New Clients Dos and Don'ts


One of the most important aspects for the success of your practice is how you are perceived as a professional. Creating a pathway of success is vital to developing a loyal and long-term repeat client. How well you listen and understand the concerns of each person discloses information that will support your treatment direction. Your knowledge of the skin (histology and pathology), your choice of treatment protocols, cosmetic chemistry, and communication skills are all essential when determining the best way to proceed with your client. You also are building a confidence level by partnering with them as they walk through their journey of keeping their skin as healthy and youthful as possible. This information is also applicable to all levels of modalities from facials to body treatments, manicures, and pedicures.



As soon as a client walks through your door and shakes your hand, you are beginning the consultation process through observation, conversation, and listening. Proceed with a multidimensional approach that includes a visual observation, a written health intake form, lifestyle assessment, examination through a skin diagnostic device, and verbal interview. Collectively, you are building the landscape for creating a skin management program that serves the needs of your client. Carefully listen to their concerns from their perspective. What are their expectations? This information is expanded upon through your evaluation process that unlocks a more in-depth window of the underlying issues that involve the condition of their skin. What they perceive and what you evaluate requires that you develop a synergy between both perspectives. As a professional, what we do is to also gently educate and share the biological aspects of why their skin is the way it is. Explain your philosophy and how you work with clients.


The next step is to write out a pathway of treatment that could take several weeks of commitment and dedication in order to obtain lasting results. This also includes being compliant to a homecare regimen that works in tandem with your in-clinic sessions. Product selection should be customized for their condition with ingredients that will support its correction. Explain why you are recommending the chosen products. A key factor is to support the barrier function and understand that correction takes time. Keep it simple. Don’t overwhelm with too many products. A new client requires an easy introduction into their skin correction program that may include coming in once a week for the next 30 days to help accelerate their program. Offer an introductory series at a special rate.



There may be instances where you may have to recommend the client visit their dermatologist, especially when viewing anomalies that may be pre-cancerous lesions. We are not a dermatologist and, therefore, cannot diagnose. However, in the event that something appears suspicious, suggest that it may be a good idea to have a skin check by a medical professional.


The Consultation Pathway

  • Determine the basic majority skin type – foundation of the analysis.
  • Establish level of cellular damage to determine treatment program or if the condition is treatable. Note the treatment choice and its effect on the cells and underlying systems, as well as risk factors.
  • Establish a pathway of treatment based on the findings.



Given our modern-day landscape of client diversity that includes age, health, genetic background, and lifestyle, the importance of obtaining a thorough skin assessment requires that we remain mindful of who they are and their past history that reveals what is possible for a successful outcome of treatment.


During your consultation, an important phase is to evaluate a client’s level of commitment and what may be a realistic result. How you introduce them to a new concept will help with their decision.



At each session, perform a miniature evaluation with the client. What are they noticing about their skin? If they are following protocols at-home and attending regular appointments, there may be marked improvements. When they are trying to correct years of neglect, poor habits, environmental exposure, or health issues, the level of correction will be based on the biological age of their cells. There is a difference between biological age and chronological age. It may take several weeks to several months to help restore the skin to a better level of health.


Moreover, when there is a history of disease, including cancer, or taking medication, the skin will respond to the level that it is able given their history. The same holds true when they have a lifestyle that includes smoking, alcohol consumption, or poor diet. There is a total mind, body, and spirit connection with obtaining skin correction.


Focus on what positive affects you notice about their skin from their last appointment. Adjust their program as needed and become a positive role model and mentor for them.



Alexandria Zani



Alexandra J. Zani is an international educator, licensed instructor, speaker, author, and researcher in the professional skin care industry (medical and spa). Her career has included business ownership and management, consulting, product development, and author for textbooks and industry trade publications. Academic background includes cell biology and medical technology. Zani has received numerous advanced certifications, both in the Unites States and abroad, in the dermal sciences, spa therapies, microcurrent, LED, and non-ablative laser. Zani is on the Education Commission of the International Association for Applied Corneotherapy, is a member of NCEA (National Coalition of Estheticians, Associations and Distributors), and is certified in Oncology Esthetics and the Pastiche Method of Skin Analysis. She presents education for advanced aesthetic technology and treatment and is a specialist in longevity, including the effects of nutrition, lifestyle, and the mind-body connection. Zani is the owner and director of AEsthani Skincare Institute, LLC in Greenville, South Carolina and is also co-founder of Intellective Aesthetics, dedicated to post-graduate aesthetics studies.

Client Acquisition and Retention: The Importance of Follow-Ups

I remember a time where advanced services in the aesthetics industry were limited. When I started to have my legs waxed in my early teenage years there was literally one person in town who offered the service. In later years, not very long ago, I worked in a spa where we were the first to bring laser technology into the community and, therefore, we were the only (not the first) choice. It was good for us, and later gained market share and ended up being the first choice rather than the only choice, but my goodness has times changed?


Today, we live in a time where clients have a choice on where they want to spend their disposable income. It does not matter the treatment, what does matter is the knowledge and services you bring to the table, and how you nurture the relationship with the client who chose to spend their hard-earned money with you. When we fail to impress our clients, they will inevitably trade us in with the spa a few blocks down who has their customer service built into their daily protocols and nurture the relationship well.


The top question I get from the spas I work with to streamline in-house protocols for customer service is why they should invest the time and money into it when they get new clients through their doors all the time?


Over more than a decade of tracking numbers, the truth is that it is much more expensive to acquire a new client than it is to retain existing clients. The Pareto Principle also surfaces when we do a deep dive into numbers and see that 80% of the revenue really does come from 20% or your clients. What would it mean to your bottom line if you can increase the frequency, spending, and lifetime (in your business) of all your clients?


Here are the top strategies my clients and I find make a 30% or more improvement to the bottom line when implemented. I hope it does to yours too.



