7 Things You Should Never Say To Your Esthetician

I am, generally speaking, a really nice person. I’m fairly patient. I see the good in everyone, to my own 7 things to never say to your esthetician before a facial detriment.

I’m an even nicer esthetician.

I am not an esthetician who will make you feel badly for using drugstore products. I won’t make you feel badly about not washing every single night. I won’t even make you feel guilty if your last facial was over 10 years ago.

But there are some things that my clients tell me that just drive me nuts. So here are a few things you should never say to your esthetician.

  • My skin is just so sensitive. Sensitive is such a vague word. I need specifics. Are you prone to redness? Do you have a lot of allergies? Are you prone to breakouts? What has happened in the past that makes you choose the word sensitive now? Don’t tell me that you’re sensitive; give me details about your past reactions.
  • I’m just using a hodge podge of random skin care products. We all mix and match. I don’t stick with just one line either. But when I ask you what you’re using, I’m looking for name brands, where you purchase, or active ingredients. I need to know what you’re using so I know what kind of products your skin will tolerate. It also helps me figure out why you might be having problems. The more information you provide, the better I can help you.
  • I just saw my plastic surgeon for Botox/ Restylane/ Juvederm/ other injectables this week. All injectables have a waiting period before you can manipulate the skin as I will during massage and extractions. The last thing I want to do is screw up a $1000 worth of filler. Come back after 7-10 days, or better yet, schedule your facial before your visit to the plastic surgeon.
  • I’m just using stuff my dermatologist gave me, but I can’t remember what it is. I’m not trying to go against the recommendations of your dermatologist, but I still need to know what you’re using. Dermatologists often sell or prescribe products with aggressive ingredients. I need to know what you’re using so I can make sure that I don’t overstimulate your skin.
  • I’m using really good stuff. I trust that you think what you’re using is good. You wouldn’t spend your hard-earned dollars on it if you didn’t believe that. But what does good mean to you? Brand name? Expensive? Dermatologist recommended? Recommended by another esthetician? I still need to know what you’re using to prevent an adverse reaction. And “good” skin care doesn’t guarantee it’s good for you. [Tweet this!]
  • I don’t need extractions. Everyone needs extractions. And in addition to that, you’re spending a lot of money to see me. Don’t you want to take advantage of that time and let me do what you shouldn’t be doing at home anyway?
  • I’m allergic to (insert common ingredient here) and this is the first time I’ve told anyone. I take allergies seriously, as I take all adverse reactions. But if you don’t tell me about an allergy until after I start your facial, the time I spend reading ingredients on every single bottle is now coming out of your massage time. [Tweet this!] If you have an allergy, call ahead and let me look at ingredients before you come in. It will allow the treatment flow better for both of us.

I really care about my clients and their skin conditions. I want to make sure that your experience is amazing from start to finish. If you have one single concern about your skin, I want to make sure we find a solution that works for you. It’s why I write this blog. But you have to let me help you, and you help me by giving me as much information as you can.

 

 

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What Is A Chemical Peel?

what is a chemical peelChemical peels sound scary. With the growing trend towards natural products, people hear the word “chemical” and feel like they’ll be using a bunch of unhealthy, unnatural ingredients on their skin that will cause their skin to be red, irritated, and flaky. But chemical peels are a great skin treatment to revitalize a dull complexion, control acne, and jump start an anti-aging program.

First, let’s talk about exactly what a chemical peel is. A chemical peel is essentially a way to exfoliate or remove dead skin. There are two kinds of exfoliation: chemical and mechanical. Mechanical exfoliation is using a texture to remove dead skin cells. Think: scrubs, Buf-Puf sponges, and microdermabrasion. Chemical exfoliation is using an ingredient to cause a reaction on the skin and release dead skin cells. Chemical exfoliation includes enzyme, which works only on dead skin cells, and acid, which releases both dead skin cells and those near death. Acid exfoliation takes living skin cells to stimulate the skin’s natural healing responses and trigger faster cell turnover.

