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Spa Stories: The skin reaction that wasn't

Spa Stories: The skin reaction that wasn't

One of the best parts of my role as Bioelements Director of Education is that I'm able to talk on a daily basis with skin care professionals all over the globe. We think it's safe to say I've heard thousands of stories from estheticians about what can happen inside the spa treatment room. Now, it's time we share some of the most educational and eye-opening stories with you in an ongoing series – ones that we think will have great lessons for estheticians – as well as spa-goers!

The Situation

A regular client books a treatment to maintain her progress in a series of chemical peels. Because her skin tolerated Bioelements Ultra-Detox Charcoal Peel Level 3 during her last treatment, her esthetician anticipates performing the same facial during the next.

The Facial
After removing the client's makeup, the esthetician performs a SkinReading and notices new, unusual redness on her client's cheeks – an indication of heightened sensitivity that could be caused by a number of things. To learn more about the potential sensitivity, the esthetician asks if the client had recently been ill, changed medication, or changed her diet. After learning the client is recovering from a cold and recently started a new medication, she decides it is necessary to drop down her peel product choice to a more gentle active formula rather than continuing on with the Ultra-Detox Charcoal Peel Level 3 used in the last treatment. She performs the facial using Lactic-Plus Peel Level 1, adding Emergency Soothing Powder to the Calming Mask step to further buffer the activity level of the peel, and ensure the skin stays calm throughout the duration of the facial – while still achieving the results her client expects. 

The Lesson: Never Assume

Whether they're a brand new client, or a close friend who has been coming to you for years, you can never assume that the facial you have planned is the right facial for your client. The skin your client leaves you with after her last facial can be totally different than the skin she has when she sees you for the next. You can never completely know how her skin will behave from treatment to treatment. Unlike some of the other Spa Stories I've shared on the SkinReading Blog, this is one where the esthetician successfully avoided a negative skin reaction because she remembered to perform a SkinReading – a skin care professional's first line of defense against a bad treatment experience.

SkinReading begins at "Hello", ends when your client checks out, and includes more than just filling out a form and glancing at the skin for visual clues of irritation. While these are two very important steps involved in the SkinReading process, it's also crucial that you talk with your client to learn more than what a piece of paper, or her skin, is letting on. A quick conversation might reveal that she recently switched medications, or is recovering from a cold – both of which can trigger sensitivity.

You also need to be prepared to make changes throughout the treatment. In this particular spa story, the esthetician made the choice to swap Lactic-Plus Peel Level 1 in the place of Ultra-Detox Chemical Peel Level 3. Rather than risk over-stimulation and cause additional redness, or a heightened burning sensation, she opted for a more gentle peel that provides additional hydration – an ideal combination for skin that's dehydrated from a recent illness. The esthetician also took care to add Emergency Soothing Powder to her client's mask – the soothing colloidal oatmeal helps calm irritation and soothe sensitive skin. Once a negative reaction like redness on the face has been identified, skin sedation is key.

This isn't just a lesson for estheticians! Spa-goers: don't be afraid to speak with your esthetician about what's going on with you and your skin. Speak up before the facial to let your skin care professional know how you're feeling. Inflammation can be invisible, so irritation and sensitivity caused by the forced heat from your car, or the cocktails you had the night before, might not necessarily show on your skin, as it did for the client in this spa story. Letting her in on these clues can help your skin pro give you the best treatment possible.

Have a spa story of your own? Share it in the comments below, or email directly to Teresa at Teresa@Bioelements.com.

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