We are in the service industry and it is an opportunity to have our clients feel sensational by notating, remembering, and celebrating the things important to them, like birthdays, anniversaries and other important dates. Sometimes a simple acknowledgment is enough through e-mail or better yet – a real card in the post. Other times, it an opportunity to do something special for our regular clients. I am and never will be an advocate for discounts, I am a fan adding value. Spend a few minutes longer and add an extra massage to the facial. Perhaps you prefer adding a service like an eyelash tint instead? The point is to go the extra mile and it does not have to come at a huge cost.



This one might seem obvious, yet, it never ceases to amaze me that the obvious is rarely followed up on. When a client trusts you enough to send their loved ones to you, thank them. A discount is the most common way to acknowledge such a referral.

Personally, we have always had the policy to upgrade as a thank you. Yes, we upgrade the facial to the next level or add technology to their treatment (such as an LED service add-on), that way we are not out of pocket and it is extra-luxurious to spend more time with the client at their next service. The minute such a referral comes in, take the extra step to look up the referee’s next appointment and call them in person to thank them and to their service. If they don’t have their next appointment booked, upgrade their usually booked service right then and there. You just retained that individual if they have not yet rebooked.



Ever went to the hair salon and dropped some good money on a fabulous cut and color? You now made the investment and want to maintain the color for as long as possible, so you buy all the stuff the hairdresser recommended, to maintain good homecare, but can’t remember if it was one shampoo or a double shampoo? How often did she say to use the hair mask? We do the same in the world of skin. Rush through the consultation, make recommendations, and look forward to seeing them when they pop in for their next facial, or wax, or other services. When you have a protocol in place to follow-up on sales and services you will be surprised how clients take the time to tell you they never had their aesthetician phone them three days after the purchase of their skin care regimen to hear how things are going for them. They are simply wowed.

I highly recommend building an in-house system where you know when clients had a specific service for the first time and purchased a specific product for the first time (if they are regulars). If they are new, it is obvious that it is their first time buying any product or service from you. Have time in your schedule every day to make a few calls to these first-time occurrences and follow-up to check in at the three day mark. It is not a cost of your time, it is an investment into your future to the tune of 30%, according to clients we tracked over 18 months.



There are times when business is a little slower than the norm, and when you have a team it is dreaded. I recommend you see it as a great opportunity to get some education on the books, catch-up on some cleaning, and making sure clients don’t fall through the cracks and trade you in for a new aesthetician. How? Invite them in for a follow-up consultation. If you have diagnostic equipment it is a great time to pull a report of the clients that have not been back in to see you in 12 to 24 weeks (danger time for being traded) and get new diagnostic images or measurements done. It is always easier to reconnect with your clients in-person than it is to do so over the phone or e-mail.



Do you utilize a powerful consultation to set expectations for six to 12 months with all your clients? Especially new clients must be informed of how they can work with you.


I have been a longtime advocate of an in-depth consultation for the first appointment. This allows you to really get to know a client, understand their risk factors, contraindications, and allow you to prepare a long-term treatment and homecare plan for clients.


When they know that it is my expectation to see them every week for six weeks and then monthly for maintenance treatments with an invitation to book these in advance, they are far more likely to do so than when I never even ask for the booking to start with. Don’t assume clients know when they should be in – to extend the invitation. I recommend you guide all treatment plans for clients by clearly stating what you will start with and what you will move onto.


For example, “We will start with a six week facial program to repair skin barrier function and control cellular inflammation. After that, we will have a reassessment of your skin, and it is the intention at that point that we will start to bring in antiaging protocols into your regimen. I assess you are a good candidate and recommend collagen induction therapy for the next phase of treatments, and that means your homecare protocol will involve (insert homecare recommendations) and treatments will occur every four to six weeks for a minimum of six treatments. Can I book these for you today?”


It does not matter if you have to adjust the appointments in a few weeks or months – get them in because you want clients to understand that it is a long-term relationship just like healthy eating and exercise. You can add all recommendations in this consultation. I use a year-long calendar where I draft a rough plan for clients and get at least their first six treatments on the books. You can also book your entire team’s appointments this way.


This is one of my favorite topics and there could be 10 or 15 tips to share. For now, I encourage you to pick two or three of these strategies and implement them into your daily spa protocols. Lead your clients and reap the rewards of the relationships.




2019 Rene Serbon



René Serbon is an international skin expert. She started her education focusing on business studies (marketing) and then moved to aesthetics. She began studying in New Zealand and completed training in beauty therapy (called aesthetics in Canada and the United States), as well as electrolysis through the New Zealand Institute of Electrolysis and Beauty Therapy. Serbon sat for international examinations and is a diplomat of both CIBTAC and CIDESCO. She completed post-graduate training in laser, IPL, and the Pastiche Method of Advanced Skin Analysis, for which Serbon was later an honoree as a Pastiche recognized educator. She also serves on the board of education for the International Association for Applied Corneotherapy.

How to Effectively Rebook Clients

If you are not rebooking each client after their service you are not only doing yourself a disservice, but your client as well. I often hear other providers saying they feel uncomfortable or pushy when asking clients if they’d like to rebook for the following month. Most providers assume if the client wants to rebook that they will do so themselves, this is not always the case. Our clients rely on us for our professional opinion and expertise. It is our obligation as their skin care provider to create a treatment plan and pathway for them to reach their goal. If you are not rebooking your client after each appointment, I can promise you they are thinking, you don’t want them or value them as a client or that you flat out just don’t care. You don’t know what to do next or they think you don’t have a pressing need to continue treatment.



When it comes to rebooking clients, there are several effective practices I use. During the client consultation, I ask my client what it is that they dislike the most about their skin. I then create a detailed treatment pathway or what I like to call my plan of action to help them obtain their skin goals. I always discuss my plan of action, so that my client is aware of my intentions from our very first encounter and rescheduling after each appointment is a no brainer.


