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This article addresses questions aestheticians frequently ask as they are trying to make wise choices to further their education, develop existing skills and knowledge, expand their earning capabilities, and fulfill requirements set by their states to practice their trade.
While this information may provide some resources – view the list below – it is neither a guideline nor a comprehensive analysis on education currently available to aestheticians. I have asked several of my colleagues to share their insight and they have done so generously. I would have wished to relate the opinions of many more skin care experts and educators; however, space is of course a limited commodity in print.

Spas are relaxing, pampering and non-invasive places of retreat from daily life, right? Although partly true, thinking this may limit the possibilities available. Of course we do not need to go to the other extreme, deliberately causing pain and trauma. Yet we can balance the treatment mix to include more treatment modalities in capturing a wider client and/or treatment base.
Spa service is well founded with a long tradition in many parts of the world – as people move around, they bring with them high expectations of service, and will demand the same high quality of spa service everywhere they seek treatment.

Aesthetics has come a long way in the U.S. since licensed professionals had to spell ‘aesthetics’ for those who asked ‘what do you do?’ Clients know what aesthetic services are now, and many have placed them firmly into their lifestyle must-haves. Due to this populartity, aesthetic schools are filled with students excited to join our profession, and committed aestheticians graduate with the fundamentals for practicing basic skin care. But is this basic education enough? Our services and our businesses have become more complex and many believe require higher levels of education for the safety of our clients and to just stay in business.

The great inventor Thomas Edison once said, "Genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration." This equation is also applicable to success in the skin care industry. Perspiration – in the form of the constant pursuit of knowledge – fuels success and ultimately inspiration. 
In this profession we have to stay on top of new, cutting-edge ingredients, product formulations and protocols, as well as marketing tactics, and knowledge of how each of these tools can be used most effectively.
How do skin care professionals obtain the knowledge, and perhaps more importantly, how might it be applied, and what are the right tools?

I am often asked the question, “What equipment should I invest in?”, by colleagues who are new to the industry or those trying to decide what piece of equipment they should add next to their current inventory of modalities. My response is always, “What do you want to achieve?”
Our equipment choices should be based on how the chosen equipment will support the treatment offering that we provide. What is the main focus of your business? Is it high tech and clinical or wholistically based? Who are your clients and what are their skin concerns? How do you differentiate your business from the competition?

As skin therapists, face mapping is our bread and butter. While most clients turn to us to help them offset the evidence of aging, skin in fact records and reveals much more than the mere passage of time. Our skin reflects every facet of the client’s health, habits and lifestyle.

In order to accurately perceive and interpret the myriad of messages delivered via this most dynamic asset, it is helpful to visualize the face as a series of zones as well as a collective whole. Imagine the face divided into zones via invisible dotted lines. This will allow you to map and examine every millimeter of the landscape, while also serving as an invaluable resource to you and your client. In fact, for optimum accuracy, create a literal numbered “map” of the client’s face and note the condition or anomalies found in each zone on your dated record.

One of the most important steps in your practice is to take the time to perform a thorough skin analysis with a client (whether old or new). A brief look at their face does not provide enough information to sanction a more insightful, comprehensive profile to establish a more accurate pathway for long-term skin correction. Old paradigms no longer work. Statements such as normal-dry, combination, and sensitive are understatements when establishing the leading causes of these conditions and their effects on cells and systems. Furthermore, treatment and product choice is based on this analysis service. Your goal is to bring your client's skin health into a more balanced state.

Stress less. Eat healthier. Lose weight. The resolutions will be plentiful as the clock strikes midnight on January 1st. The Journal of Clinical Psychology reports 45 percent of adults make one or more resolutions each year. How long do people stick with them?

  • Past the first week: 75%
  • After one month: 64%
  • After six months: 46%

The appearance industry speaks to all age groups. Trendy fashions, makeup, and beautifully packaged skin potions splash their message across page after page of magazines and tabloids. Sound bites of beautiful airbrushed youthful images with convincing close ups pan across our media screen. Millions of dollars are spent to promote youth in a bottle or the latest breakthrough of anti-aging, or a remedy for acne. A total of over $7 billion are spent each year on cosmetics in North America.1 According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, almost 9.5 million dollars was spent in 2010 for surgical and non-surgical procedures including fillers.

Carefully crafted client relationships build businesses. Studies show that younger consumers increasingly cite excellent customer service and personal identification with a business as primary reasons for selecting one business over another. Clients want to know that a business cares about them, not just as consumers of products and services, but as people.
Forgetting that yours is a personal business focused on individual needs is one way we get off track. Instead, you must understand your patients, let them know that you hear them, and show that you value them on a personal level.