Acid exfoliation sounds scary, but it’s effective and often more gentle than mechanical exfoliation. Your skin is already acidic, and the peel will cause the pH of the skin to drop further, which will release the skin cells. The factor that dictates how many layers of skin you remove is how much the pH of the skin drops. For example, a glycolic moisturizer may only have a pH of 4.0 (compared to your skin’s natural pH of 4.4-4.5), while a peel that you buy at Sephora may have a pH of 3.0. A peel that you may get a dermatologist’s office may go as low as 1.0 or 0.7. The lower the pH of the peel goes, the deeper the exfoliation. That is to say, the deeper the exfoliation, the more you will start to look like Samantha from Sex and the City did after her disastrous peel right before a big event.

Chemical peels don’t have to be full of synthetic chemicals, either. Many of the most common exfoliants can be derived naturally. Enzyme masks generally use extracts from papaya and pineapple to gently dissolve away skin. Acid peels are generally derived from food sources. Glycolic can be from sugar, lactic from milk, citric from citrus fruit, and so on. Check your ingredients list and ask questions if you’ve decided that natural ingredients are important for you.

Peels are my favorite way to get a fast glow. You can remove excess dead skin, nourish, and stimulate new growth all in one swipe. [Tweet this!] In fact, because professionals can access stronger, more effective products, I think springing for the add-on peel in a facial is a great way to take advantage of something you can’t get at home. Use them if your complexion is looking tired, if you’re suffering from acne, or if your anti-aging treatments seem to have plateaued.

 

 

Speak your mind!  Have you ever tried a chemical peel, or are you nervous to try? Leave a comment below or join the conversation on Facebook and tell me what you think!

Video: Eye Massage and Lymph Drainage for Dark Circles and Puffiness

I chose to use my Rodan and Fields Redefine Multi Function eye cream as my massage medium. I like this eye cream because of the creamy texture, and also because it has many beneficial ingredients. You want to choose something that is creamy and has a little slip to it, so you can glide across the skin without dragging or pulling.

  • Apply the eye cream or a tiny bit of coconut or jojoba oil all around the eye area.
  • Using gentle pressure, sweep upward on the brows. Massage the frown lines between the eyes and stretch them out.
  • Work up to release tear duct, and sweep across brow. Find the pressure point at the bottom of the brow and press in for a few seconds.
  • Work across the length of the brow in gentle, soft strokes
  • Return to the tear duct and gently pull down on the inside corner of the eye. Sweep from the inside to the outside without pulling on the skin.
  • Work a little extra eye cream into the crow’s feet and around the temples.

These techniques are helpful to stimulate lymph drainage, which can reduce dark circles and puffiness. It can also be beneficial to reduce sinus pressure due to allergies or illness.

 

 

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Battle of the White Jackets: Dermatologists versus Estheticians

dermatologist speaks to patient about skin Dermatologists and estheticians both treat the skin. But we each treat the skin differently. As an esthetician, my license allows me to only treat the epidermis, or the outermost layer of the skin. I treat the layer of skin that you see. Doctors can treat anything from the epidermis down to the deepest layers of the skin. They treat the layers that support the visible layer of the skin.

Dermatologists cure medical conditions, while estheticians focus on the beautification of the skin. [Tweet this!]

I can help you control chronic conditions like eczema, acne, or rosacea, but I cannot prescribe medicine if that’s what you need. I can help you build a routine around a prescription. People can tolerate different levels of prescription meds, and I can help you to balance your routine around your new treatment. I can offer alternatives if your prescriptions are causing your skin to be sensitized, or experiencing excessive redness, flaking, or tenderness. I can help fill in the holes in your routine if you’re still not seeing theesthetician applies aloe mask in a facial results you want.

I don’t see this as an either/or kind of question, but lots of dermatologists seem to. To be fair, there are many dermatologists that respect what estheticians do. There are plenty of dermatologists that recommend great products. But there are times that the recommendations some dermatologists make are aggressive and over-drying. I have seen dermatologists put patients on a daily Retin-A and a glycolic pad (nevermind that AHAs and retinoids break each other down, making both ingredients ineffective) or Retin-A without a moisturizer. I believe that if you are on an aggressive product like a prescription, you may need to go more gentle with other aspects like cleanser or moisturizer. I feel some dermatologists neglect to help their patients with the entire picture.