Another effective practice I use to increase the likelihood of my client rescheduling is talking about my game plan for their next treatment during their service. This is a wonderful way to paint a picture of the next treatment in your client’s head and get them motivated. This is personally my favorite technique to getting clients to rebook. Not only will talking about next month’s service during their current treatment entice them to rebook, but it also gives you an opportunity to educate them on the benefits of it.


Finally, my most effective tip for rebooking clients is to tell them – don’t ask. I do this every single time I rebook a client. I never ask them if they would like to rebook for next month or give them the option to reschedule with me. I simply say, “I’m going to book you four weeks out for your next treatment, what day(s) work best for you typically?” I have yet to have someone tell me no. Yes, I know, this takes a lot of confidence. but it speaks volumes to your client when you know what you want to do with their skin and act. Don’t forget that you are in charge – you are the professional.



 When it comes to following up with clients, I always send out “thank you” e-mails 48 hours after their scheduled appointment. Sending out a simple “thank you” e-mail is an easy way to show your clients you appreciate them and casually remind them to rebook with you next month. I will also reach out to my clients who have received more invasive treatments or require more attention either 48 hours or two weeks after their treatments (depending on what type of treatment they had done). Following up with your clients is imperative to a healthy client relationship and it increases client retention. This also shows them that you truly care for them and value them as a client. There are many talented and skilled skin care professionals in this industry, but what can make you stand out is your unmatched client care and interpersonal skills. Not everyone has the personality to be able to deal with clients effectively and build strong interpersonal relationships. I personally follow up with my acne bootcamp clients bi-weekly to make sure everything is going well with their homecare and to check in on their skin’s progress. I truly believe following up with clients increases their desire to rebook and reschedule with me time and time again.



Another way to increase your client’s desire to rebook is by educating them. Education is the foundation of a successful client and provider relationship. I firmly believe the more your clients know and understand about their skin care products and treatments, the more willing and likely they are to do it. I educate my clients on every treatment I perform on them and every single product they go home with.


The most important tip to successfully rescheduling and rebooking clients is to educate and communicate with them, set goals, and create a plan of action. Be sure your clients are thoroughly aware of your treatment plan and are fully educated on the all of the services and products you recommend for them. Remember to always discuss their next service during their treatment and to rebook them before they leave. Most importantly, always follow up with your clients and make sure they know you care about them.



Savanna Boda





Savanna Boda is a licensed medical aesthetician, laser technician, and advanced permanent makeup artist in Dallas, Texas. She specializes in corrective skin care and microblading.

Finding New Clients in a New Decade

Social media, engagement, content creation, and organic posts versus paid promotions – these are the topics everyone ponders when thinking about how to attract new clients. But, before you can even begin to address these, you may need to take a step back and assess your brand. Who are we? What does it look like and sound like? What is the mission, vision, values, identity, voice, and personality? If you can answer these questions first, you’ll have a solid foundation on which to build a successful strategy that delivers the right new clients. Without this foundation, you’re just throwing mud against the wall hoping something sticks. So, to help you begin building your foundation, I turned to some experts in the space. I began with Alexandra Frumberg, the founder of ALX Creatives – a brand and social strategy agency. I asked Frumberg how defining your brand can lead to growth, new clients, and more. “There is one thing we have unwavering control over online and that is our brand story. This is the key to success.” These are her top three recommendations for getting started:


When you have a clear mission and purpose, everyone feels the authenticity of your story and your brand. From there you can develop the pillars that support that mission both visually and verbally. This is called your brand identity. Once you know who you are as a brand, you can identify who your target customer is.


Consistency is the key to unlocking powerful brand awareness. When your audience can identify your company voice and visual representation, you are in a good space to grow. Your user should have the same experience online engaging with your brand as your customer has in your physical space. What does your physical space look like? Your brand must also be able to evolve with digital media because the velocity of change is at an all-time high. Your brand should translate across multiple channels and be strong enough to apply to different and new channels (one example is Facebook versus Instagram Stories). That’s how you stay relevant over time.



Give love to your audience and they will mirror it. Be authentic, real, and open. Create a compelling community they want to support. Design a digital strategy to target and engage your audience across touchpoints with these ideas (above) in mind. Start by establishing a content calendar for Facebook and Instagram. This should include clear content goals and categories built to educate, inspire, and entertain. From there you can layer in an influencer strategy and a paid ads program. Today Facebook and Instagram are a pay to play. Period. Find a strong specialist who can manage your ads. Your ads should get people to stop scrolling. They should feel organic yet grab their attention.

What are your recommendations for transforming customers into fanatics and advocates?

1. Add value, not noise. If you believe a product or service adds value, find success stories, and illustrate. Rinse and repeat.


2. Find a customer(s) that believes you have transformed their life in some way. Inspire them to tell their story. Video and share. People trust other people online before they will trust you.3. There is an addictive quality to feeling part of something. Embed them in your culture by building relationships that are personal. Get your team on board.

Today we are in a new era of the “relatable influencer.” Consumers are fed up with fake. They want to relate. Trending hashtags like #nofilter and #nomakeup will continue to grow in popularity. Think about these concepts as you identify your brand personality in the context of attracting new clients. Aesthetic medicine is no longer just about vanity but about #selfcare, #wellness, and #skinhealth. Use this messaging to attract these clients, because changing how they think about aging starts with changing the way we talk about aging. Develop strategic collaborations around these concepts that fit your brand.


Now that you’re on your way to building (or rebuilding) your brand, how do you identify those target customers? I turned to another strategist, Adam Haroun of BrandingMD, about developing a profile of your best client or super customer. In his book “Now the Patient Will See You,” Haroun recommends creating a buyer persona and then crafting a message that resonates with prospects just like them. Tap into your business's most passionate (and profitable) clients to discover more just like them. In fact, you may find you have three or four different profiles that represent all your best clients. Begin by mining your data and don’t be afraid to spend a few days on this. Look through your client database and profile the best.• Who followed the treatment plan?• Who was compliant with homecare?• Which combination therapies did they purchase?• Did they purchase a series or package?• How did they find you?• Where do your reviews and referrals come from?• What else do you know about them? How your super customer spends their time is as insightful as to how they spend their money.


