Ever wonder how to choose a Skin Care Professional?
What is a Skin Care Professional anyway? Well, it could be a Beauty Therapist, a Cosmetic Physician, a Dermatologist or it could even be considered that a Plastic Surgeon who specialises in cosmetic medicine becomes your Skin Care Professional, as more and more highly trained surgeons enhance their practice by offering solutions such as cosmeceutical skin care products and non-invasive treatments.
Who you choose will depend on what you want to achieve or what is concerning you about your skin. Maybe it’s a complete overhaul, or maybe you have concerns about lines and wrinkles or, you are wondering if it’s time to venture into the world of cosmetic medicine?
It starts from the moment you make the appointment.
Recently I had cause to visit a Chiropractor, nagging symptoms that were not being adequately explained by my medical professional or passed off as stress, were just not going away. After much detective work of my own and numerous conversations with friends and family, it was starting to become clear to me, that perhaps the problem was in my neck. So, I made an appointment with the local chiropractor post-haste. From the moment I called the practice I had a sense that I was in the right place. The receptionist was friendly, proficient and seemed quite caring. Always a good start.
I was to be charged a fee of $160 for my initial consultation and with no medicare rebate. Ouch! But still, I was feeling desperate to resolve my symptoms and resume normal living again, so I was happy to part with my money. At this point, I was informed that prior to my visit I should venture over to their website to view a 10-minute video. A video, I was assured would give me a very good understanding of what chiropractic medicine was. I had a fair idea but, being the dutiful kind of Gal that I am, I promptly watched the video, in part out of interest to help satisfy my need for understanding and in part to somehow lessen the time between that moment and my eventual appointment. I must say, it helped. When I finally arrived at my appointment, a little bit of the fear and anxiety I had been feeling was allayed and some of my questions were answered, but at the same time it gave rise to other more specific questions which I am sure was helpful for the practitioner to narrow in on my problem.
Finally, the day arrived.
My 45 minute consult covered all my concerns and a treatment plan was developed and all subsequent appointments were booked in for me. By this stage, I was feeling quite confident that I was in the right place, I had a plan and I could see relief in sight. I could not wait to begin and start resolving my problems.
This extended consultation meant that no question was left hanging in the wind, no question seemed silly, no question gave rise to further anxiety. All my questions were answered, not only that, I felt listened to and understood for the first time in the two months since my symptoms mysteriously appeared. I was sure I was finally in the right place.
Are you in the right place?
One of the reasons skin care is so confusing and probably why you may have decided to just stick with a random cream from the supermarket or give that new serum your best girlfriend is using a go (which might suit your skin too, or it might not), is because it is so difficult to know who to talk to about your skin. Who to trust. Which brand to trust. Should you go to a Beauty Therapist or a Cosmetic Physician? Which treatment option is going to get you the results you are after? How can you even know the results you are looking for anyway if no one has ever fully explained the problem.
I would like to shed a little light on this subject so that you have a head start on who is going to give you the best advice in what to use at home and which skin treatments your should consider to get results.
Just like my chiropractic experience, any skin care professional service should start with a thorough consultation and I’m not talking about a quick chat just before or during your facial or a bit of advice on the run while you are getting your 10 minutes worth of muscle relaxing anti-wrinkle injections (Botox) on your lunch break. Oh no, I am talking about a proper, sit down consultation which should last at the very least 30 minutes in duration, if not a little longer.
Even if your place of choice is a cosmetic consultant in a department store, that’s fine, it’s a start. Any serious skin care cosmetic company consultant even in a department store will book you in for a consult, in fact, they will delight in it. So don’t be shy, ask for a full consultation. Make the appointment, but remember they do want to sell you something and they probably will. Which is where it gets a bit sticky. Will it be the right advice? What if the information leaves you feeling a bit wanting, a little bit unconvinced? What then?
The Department Store Cosmetic Counter Beauty Consultant.
So, at this point in your search for great skin, you feel comfortable just buying what you need in the good old department store, nothing wrong with that, it’s practically where it all started and if you are not intimidated by all those made up, almost-perfect women, then it is a tantalisingly seductive place to start. In which case, here is what to look for.
A good starting point would be the following…
The consultant immediately invites you for a consultation and offers to diagnose your skin. This is a good sign.
They have asked you what your primary skin care concerns are. Another good sign.
The consultant can explain and name your specific skin conditions and exactly how the key ingredients in any product they are recommending is going to work for you. Looking good so far.