All your life, your skin has been making a first impression for you. It can reveal whether you are hot or cold, tired or rested, sick or healthy. Your skin provides protection from potentially lethal bacteria and viruses, and shields you from the sun's ultraviolet rays. To some extent, your genes determine how well your skin stands the test of time. As the population ages, more and more people approaching middle-age will be diagnosed with skin disorders, some that will be life-threatening.

Create an at Home Skin Program for Your Clients to Build a Robust Business

Enormous changes have rocked the worlds of the skin care center, salon and spa since 2008. While we take hope in the news that the economy may be sparking back into life, it is fair to say that professional service bookings are still not what they were. As skin care professionals, we need to view this not as defeat, but as a call to action to step up our game!

As a professional aesthetician, you may think your main focus is on providing the best skin care services for your clients. Yet the fact is the more often you see those clients, the better their skin care program will be. In addition to better results in a shorter time for your clients’ skin care regimen, your business will thrive with a committed and loyal client base. You will ensure a win-win situation for everyone by taking some steps to create some new routines – that are habit forming! As a skin care professional, your job is to educate your clients and create a picture for them of the possibilities that you can provide.

While in school most aesthetic and massage students learn to lose their inhibition of seeing other people’s bodies. They soon realize that clients come in all shapes, sizes, and ages. There is no doubt that there has to be some nudity with certain services such as a body wrap, massage, and bikini waxing. Even the most modest student understands that it is a necessity to be professional while verbalizing to the client how to undress, remove certain clothing, get into a robe, wrap, or putting on disposable undergarments; and it is a very important step towards the success of the treatment.

Old is a relative term with a definition open to interpretation. People view the meaning of “old” differently, and it is usually used as a generalization. To children, the term typically falls under a different spectrum in their mindset. To a child, old typically defines anything that is older than them, meaning essentially everything. However, once childhood recedes to youth, and youth recedes to young adulthood, the concept of “old” begins to take on a new definition. Eventually the idea of “old” becomes inevitability… becoming old is the process of time, and because time is a natural progression of what currently is, there will always be older generations.

Whoever coined the phrase 'Never look back' was not blessed to live the life I have and have a career and colleagues they loved and enjoyed spending time with. With great thanks and even greater excitement, this is my last 'Questions and Answers' column of this type for DERMASCOPE Magazine. I am planning a brand new format to launch in the August issue with hopefully even brighter, more original and thought-provoking ideas for you to think about, talk about and DO something about!
I really love writing for you each month and I thank everyone at DERMASCOPE for the years of opportunity to do so and for being so supportive of my new ideas for a fresh format.

"I've trained them and trained them but they just do what they want!" laments a frustrated spa owner with a staff of 17. As her business coach I sit and patiently listen to her story, observing the tense body language of a woman that feels powerless to change a stubborn and under-performing team. Turnover is approaching almost 100 percent for the second time in two years while customer complaints have risen sharply. Burned by a train them and lose them history my client has become embittered by the prospect of having to invest more time and money into employee development, and she doesn't want to do it again.

Close your eyes and imagine being enveloped by the soothing embraces of a beautiful day spa. Mmmmmmm... What special images and sensations are drifting into focus? Make a mental list of these details as you indulge in this fantasy. Now, imagine what things would disrupt your serene daydream, regardless of how large or small the flaw might be. What comes to mind? More importantly, as a customer have you personally experienced both satisfying and irritating details at a spa? Yes? Then consider what the delight or disappointment was, how it affected your overall satisfaction, and what you, the spa professional, could do to either highlight or eliminate similar occurrences where you work now.

What will skin care look like in the future? This is the question I'll be exploring in my new series of ongoing columns for DERMASCOPE. After 30 years in this remarkable business, I've formed some strong opinions. But you already know that - otherwise you'd stop reading! And, I welcome your input - please be sure to check out the contact at the end of each column.
Of course, the future is now. Are you ready? Just like comic book space invaders, skin therapists indeed have laser-guns-and that's not an intrinsically bad thing.

Thanks to the popular television series Queer Eye for the Straight Guy a sudden wave of men are having their eyebrows waxed and shaped to improve their appearance. Men have increasingly become enthusiastic customers of many traditional spa services, particularly therapeutic massage. But now we are seeing more opportunity for spas to work with male clients.
Men's health and fitness publications, travel magazines, and lifestyle television shows are routinely pitching the spa ritual to the male client, encouraging him to upgrade his level of personal care. Some spas dedicate specific time to men's treatments, and new spas are emerging that are designed to cater to men.

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