Many aesthetic providers worry about competition and competitive pricing, but Haroun believes obscurity is the real problem facing most (medical) spas today. Decide what it is you do best. Be specific. Focus on that. Don’t cast to a wide of a net because when you make your universe a little smaller you become a little bit bigger in that space. And about competing on price – don’t There’s nothing wrong with offering little savings or the occasional promotion, but don’t compete on price. It’s a death spiral. Lifestyle lift competed on price and they went out of business. Don’t be them – let your competition be them. Consider this, Rolex doesn’t sell watches. You get a watch when you buy a Rolex, but that’s not the reason you buy it. You’re buying a feeling, status, elegance, sophistication. Rolex doesn’t run sales. Like Rolex, your clients are purchasing more than a treatment. What are you really selling? You’re selling solutions, skin health, and self-confidence. This is one way you overcome price objections and differentiate yourself because the price is only an issue in the absence of value. What is your value? Look to underserved markets for new clients. Groups that are exploding right now include men (especially millennial men), the LGBTQIA+ community, and teenagers. How will you tap into these markets? And don’t forget about new treatments and emerging treatment categories.


Haroun shared one of his favorite sayings, that “success leaves clues”. In other words, by looking at examples of industry leaders and modeling the branding principles they follow, you too can enjoy similar outstanding results. So, take a few micro-steps that drive meaningful change. Start with some of these ideas and #gogogo.


Leah Argento





Leah Argento is an Illinois licensed aesthetician and licensed continuing education provider. An experienced business development manager and sales professional, Argento currently keeps busy as a national training and education manager for The HydraFacial Company.

Stillwater Spa

Nestled high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains at the acclaimed Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe resort, Stillwater Spa features 16 treatment rooms including two couple’s sanctuaries, one with a fireplace and one with an infinity soaking tub.  Guests who book a treatment at the spa have access to its amenities, which includes a dry cedar sauna, eucalyptus steam room, and specialized relaxation areas, along with a state-of-the-art fitness center. 


The Stillwater Spa introduces their new “Journey to Wellness” treatment menu. The new services are designed to promote balance, mindfulness, and overall, well-being. They include the TARA Spa Therapy which uses a massage oil infused with Cannabidiol (CBD) oil, the ANDA Facial which features a guided self-love meditation followed by a cleansing massage and facial mask, an Aroma Wellness Journey massage infused with a custom blend of essential oils that reflect the guest’s pre-selected wellness intention, and an illuminating body peel and performance wrap featuring a blend of vitamin D and natural exfoliators – 75 minutes for $260.


For more information or to book a treatment or services at Stillwater Spa & Salon at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort Spa and Casino, please visit or call (775) 886-6745.



Understanding Bioactive Peptides: Targeting Efficacy

Peptides have become an increasingly popular ingredient for both natural and effective skin revision, wound healing, and compromised skin barriers. The high demand for more natural, non-invasive products has escalated rapidly in the last five years. This demand has shifted the industry to provide a broad-spectrum of peptides. This article will focus predominately on bioactive peptides and how this class of peptides work in alignment with cellular communication and is effective for improving many skin conditions.


The American Medical Dictionary’s definition of peptides is “Any member or class of compounds of low molecular weight that yield two or more amino acids on hydrolysis.”1 Peptides are also described as dipeptides, tripeptides, and tetrapeptides. depending upon the number of amino acids in the molecule. Simply stated, peptides are a chain of two or more amino acids chemically bonded together to work directly with the cells.



Bioactive peptides are considered the highest standard of peptides because of efficacy and their ability to function with the biological system of the body. In biology, to be considered bioactive, four rules must be met. These rules are:

  1. It must meet threshold requirement
  2. the correct message must be transferred
  3. it must fit into the biological feedback loop
  4. it must be received to the target cells

Let’s examine each of these rules individually to understand the term, bioactive.


To meet threshold requirements, a stimulus must produce a result. Many stimuli occur in the body, but not all are effective or elicit a change in the cells. The precise dosage or higher concentration of the stimulus is required to produce a result or change in the targeted cell. Logically, the higher the concentration, the higher the response rate or change that will occur. An example would be medications. The higher the dosage – the better the result.


The correct message implies that precise communication is needed. Cells function optimally when communication occurs on a regular basis. If communication is disrupted, misinterpreted, or ceased cells will not function properly, therefore, cells identify with a specific language to their own.



For example, peptide activity begins in the transference of DNA to RNA. At the early stage of activity, DNA is transcribed to RNA. During this stage, RNA is transcribed and transferred into amino acids. Amino acids are then joined by a chemical bond, forming a peptide. Peptides proceed to provide messages to cells; therefore, peptides are naturally programmed in our cellular network. Our complex cellular system is designed to produce a highly functioning organization. It is possible for the smallest peptide (a pair) to form a large, interconnected network of communication within the cells. This direct communication allows the cells to receive a correct and identifiable message.


An example of this type of messaging would be human communication. When just two people are communicating, the message is understood and is usually not distorted. However, when several people are involved in delivering a message, it becomes unclear and distorted. Communication is most clear when the distance is shorter and fewer interferences are involved.



The biofeedback loop is best illustrated as a course of functions that occur beginning from one destination and transferred to another successfully. An example of a biofeedback loop would be when T3 or T4 levels of the thyroid that are out of balance or lack homeostasis. This loop is initiated in a section of the brain, the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus releases a hormone called thyrotropin releasing hormone (TRH). Thyrotropin releasing hormone travels to the anterior pituitary which then releases thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) to the thyroid. The thyroid releases hormones, T3 and T4 concentrations in the blood to restore homeostasis. Homeostasis occurs if normal T3 and T4 concentrations and normal body temperature are present. If T3 and T4 concentration levels are low or the body temperature is too low, homeostasis does not occur. The loop continues until homeostasis is achieved.


