of the population uses it incorrectly because they are not reapplying it throughout the day. When an antioxidant is formulated in such a way that its pH is acidic, it is in an aqueous base, contains pure L-ascorbic acid, and contains at least 10 to 20 percent of L-ascorbic acid; it will penetrate the skin and protect where sunscreen cannot. Antioxidants are where the real difference in skin health is made. Topical antioxidants have also been shown to reduce free radical damage, the cause of collagen and elastin breakdown. Topical vitamin C is also very lightening and brightening, so the skin tone is restored and evens out over time. The best way to describe the use of a topical vitamin C antioxidant product is that it is insurance for the skin and a two-for-one type of product: It provides correction and prevention at the same time.
OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW
Exfoliation is key to skin health and benefits all skin types. As people get older, their skin renews itself less frequently, giving way to a sallow and dull complexion. This color change can also lead to dead skin buildup, making the appearance of age spots more apparent. An unhealthy skin renewal cycle can also lead to clogged pores and acne flare ups. No matter what skin type a client presents with, exfoliation is key to good skin health. There is not a one-size-fits-all product recommendation when it comes to exfoliation as everyone's skin is different and varies on the levels of sensitivity.
Exfoliation can range from manual or chemical, with there being a variety of chemicals to choose from, depending on the client's skin. When recommending a manual exfoliation in the form of a skin scrub, be sure that the beads in the scrub are completely rounded to ensure that it will not cut and harm the skin. Some scrubs have jagged edges and leave small cuts along the surface of the skin that can lead to irritation and bacteria growth. There are also manual homecare brushes that can be used as a form of exfoliation. The other option for exfoliation is a chemical exfoliant, which works to dissolve dead skin cells, as well as thicken the underlying structure of skin over time. The most commonly used chemical exfoliants are retinoids, alpha hydroxy acids, and enzymes, all of which provide great results, depending on the sensitivity and need of the skin being treated.
The last preventative and corrective measure professionals should recommend is to incorporate a topical product that prevents and corrects the production of melanin in the skin, preferably a tyrosinase inhibitor. While hydroquinone is great at removing pigment, it is not an ingredient that clients should use long-term. Some of the most popular options in recent years include kojic acid, arbutin, mequinol, and azeliac acid. These ingredients should be used in the morning and at night for the best results. They will not only fade existing sun damage and melasma, but will also prevent any new spots from occurring.
There are many other topical products available that are also beneficial for skin health and can be added as needed. Treatments are also an important tool to prevent and correct the signs of aging and skin health. For example, chemical peels, facials, laser, microneedling, LED therapy, and other modalities will help to restore the client's skin. It is important, however, to recommend the proper homecare in order to maintain the results professionals worked so hard to provide for the client.
There should never be a concern that retailing homecare products would take away from how often a client goes to the spa for treatments. On the contrary, clients that follow a homecare regimen and go to the spa for treatments spend more time in the spa and are more valuable than those that do one over the other. If a client goes to the spa 12 times in a year, they need to be using the best homecare products during the other 353 days of the year in order to maintain the results that they receive from their treatments.
Aging never stops; it is a process that everyone undergoes and there is no end in sight. It should be made clear to clients that even if they receive the outcome they were seeking at the beginning of their skin care journey, they will end up right back where they started if they do not take care of their skin and follow a treatment plan.
When recommending homecare products, think of the general rule of four: prevent with an antioxidant, protect with a broad spectrum SPF, exfoliate with an acid, and depigment with the use of hydroquinone-free skin lighteners. Always refer to homecare products as insurance for the skin so that clients better understand that it is an investment they must make in order to maintain the health and balance of their skin.