So what does this mean to you? If you have a chronic condition or a funny mole, see a dermatologist. If you are concerned about a dull complexion or just not looking your best, see an esthetician. Ultimately, we can all work together to get you your best glow.

 

 

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What Is An Esthetician?

esthetician giving a facialOutside of the spa, I often tell people that I’m a facialist, simply because they don’t know what an esthetician is. If I say that I’m an esthetician, the next question is usually, “An anesthetician? Like, you put people to sleep before surgery?” No, I put people to sleep during facials. And that’s an anesthesiologist, by the way. It’s a very different kind of job! But this is a bit about what it means to be an esthetician.

I am a skin care specialist. I like to summarize what an esthetician is by saying that it’s like a nurse in dermatology. Except estheticians focus on the beautification of the skin, with some knowledge of diseases, while the medical community focuses on the diseases. My license allows me to work superficially on the epidermis (the outermost layer), while doctors can work on everything deeper.

  • I have a license from the Board of Cosmetology in the state I work. This is the board that also licenses nail technicians and hair stylists. I had to attend a state approved school for 1000 hours (hours required vary by state) to be able to sit for my boards, then I had to pass a written and practical examination.
  • My education focused on skin and all things pertaining to the skin, but it also included anatomy and physiology, ingredient knowledge, and chemistry. I learned all the muscles and bones of the face.  I learned about diseases and disorders. I also learned massage techniques, aromatherapy, and makeup. Just like any field, people might specialize in any aspect of their business. I’ve always been more clinically oriented.
  • I have a knowledge of prescriptions and can build regimens around them. I cannot prescribe medications or diagnose conditions. But I can help to control chronic conditions like eczema, acne, or rosacea in conjunction with your doctor’s recommendations. I can act as a first line of defense if you have a problem with your skin. Ultimately my advice should never replace that of your doctor, but I may be able to help and answer questions.
  • My scope of practice increases under the supervision of a doctor. The state board limits the strength of peels that I can do or lasers that I can run, based on my license. Working under the supervision of doctors broadens what I can do, even though only they do the intense stuff.

I’ve always preferred to call myself an esthetician, because I feel it incorporates more of what I do. It includes a lot of science, as well as a lot of intuition. I’m not just someone who massage creams on your face, waxes off undesired hair, or squeezes white heads. But I can be an important part of your skin care, as well as your health.

 

 

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How to Get a Great Facial

 

How to get the most out of your facial and your money and the spa

Where else can you relax for an hour and improve your complexion all at the same time? As the esthetician, it’s my job to do the worrying about your skin, but you have an important role too… especially if you want to get the best results for your time and money.

  • Make sure to arrive a few minutes early. Having those few extra minutes can not only give you time to check in and fill out any necessary paperwork, but it also gives you a few minutes to breathe and escape the stress of the day. Plus, if you’re ready when I am ready (and I run on time as much as I possibly can), you will actually end up with more hands on time and a better facial all around.
  • Know what you are using on your skin. I build my treatment around you and your skin concerns. If you are using aggressive products or prescriptions regularly, it affects the decisions I make about products I use in the facial and how I should best treat your skin. I also look at how you’re treating your skin at home to figure out if you’re using products that will address your concerns, as well as the things that I notice on your skin. Your skin is like a puzzle, and how you are treating it every day is a huge piece that I need in order to solve any problems.
  • Speak up if you are uncomfortable. I have plenty of ways to make sure that you are more comfortable. I can add or remove blankets. I can redirect steam so that it’s not as intense. I can adapt my massage pressure to work through tender spots. I watch closely for visual cues, but ultimately, I am not psychic. Of course, extractions may not be the most pleasant part, but I can adapt my pressure to make it a little easier to bear. I also need to know if something is stinging, burning, or itching your skin to prevent irritations and adverse reactions. Make sure to let me know.
  • Ask questions if you have them. Curious about what I’m using? Why I chose it? Why your skin is doing something weird? Ask away. This is your time to get my undivided attention. If you want to get the best results for your skin, you have to use the right products. This is a great time to find out what those might be.
  • Relax and zone out if you want. You don’t have to feel obligated to talk to me. I understand if this hour is the only nap time you get. I don’t mind if you snore. If you stop talking, I promise I will stop too.
  • But, if I ask you a specific question about your skin, please answer. If I’m concerned about a reaction, I may need to ask you questions. Not answering my questions may lead to an adverse reactions, post treatment irritation, or any number of undesirables that neither of us want.