Bioactive peptides must be received by the target cells to be effective. Bioactive peptides are naturally occurring in the body. Example of natural peptide messages would be oxytocin (stimulates contractions during labor), insulin (regulate blood glucose to the muscles), bradykinin (inhibits inflammation of tissues), neurotransmitter that controls nerve impulses, and enkephalins (assists with pain control). A small peptide (thyrotropin releasing hormone) communicates the precisive balance for metabolism.


Bioactive peptides provide many opportunities for optimal skin health. Bioactive peptides provide many functions to cells and organs. Some of these functions include signaling the fibroblast cells, assisting the mitochondria to produce energy, repairing and enhancing natural defense mechanisms, assisting healing processes, and modulating enzymes during melanogenesis.


As the demand for natural yet effective active ingredients increase, bioactive peptides provide a precise, targeted, and effective tool for skin revision and rejuvenation.




  1. American Medical Dictionary, www.americanmedicaldictionary/peptides



Susan Wade 2019




Susan Wade is a licensed aesthetician joining Viktoria De’Ann Peptide Cosmeceuticals in 2015 as the director of education and sales after being in the health and education industry for over 18 years. She has a master’s in higher education administration and enjoys sharing her wealth of knowledge with physicians, clinicians, and students nationwide. Wade has a diverse background beyond aesthetics as a college instructor in kinesiology and business, is an owner of a successful sports conditioning business, and is a nutrition coach. Her passion lies in understanding the complexities of physiology, nutrition, and biology and educating practitioners how to incorporate these areas to reach better solutions and successful results with their clients.

How to Enhance the Rejuvenating Effects of Peels

Peels remain one of most powerful, non-surgical ways to deliver the youthful appearance so many clients strive to achieve. Today however, peels offer so much more than pro-youth results. They can be dialed in to correct or manage very specific skin challenges from acne to pigmentation issues and even sensitive and rosacea skins.


There is an art form to chemical peeling that comes with an understanding of skin, knowledge of the variety of solutions and how they affect the skin, as well as technique. Particularly with the advancements in peel formulas we now have available to us, understanding the dynamics of peels will go a long way in helping you identify how to create customized treatments for clients and enhance the outcomes.


Let’s look at some of these formulas, how they can be used, and some ways you can start to build upon your peel treatments to deliver enhanced rejuvenating results.



Chemical peels came into practice in dermatology in the late 1800s when salicylic acid, resorcinol, phenol, and TCA were primary choices for rejuvenating and brightening the skin. Over the decades, as dermatologists and chemists began experimenting with different formulations and applications, they started seeing promising results. Chemical peels soon became a popular choice among skin care professionals because it gave them a way to get true change and results on the skin.


Thanks to the emergence of next-generation acid formulas, we’ve been able to tailor treatments more specifically and, in many cases, enhance the efficacy. We’ve also been able to get results with skin types that normally would not be considered a peel candidate.



Obtained from hibiscus chalices and lotus root, these acids give back to the skin cells and are much friendlier to the skin than most other choices. The properties range from high antioxidant support to increasing hydration in the skin, while creating lifting and exfoliation. These are ideal for acne and sensitive skins.



Mandelic acid is highly beneficial in treating photo-aging, acne, rosacea, and irregular pigmentation. This complex increases cellular energy, provides antioxidants helping to prevent the formation of free radicals, and increases wound healing with the amino acid l-arginine. L-arginine is one of the 20 main amino acids. It accelerates wound healing, promotes collagen synthesis, firms and intensifies antioxidant properties.



This blend stimulates the natural desquamation process and with the addition of peptides and the chiral form of carnitine, it will intensify the toning and firming of the skin, while also supporting energy production within the mitochondria. The vitamin A derivative converts to retinoic acid and is a DNA regulator. It assists in the synthesis of collagen, aids in the formation of blood vessels, and encourages healthy cell formation. Retinols are very important to support the cellular injury and give back to the fibroblast cells caused by other acids.



This blend is highly beneficial for photo-damaged skin. It stimulates blood flow and increases oxygenation, brightens skin tone, and reduces pigmentation. Hydrogen peroxide delivers brightening benefits, antibacterial support, and it synergizes with other acids to assist with absorption. Alpha hydroxy acids such as glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acid rejuvenate, hydrate, and strengthen collagen and are excellent choices for acne skin.


These acid combinations fall into the superficial range, creating minimal to no downtime. Still, they deliver potent rejuvenating results. As exciting as these new formulations are, a conversation about peels is not complete without addressing some of the tried-and-true classics. These time-tested formulas, many of which you are likely familiar with, also provide superficial, epidermal exfoliation and work to reverse the visible signs of aging.



These are naturally occurring, nontoxic, organic acids. The most commonly used alpha hydroxy acids include glycolic and l-lactic acid. These acids loosen the desmosome junctions (glue-like substance) that hold the cells together.



Created by oxygenating oleic acid azelaic acid is unsaturated fatty acid found in milk fats and grains, such as barley and wheat. This is used as a lightening, lifting and antibacterial agent.



A beta hydroxy acid and is a relatively safe, low-risk acid, as it is self-neutralizing and produces a drying and lifting effect. It also dissolves layers of the epidermis and depending on the percentage used can create heavy lifting of the cells.



TCA penetrates only if it used in an aqueous base. It is nontoxic, self-neutralizing, keratolytic, and is very effective in low strengths. It can be used alone or in tandem with other acids to create a deep exfoliation.



A combination of lower-strength acids (salicylic, resorcinol, and lactic acid) Jessner peels synergize to produce an efficient exfoliating agent with less risk.



