A skin professional taking a closer look at a client’s skin using a diagnostic tool. Image supplied.
When was the last time someone examined your skin? For many of us, we rely on what we THINK we know about our skin. Perhaps when getting your makeup done for a wedding you were told you had “dry” skin, or someone trying to sell you a fancy cream insisted you were “dehydrated”. Maybe you battled acne-prone skin at one stage in your life and never considered the fact that your skin has changed over time. The truth is, most of us rely on our own analysis, made up of knowledge we have gleaned from our own experiences along the way thanks to some good old-fashioned trial and error.
In this day and age, people expect a lot and they expect it FAST. Rather than tempering expectations, companies (some, not all) can tend to exploit people’s desire for self-improvement. Wading through all the jargon and rhetoric marketing company’s use to sell you products can be very difficult to navigate. Unless you actually know your skin type and exactly what it needs at any given time, it can be all too easy to fall into the trap of purchasing something purely because it promised the skin of your dreams. You envisioned applying a cream or serum and waking up to Instagram-filter-skin the next morning… cue the frustration and disappointment! The reality is ANY professional skincare regime or product is going to take time to work so trying a myriad of different products simultaneously or bouncing from one new thing to the next won’t yield results and nor will you be able to identify which, if any is working. And that’s IF they were suited to your skin in the first place!
Ok, so where to from here… who can we trust with our skin? It sounds so simple but really a professional is your best bet. Whether it be a dermatologist, an aesthetician, dermal therapist – all will have training and extensive understanding in skin physiology, structure, and function along with skin conditions and how to best treat them. Yes, they will recommend treatments and products, but the key difference is they have a vested interest in your skin – as well as the knowledge to back up it up. In my experience skin professionals tend to love what they do – they absolutely live eat and breath skin and genuinely rejoice in being able to improve a client’s confidence by improving their skin health.
Skincare designed to target specific concerns will help achieve skin goals faster.
The first step to great skin is a professional skin analysis as this will help a clinician determine your true skin type. Although not all problematic, each individual skin type can be improved upon by matching the correct treatments and skincare to the various types. Your treatment provider can cater towards your individual needs and design a treatment program along with skincare products and/or recommendations based off your unique skin requirements. You can talk about your skin goals and actively get involved in your skin journey. Because it is exactly that – a journey. A proper skin assessment with will allow you to engage in the process, as well as getting a deeper understanding of your underlying skin conditions and needs, rather than just treating the symptoms caused by it.
Most professional skin analysis will be made up of several components, the first using a skin analysis machine to identify factors not readily seen with the naked eye. It will also help you to get a true visual representation and understanding of your skin. It will also provide a benchmark and allow both you and you clinician review your skin’s progress over time. Some of the key things that can be identified and determined are: hydration and skin lipid levels, inflammation, melanin levels, UV exposure history, pigmentation (including sun-damage, melasma, liver spots, age spots and sunspots), phototype, erythema (redness and flushing), vascular damage, surface texture (i.e. pores, wrinkles and fine lines), skin colour, burn time, cellular damage and loss of structural integrity.
Aside from using a skin analyzer, a clinician is also likely to gather valuable information to discuss things like genetic history/inherited characteristics, lifestyle and diet factors, medical and cosmetic history, environment, skin type, triggers and contributing factors, related symptoms and/or effects of that particular condition. They will discuss the primary cause of the condition and devise a suitable treatment plan as well as protocols for at-home skincare or product recommendations. Making these determinations is crucial and imperative to the success of treating your skin. Quite often your skin might require a multi-pronged approach with several different treatments working in tandem towards a common goal. Otherwise, you may have several concerns – in which case you can discuss with your treatment provider the steps in which to treat each condition and what your priorities are.
Professional skin analysis with the Observ520, a popular diagnostic imaging device.
Some possible treatments your clinician might offer depending on your skin are: microdermabrasion, microneedling and LED therapy. Microdermabrasion is suitable for all skin types and can treat multiple concerns such as sun damage and fine lines whilst at the same time improving your skin’s cellular turnover, promoting collagen production and increasing circulation – think glowing skin! Microneedling or Collagen Induction Therapy is fantastic for resurfacing the skin using tiny needles at varying lengths to treat acne scarring as well as ageing skin such as fine lines and wrinkles. Micro needling pens work by creating tiny micro wounds which then trigger a healing response within the skin, leading it to regenerate itself and stimulating new collagen growth in the process.
LED, short for Light Emitting Diodes can treat a multitude of skin conditions such as acne, sun-damage and redness depending on the colour of the light used. Red light therapy can also boost collagen levels and assist with fine lines and wrinkles, whereas blue light therapy can treat active acne whilst also helping to preventing future breakouts by killing acne-causing bacteria deep with the dermis. Although extremely effective as a stand-alone tool, it is also fantastic for layering in conjunction with other treatments. Often a layered facial experience will include LED Light Therapy as part of the overall service. An extremely useful tool for healing, soothing and restoring the skin, LED is a great final step to unite all the benefits post-treatment.
Another popular treatment is IPL therapy. IPL machines offer targeted corrective approaches to the top 4 skin concerns: ageing and fine lines, acne, pigmentation, and redness. They also work to plump, firm and hydrate the skin as well as improving overall skin tone.
At the end of the day, life is far too short to harbour insecurities when it comes to our skin and how it looks. Armed with the correct knowledge, you and your chosen skin therapist can start working toward your skin goals and provided you commit (and stick) to the plan, there is no reason why you won’t achieve them all and more. Invest some time, exercise a little patience, learn to trust the process and remember, nothing worth having comes easily. Starting off your skin journey with a professional skin assessment will set you on the path for success as it allows for the development of an accurate and detailed skin plan, one that is tailored to your individual needs.
This story is brought to you in partnership with The Global Beauty Group.