However, if when asked about specific ingredients they, a) do not know where to find it or, b) pick up the bottle or jar and read the ingredients with a puzzled look on their face. This is a bad sign. Don’t go any further. It’s not that the product is inferior, it’s just that you want someone who knows what they are talking about, don’t you?
Finally, and it’s a bit of a deal breaker, what kind of percentages of “key ingredients” are contained in the product they are recommending. At the very least they should be able to express whether the quantities are meaningful enough to do anything. The way this question is answered can be a reflection on their lack of knowledge or the unwillingness of the company they work for to divulge information. Either way, it’s a big fat NO in my books.
I’m not suggesting they should know every ingredient, but certainly the important “key ingredients” should roll off their tongue like a Malteser down the aisle of movie cinema. Nor am I for a minute suggesting there are not extremely good skin consultants in department stores, it’s just a bit hit or miss. You will have to shop around. Sometimes you will find more information on the company website or by calling the company education and customer care department. Sad, but true and a constant frustration to these companies. Of course, there are companies that will only employ qualified beauty/skin therapists.
Just ask. Don’t be afraid or intimidated because they are wearing a white coat. It’s just a white coat. You should never feel bad about asking pertinent questions, I assure you they will feel nothing but delight if you part with your hard-earned Moolah. Make them work for it. Ask how the ingredient is going to work, if it doesn’t make sense then it probably is not going to work. And by the way, “it just does” is not a good answer, but hey, no one really says that, they just give you a whole bunch of samples and hope you like them. Don’t settle, just because they have.
The Salon, Spa, or Clinic Beauty Therapist.
If you have decided to seek out the services of a Beauty Therapist. Great! But, not all Beauty Therapists are created equal and you need to seek out someone with a passion for the skin.
Let’s assume you’re there for more than a relaxing facial or massage. It’s skin correction and anti ageing you’re looking for. Their knowledge of the skin should be pretty extensive. If they are well versed in explaining your skin conditions and the products that will help you, you are in the right place. Not just how they work, why they work and how you are going to use them at home. You should never be left guessing or feeling confused.
Other telltale signs you’re in the right place…
They have a great knowledge of the skin. They can tell you why your skin is the way it is, be that good, bad or somewhere in between.
They fully diagnose your skin before prescribing or recommending any products or treatments.
The brands they choose are cosmeceutical, meaning they include ingredients such as Vitamin A, B3, C and E as well as AHA and BHA formulations, anything else may be lovely and make your skin feel soft and will certainly protect your lipid barrier from disrepair and dysfunction but, they will not necessarily correct problems such as pigmentation, brown patches and poor texture and the tone of your skin.
They make their recommendations based on what they see in your skin and the concerns you express.
They recommend products to use at home prior to any treatments they have scheduled in for you. Your skin needs to be prepared at home for future visits to the clinic, especially if the treatments are for the purpose of correction such as Chemical Peels, Microdermabrasion and Laser.
This is another deal breaker for me. Do not have any kind of corrective treatment without a full consultation, skin diagnosis and recommended products for use at home for at least 2 weeks prior to your first treatment.
They keep track of the progress you are making and not just at your scheduled visits. If you get a follow-up phone call in the first 72 hours of your first consultation, you are most definitely in the right place. They really care and want you to become a client for life.
The Medi Spa or The Non-Surgical Cosmetic Clinic with Doctors & Nurses.
You want more and you’ve finally got up the courage to visit a Cosmetic Clinic. This practice will consist of Doctors and Nurses who have trained in Cosmetic Medicine and they may also employ Beauty Therapists.
This should be the place where you find the answers to most of your skin care concerns, especially if you are looking for correction and anti ageing solutions.
But like anything, there is good and bad here too. It is here, more than anywhere else, they really should be looking at the picture as a whole because it is the Cosmetic Clinic where you go for anti-wrinkle injections such as Botulinum Toxin Type A and Dermal fillers, Laser Resurfacing, and Platelet Rich Plasma injections. If you make an appointment for any of these treatments and you are not given a full consultation first, then I would suggest that you are absolutely not in the right place. Keep looking.
Why the consult? Why so important?