An all-natural acid with a high antioxidant content and creates a firming and tightening effect on the skin. Though not proven, it is said to produce exfoliation with less free-radical damage, and thus cause less injury to the skin.

Keep in mind, these classics may be used to create customized treatments, as it all comes down to education, knowing the client’s skin, and the results you both want to achieve. In addition to layering and blending these complex solutions, treatments may further be enhanced and customized with advanced technologies. While we can enhance treatments by blending specific acids or integrating other modalities, success and desired results is absolutely dependent on good pre- and post-care.



Pre- and post-care treatments can be easy to overlook. However, these will have a significant impact on results and should be a part of every peel.


Why? Think of it like an artist. Before they begin a painting, they prime the canvas and once they’ve finished, they seal it to preserve their masterpiece. The skin, much like a canvas, needs to be primed to stimulate the rejuvenation process and prepare the skin for what is to come. Following the peel or any resurfacing treatment, the skin needs to be rebuilt and brought back to optimal health with proper wound care.



Pre-treatment will vary based on the skin type and the goal of the treatment. This is an opportunity to create a truly custom treatment based on your client’s skin care needs and desired results. The following are a few pre-treatment ideas based on skin challenges.



For clients who may have pigmentation issues, higher Fitzpatricks or if you are performing a deep peel, using a brightener or tyrosinase inhibitor will help suppress melanin, and may help eliminate post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), as well as brighten overall skin tone. This process will also pave the way for the acid formula to penetrate deeper. Ingredient suggestions: bellis perennis flower, l-arbutin, kojic acid, and l-lactic acid.



Antibacterial support prior to treatment will not only help eliminate bacteria, but also the potential for excessive purging that occurs with acne skin. Ingredient suggestions include salicylic acid, totarol, and azelaic acid.


Acne Scarring

Depending on the build-up underneath skin, performing a pre-treatment will help enhance results, however a more aggressive approach is needed. Ingredient suggestions: salicylic serum, glycolic acid, L-lactic acid.



The right pre-treatment can help stimulate collagen and elastin and support healing. It will also prepare the epidermis for acid penetration. Ingredient suggestion include an encapsulated vitamin A.


Rough and Thicker Texture

A more aggressive pre-treatment will help stimulate the skin and begin to soften the epidermis for optimal acid penetration. Ingredient suggestions include glycolic acid, L-lactic acid, and retinol.


Sensitive Skin

For sensitive, rosacea-prone or thinner skin, a pre-treatment will start the building process, help the epidermis layer loosen, increase energy, and provide anti-inflammatory and antibacterial support. Ingredient suggestions: mandelic acid, arginine, phytic acid, pyruvic acid, and vitamin A.


Pre-treatment will ready the skin’s surface by reducing lipids, decreasing inflammation, suppressing melanin, and helping to ensure greater absorption of the peeling solution. Skin care professionals should suggest a one to two week pre-treatment plan for best results.



When performing peels, you are creating a controlled injury in the skin that disrupts the protective barrier resulting in a wound. Supporting the skin through the trauma will ensure proper healing and reduce the probability of complications. Note that a peel should never be performed if you are not prepared to treat the complications of that peel.


Common post-peel complications include:

  • Pruritus (itching) – post-peel itching is common for many skin types and not just sensitive skin. Hydrocortisone and willow herb – a natural cortisone will help soothe and calm the skin during the peeling process.
  • Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) – this is often caused by picking, so be sure to educate clients about the importance of not picking the skin that is peeling. If clients are particularly prone to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, send them home with epidermal growth factors to support the healing and repair process.
  • Discomfort or pain – this will generally ease after the first 24 hours; however, you can support clients with ingredients that will reduce inflammation and provide cooling, soothing relief. Arnica Montana is a wonderful, natural ingredient for this.

While there are other complications that may occur, ingredients that support healing, and provide anti-inflammatory and soothing support will be important components following any corrective procedure that uses acids or intense enzymes. It is vital to add epidermal growth factor to the skin during the peeling phase and, of course, an sun protectant factor with a clean ingredient deck is essential.


Taking the time to learn the art of peels will be the best way to enhance their rejuvenating results. When you have a solid, foundational knowledge of the dynamics of peels, you will be better prepared to see the ways to manipulate them to create the outcomes you and your client want.



2019 Shannon Esau




Shannon Esau is the CEO and national educator at Rhonda Allison Cosmeceuticals where she oversees the company’s strategic growth, development of new product formulations and innovations, and the educational and instructional programming, which is offered to aesthetic professionals around the globe. She brings nearly 20 years’ experience in the aesthetic industry, as well as a strong background in business and corporate development and growth.

Taking Action in 2020: Knowledge is Not Power

If we live in the information age, why is there a lack of knowledge? We literally have access to more data today than any other time in history, yet there is still a deficiency of wisdom and insight. Furthermore, many of us have believed the more we study, take classes, read books, seek knowledge, and get degrees or certifications, the more power we will have. If knowledge was power, then libraries would be the most power institutions in the world. Knowledge alone is not power – action is.



What is the best way to lose weight and get in shape? Move more and consume less. Everyone has this knowledge. Is this knowledge powerful? By knowing that if I move more and eat less, will I automatically get into shape? Until I put this knowledge into practice and act on my understanding, there is no power.


How does this relate to our businesses? There are over 300,000 results when you search business books on amazon. You could read your whole life on how to start a business, improve a business, hire and fire employees, and then become a millionaire. but at the end of the day it is up to you, as the entrepreneur to put these strategies to work. Maya Angelou said it best, “Nothing will work unless you do.”


What are some of the most powerful things as entrepreneurs we should be acting on in our businesses?



Put a reminder on your dashboard, mirror, computer, phone, and so on. Action is power. Your to-do lists and tasks are your power.