I decided to go for my esthetics license because I loved getting facials so much. I’d still prefer a facial over any other spa treatment! But now that I’m on the other side, I know absolutely that the most important part of any spa treatment is communication. My ultimate goal is to help you reach yours… whether that’s clearing out your blackheads, rediscovering your glow, or even just getting an hour break.

 

Just The FAQs: Do I Need a Deep Cleansing Facial?

Often when I ask a new client what their primary reason for getting a facial is, they respond that they need a deep cleansing. The deep cleansing facial is a Deep cleansing facialpopular treatment on most spa menus.  But I think the concept of deep cleansing is unnecessary and even a little misleading. Usually what we’re doing is more exfoliation to get deeper into the pores. Unfortunately, what most people think of as a deep cleanse generally leaves the skin stripped of natural oils, which can cause more problems than it solves.

Here’s what you should look for if you want to book a deep cleansing facial.

  • In order to be effective, there needs to be some sort of boost in the exfoliation phase of the facial. The added exfoliation removes more dead skin and softens clogs, going a little deeper than what you can do at home. This freshens the complexion and makes extractions easier. If you are booking a deep cleansing facial, make sure it includes a bump in the exfoliator, above what is offered in the basic facial. If it’s a regular facial, you may want to spring for the add-on peel.
  • We need to do extractions. Some specific deep cleansing facials have extra time added for extractions, but it is not necessary in my opinion. But let me stress, you cannot have a successful deep cleansing facial without extractions. [Tweet this!] Otherwise, I’m not doing anything for you that you can’t do at home. If someone is charging you for a deep cleansing facial and they are not doing extractions, they are stealing your money.

So do you need a deep cleansing facial? The people who do are generally very oily and/or acne-prone, and they need a more aggressive method for getting the debris out of the pores. Look at your nose in the mirror. Do you have lots of visible blackheads? Is the texture of your skin bumpy? Are you oily within an hour of washing your face? If any of your answers are yes, you may want to consider a deep cleanse.

Before you book a deep cleansing facial, ask yourself what you really need. Take a close look at the description on the spa menu. Compare the description of the deep cleansing facial to the one for the regular, or basic facial. If they are charging you more, what are they adding? If they don’t have a specific deep cleansing facial, ask your esthetician. You can still get that deep clean feel without the fancy name. Upgrade your peel. Extra extractions can be helpful for a small percentage of the population, but most people just don’t need that much time. In fact, sometimes it can even reach a point of being detrimental. Ask if you are unsure of how much time you’ll need. If you’re concerned about oil and debris on the surface of the skin, you need to look at your daily cleanser, not a facial. And, if you’re concerned about blackheads, maybe there are ways to tweak your home care routine to better address your concerns.

 

 

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An Interview with Me and Gorgeously Wed

Bride with beautiful skinRecently, I met Dorothy Nee Gorczyca, who writes a wonderful wedding blog called Gorgeously Wed. She came to see me at my spa for a facial just before her wedding, and we chatted about skin care advice for brides. The result was her interview with me for the Meet the Experts section on her blog. Come visit me on her site and see what I had to say!

The Other Side of Me: In the Treatment Room

I love my time in the treatment room, and I was recently featured on the Spa Week blog in a video to demonstrate the Sircuit Cosmeceuticals Smart Peels that Exhale Spa will be featuring during Spa Week. I thought I’d take this opportunity to share a little glimpse into the hands-on side of my skin care life.

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Read on for the full article! And if you’re in New York, come see me for your own personalized treatment.