Well, it’s the opportunity for your Skin Care Professional to find out what it is that is bothering you, what it is you’d like to change about your skin and what your treatment plan will be. It is also your chance to find out whether the clinic, medispa or salon is a good fit for you. It doesn’t matter whether you are thinking of a relaxing facial, or a chemical peel or you are really keen on getting a bit of that Botox you’ve heard so much about, or any of the other numerous options available to you. It needs to feel right for you.
Have the chat. Take a view from the top. Check out all they have to offer.
If you are thinking, “well I just want that little injection to soften my wrinkles, I’m not going to spend any more than I have to”, that’s great, but an anti-wrinkle injection does little if the overall skin tone and condition of your skin is not what it used to be or you’ve not been caring for your skin correctly. It will just look weird. If you are starting to see signs of age that were just not there a few years ago, then please, do not expect an anti-wrinkle injection to be your saviour. It is not. Sure, it helps and if that’s something you are prepared to do, go forth, get it done, but first take a good look at the condition of your skin or at least let a professional do so.
Address the overall health and appearance of your skin first.
You may find you don’t need that injection after all. It could just be that your skin is in desperate need of a very good skin care regimen and a series of non-invasive treatments involving chemical peels, microdermabrasion, sonophoresis and LED therapy. A routine that is going to work. Honestly, before you embark on anti-wrinkle injections, address the health and condition of your skin first, you may find you need a lot less of those things you thought you needed so badly. Which means spending less money and your skin will be all the better for it.
The power of a good consultation and how to know.
Not only by the questions you’re being asked, but also how well they are answered.
If it is not apparent, it is quite okay for you to ask what their qualification is and how long they have been practising. This is really important.
They should be able to answer most of your questions. If they cannot explain the key ingredients in the products they are recommending, or they cannot explain to you in simple terms exactly what the treatment (whatever that may be) is going to do for you and it’s safety and efficacy, then it may not be that you are in the wrong place, but you are with the wrong practitioner.
Your skin care professional should be giving you all your options and the facts should be laid bare. At this point, how much you want to spend should be secondary to this. Ultimately it is about getting the right advice and knowing what is available to you and the best approach to take over the coming weeks and months in order to get the results you were hoping for.
Once you have all the information, then you can discuss how much you can afford or want to spend on your skin, but even if you have lots of money to spend, go slowly, allow your skin time to recondition itself using effective home care and then move on to more intensive treatments as your skin becomes stronger and you become more confident with the clinic. This is not a quick fix, but long-term results.
You’re ready to take the leap, but are they?
Don’t hesitate to ask questions and if you don’t feel comfortable or convinced by the answers you’re getting then do a bit more research. This is your precious skin we are talking about. You don’t want to mess with that.
You might want to ask questions like these…
What kind of treatments is available to address your specific needs?
What are the qualifications and experience of the person performing treatments on you?
What will the expected outcomes be?
What kind of social downtime can you expect?
Will you be able to return to work immediately after the treatment or procedure?
What are the side effects? (Make sure this is clearly explained).
How many treatments before you see results?
What kind of home care should you be using to prepare your skin?
Is there any diet or lifestyle factors that could inhibit or enhance your results?
Is the equipment or topical treatments approved by the TGA or FDA?
Begin with the end in mind.
Remember if you haven’t been given a treatment plan giving you options and a good picture of how long it will take to see results, then you’re in the wrong place.
Looking at the whole picture and looking at how best to correct your skin with everything available to you is what should be considered in your treatment plan. Ultimately you will never be happy with a quick fix and it will be a waste of your time and money.
You may decide to commence with just a good quality skin care regimen. That’s a great start. Or, you may take the advice and embark on a course of Chemical Peels with Microdermabrasion and LED treatments, even better.
Or, you are going to really transform your skin by doing all of the above and then once your skin is in better condition commence with something a little more intense such as Fractional Laser. Again any one of these options is great, but a treatment plan where you gradually build up to more intense results is the best approach.
Your skin care professional will be reviewing your skin and how you are feeling about your skin with every return visit. You may get to a point of happiness, where the anti-wrinkle injections or fractional Laser you were considering are not necessary, or you are happy enough with your results that you can hold off until further down the track.
Once you have found that perfect someone to help you transform your skin or just keep it looking as good as it does today, the first step is good skin care, good nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices. Remember, the better condition of your skin prior to treatments the better your results will be.
Phew, that was a long post. If you made it this far, well done. I hoped it has helped. How about you? Have you found that perfect someone who you trust and recommend? What’s your experience for finding the perfect skin care professional? I’d love to hear from you so leave a comment.