We’ve all heard we need to have a vision or mission statement but how do we take action on this? Write it down, communicate it with your staff, put in your e-mail signature, or share it on social media. Your vision and mission communicate your direction and how you add value to your clients and employees. It says, “This is who we are, and this is what we do.” Unless this is written down and shared your vision has no power.


Know and act on your strengths and weaknesses. Know what you are good and bad at. You cannot be good at everything. Furthermore, no one likes to do everything. When it comes to skill deficiency either: develop or delegate.


Early on, you will be doing most, if not, all the work. Eventually, you will need to hire and train staff. This is where policies and procedures become your friend. Policies and procedures are the action items that must get done in your business to deliver value to clients. Where to act – write down what you are good at. Write down what you are bad at or do not like doing. For your bad list either develop the skill or delegate to an outside source or employee. The difference of easy and hard is knowing and not knowing. Once you improve and gain experience in a skill it becomes easier and, in the future, you can train someone else to do that same skill.



Staying customer focused means putting the customer at the center of all business decisions. Simply ask, “How will this benefit my customers?” If it does not – then don’t do it. The action item becomes, “How am I communicating this benefit to my customers?” Maintaining a customer centric culture is up to the primary leader within each business. Ultimately, this is a part of the vision and mission of the business and the action items. The more we focus on helping clients the more the business will grow.



Figures don’t lie, but liars do figure. I am very passionate about business owners understanding how they make and spend money. Having power over your numbers is knowing and setting up your business to be financially sustainable. Understanding your numbers ranges from pricing, per treatment costs, working with a professional-only manufacturer, sales per appointment, rent, utilities, and so on. Where to act – perform a break-even analysis, calculate sales per hour need to be sustainable, and a monthly review of your profit and loss statement to see where revenue and expenses go.


Profit is the lifeblood of a business and just as humans cannot sustain life without blood, our businesses cannot sustain without profit. Knowing and acting on our numbers helps us keep tabs on our businesses pulse – the more we understand the numbers the more we understand the health of our business and can act on it.



If you lack the ability to hold yourself and others accountable, then act. Find a mentor or someone who has successfully run a business for 10 plus years to help. Tips on selecting a business coach.


If they were really successful running their businesses – why did they stop? Ask them to show you their financials when they ran their company. As the saying goes, ‘One cannot teach what they do not know…” There are several great resources available but remember they are selling their knowledge and what do we know about knowledge?


It is 2020 and there is more data available now than ever in the history of humankind. Our power as business owners does not increase with more access to the information or even the knowledge that can be gleaned from this data. The action items listed above give us insight into ways we can improve our businesses for our clients. But simply knowing these things means little because knowledge is not power but acting is.



2019 Drew Coleman





Drew Coleman is the vice president of education and sales for DMK International. His professional passion is to help business owners maximize their potential by benchmarking and identifying growth opportunities. Coleman’s 17-year career has been dedicated to helping businesses grow. He loves the aesthetics industry because of the passionate business owners he works with every day.

What Does Holistic Skin Correction Really Mean?

Western medical schools study cadavers, while Traditional Chinese Medicine studied and documented patterns of the human body for thousands of years while the bodies were still alive. They were able to establish patterns that continued to repeat in the human body, illnesses, and in nature.

Western medicine continues their dissection methods in an attempt at controlling symptoms. This is what’s known as allopathic medicine.



Traditional Chinese Medicine looks at any manifestation of symptoms, whether in the body or on the skin, as a warning or a sign that something is wrong – there is an out of balance in the body. The goal in Traditional Chinese Medicine is always to find balance and create harmony in the body, so the body can restore optimal function. This philosophy is what holistic truly means, it gets to the bottom of the symptoms and the reason why the body responded in a particular manner.


Our body communicates with us 24/7. When something is wrong, it starts with a whisper. Say we eat a meal that doesn’t agree with us, perhaps we experience bloating or gas. If we continue eating meals that our body doesn’t like, we may notice changes in our complexion, our skin may become dry, or our digestion might slow down. Then one morning in the mirror, we notice a line or pigment spot that we swear wasn’t there before going to bed. How can this be? There is a reason.


Continue ignoring the communication further, the body will respond with screams as loud as a toddler’s temper tantrum. It’s going to get our attention one way or another.


The root cause doesn’t have to start with a bad meal. It can start with negative thoughts or emotions. Since Traditional Chinese Medicine knows every emotion is tied to an organ and body system, it makes sense when the body creates a rash, mark, or wrinkle in a certain area of the skin, and this makes no sense to the western world.



Let’s look at emotions in a different way for a second. If a person experiences sadness, it shows on their face and internal changes happen in the body. The face may look heavier, the skin might get flaky, and lines can develop around the eyes and on the lower portion of the face.


Emotions can affect digestion, sleep patterns, and it lowers the immune system dramatically. If the sadness isn’t resolved it can turn to deep grief. Lines on the face become deeper, longer, and appear in additional areas of the face. Skin conditions, such as eczema can develop, where western medicine would attempt to control the symptoms. Western aesthetics would either spot treat the area affected or be unsure of how to treat it.


Traditional Chinese Medicine and aestheticians who are trained in the philosophies and strategies look at manifestations as clues. An in-depth consultation including medical history, food energetics (completely different than nutrition), water in-take, ingredient energetics (completely different than ingredient benefits), sleep patterns, medicine, supplements, emotions, environment, and lifestyle must be discussed to determine the most appropriate, customized treatment protocol to balance the disharmony. This is holistic skin correction.


Neuroscientists have recently discovered that the skin secretes hormones, including cortisol and estrogen. The skin has the same stress axis as found in the central nervous system called the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. They have also discovered that unresolved emotions will manifest on the skin; something Traditional Chinese Medicine has known for thousands of years.



These discoveries clearly show aestheticians and emotions play a much larger role in the overall health of their clientele than previously thought.


The world of aesthetics is quickly evolving as holistic and wellness-based treatments are becoming more popular. There are 120 skin types recognized by Chinese medicine, while aesthetics schools teach five skin types. The days of the one size fits all facial is becoming a thing of the past.


Holistic aesthetics goes much deeper than simply using organic products. The way a practitioner uses those products and equipment is more important, than what is offered on a holistic service menu. In fact, holistic skin correction is possible to achieve, even without the use of a single product or modality. Molding and sculpting the face takes on an artform, similarly, to working with clay. Facial features change based on epigenetics – they don’t always remain the same as we age. During a consultation done in a specific manner, fine lines can disappear right before your eyes, skin tone can change, and features often change their shape and size – it seems almost magical. This is the art of aesthetics.





Michelle Valeri, licensed aesthetician is the founder of Holistic Dermal Professionals, advanced training for Estheticians in Traditional Chinese Medicine philosophies and strategies and as it relates to an aesthetics practice. She has a successful holistic skin correction practice, MV Skin Consulting located in McKinney, Texas. She is a licensed aesthetician and skin health expert in Eastern philosophy. She has trained privately with three Chinese masters and has a proficient knowledge of eastern philosophical strategies to bring the body back to balance. She brings over two decades of natural healing, product development, and formal education to her skin care practice. Back in the 1990s she developed a product line that cleared acne and reversed wrinkles.

Magic Mushrooms: How to Include Mushrooms in Your Practice

Mushrooms are part of the fungi family. They have been used for health and beauty applications by different cultures for thousands of years. Today, scientific data proves that certain mushrooms provide a host of skin restoring benefits.


Edible mushrooms are healthy fungi that can meet many of our skin care needs naturally. Certain types offer multiple benefits, including antiaging, detoxifying, hydrating, and brightening effects. They also help restore sun-damaged, dry, and wrinkled skin with powerful blends of antioxidants, vitamins, and polysaccharides. Many mushrooms can also heal and calm acne and rosacea-prone complexions with anti-inflammatory nutrients.


Some mushrooms offer superior skin hydrating properties, due to high concentrations of ceremides and polysaccharides, which help it to retain moisture. This may be hard to believe, but studies demonstrate that the Tremella mushroom (also known as the snow mushroom, golden jelly fungus, or yellow trembler), which is commonly used in traditional Chinese dishes, has comparable or even better water holding capacities than hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is a component of human skin which diminishes as we age, has been called the “youth molecule.”



As we grow older, our skin cells also naturally accumulate toxins, which often leads to premature aging and inflammatory conditions like acne and rosacea. Mushrooms have ability to purify skin cells by stimulating superoxide dismutase production. This enzyme plays a key role in cellular detoxification. It helps to slow the aging process as well.


Even mushrooms found in grocery stores like portobello (agaricus bisporus), shiitake (lentinus edodes), and oyster (pleurotus species citrinopileatus), help to reduce free radical damage with powerful antioxidants, which can also heal and hydrate the skin. For example, the familiar portobello mushroom, in addition to antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, also helps improve hyperpigmentation by reducing melanin content and inhibiting tyrosinase activity (melanin production).


Most edible and medicinal mushrooms have high concentrations of anti-inflammatory nutrients like phenolic and indolic compounds, mycosteroids, fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. As we know, inflammation is a natural response of the immune system to stress related to physical, chemical, and pathogenic skin damage.


Mushrooms are rich in beta-glucans which have the ability to modulate the immune function. They help to rejuvenate and firm the skin by stimulating cellular regeneration. They also have the ability to reduce oversensitivity.



Most edible mushrooms like truffles and morels contain high concentrations of vitamins D and B, which are known to support the skin and improve elasticity. Truffles are a wonderful, but pricey source of essential amino acids, vitamins B1, B2, and B3, as well as polysaccharides like lentinan and eritadentin and skin moisturizing and protecting ceremides.


The maitake mushroom (grifola frondosa) helps reduce wrinkles and firms the skin by stimulating collagen production. I often perform face and neck massages using sliced, organically grown, raw maitake and oyster mushrooms during a facial. This procedure gently exfoliates, hydrates, and visibly brightens the skin. It works well for clients with rosacea, and for those with even the most sensitive skin.



Ganoderma lucidum or reishi mushroom grows on trees and is a part of the ganoderma group of fungi. Reishi has been called mushroom of immortality for its powerful antiaging properties. Reishi extract supports sensitive skin and helps skin become more resilient. It contains ganoderic acid, which offers skin restoring and antioxidant nutrients, as well as triterpenes, a steroid-like molecules that inhibit the release of histamine — which help to decrease inflammatory skin reactions. It is a good source of vitamin D2 and skin firming trace minerals, like copper and selenium, as well as amino acids leucine and lysine.


Another magnificent tree mushroom is chaga. It grows on white birch trees in northern countries. Extracts of chaga have been used for centuries for their powerful healing, antiaging, and anti-inflammatory properties. The chaga mushroom contains over 200 phytonutrients, polysaccharides, betulin, triterpenes, vitamins K, D2, B1, B2, B3, essential minerals, ionized trace minerals, and amino acids. It can stimulate self-repair, as well as balance mechanisms in the skin.


At your spa, you can incorporate fresh tea, or a decoction made from reishi or chaga mushrooms into face masks and warm compresses. Doing this will benefit any complexion. You can also create face masks from scratch by mixing dry powdered mushrooms into a natural base.


Clients will love the results they get from a truffle infused oil face massage. Make tea from dry morels or soak them in warm water until they start looking like small, soft sponges. Then, use them for a face-hydrating and a polishing mushroom treatment.




Elina Fedotova



Elina Fedotova is the formulator and CEO of Elina Organics, an award winning cosmetic chemist, and aesthetician. She hand makes her professional skin care line in her laboratory using holistic principles and organic ingredients from around the world. In 2007, she founded the Association of Holistic Skin Care Practitioners (AHSCP); a nonprofit organization that provides ongoing training and education for professionals.