Stupid Skin Care – How to Avoid an Unsafe Facial
Beware! There is really stupid skin care out there. Really stupid. There is also excellent skin care available by well qualified professionals. So you have a choice, leaving a treatment with glowing skin or leaving with wasted money at best, or in the worst case scenario, burns or scratches.
So here’s the deal: Aestheticians generally get 600-800 hours of training, which prepares them to take and pass state boards. They are then expected to go out and build a business, working with people who have acne, aging skin, sensitive skin and guess what? allergies. They also apply mild chemicals to the face — fruit acid peels are extremely popular and they are an effective form of exfoliation. In the hands of an inexperienced person or a person who is using peels with acid percentage levels beyond their scope of practice can do some major damage.
So buyer take care and become an educated consumer – after all this is your FACE we are talking about! Here are a few ways to avoid costly mistakes.
1. Licensure: Aestheticians like cosmetologists must hold a State license. Make sure your skin care professional’s license is up-to-date.
2. Insurance: It is the goal of a trained professional to help you achieve optimal results. and even the best professional can have an unanticipated result. Make sure your aesthetician carries insurance or is covered under the insurance carried by the spa or hair salon where he or she works. In the case of an aesthetician working in a physician’s office, the aesthetician should be covered under the doctor’s malpractice insurance.
Some insurance companies have limitations. A very popular exfoliation technique is a “chemabrasion.” Chemabrasion is a chemical peel immediately followed by microdermabrasion (exfoliation using a machine that is akin to a gentle sand blasting, which exfoliates the top layer of the skin and stimulates collagen production). Not all insurance companies will provide coverage for a back-to-back peel and microdermabrasion. The aestheticians insurance company may require a 48 hour wait period between the two services. Check and see if your aesthetician is aware of this caveat.
3. Scope of Practice: In certain states aestheticians can only work on the epidermis of the skin. If an aesthetician offers to perform a laser treatment on you, check with the cosmetology board in your state and see if in your state aestheticians are allowed to handle laser. Lasers can burn! ouch! In some states only physicians are allowed to use skin tightening and hair removal lasers. Even if you are in a doctor’s office do not assume that an aesthetician is legally allowed to handle lasers or IPL.
4. More on Scope of Practice: Mild chemical peels are an excellent way to coax your skin back to health especially when performed in a series– however, they can also burn and cause hyper and hypo pigmentation. Know the laws of your state. Some states allow an aesthetician to only use up to a 30% acid peel with a pH level no lower than 3. Ask your aesthetician what level peel she is planning to use. In a physician’s office (double check with your state), a trained aesthetician can perform a peel of any strength. You need to decide if you are comfortable with this. Ask how much experience they have had performing these peels before consenting.
Be aware there are some aestheticians who do not work in a physician’s office but have managed to get a physician to approve purchase of doctor only products or higher strength chemical peels. If something goes wrong, it is possible that neither the doctor or the aesthetician would be covered by their malpractice insurance. If your aesthetician bandies about the word “cosmeceutical,” check and see if the are allowed by the manufacturer to carry this line, or if it is a physician exlusive product.
5. Microdermabrasion: Microdermabrasion treatments leave your skin soft, smooth and polished. Both peels and microdermabrasions are an excellent way to remove the dead skin cells and stagnant skin cells that can lead to basal cell cancers. However, be aware that even in the hands of the most expert aesthetician microdermsion can leave behind a few scratch marks. To be on the safe side ask if your aesthetician is certified on the microdermabrasion machine he or she is using and request to see their certification. You might ask how they would treat any superficial scratch.
More on microdermabrasion: Some microdermabrasion machines use crystals to exfoliate the skin. Some of these machines are equipped with a disposable tip on the wand — the tip is applied to your face and it is plastic. To save money some locations may “sterilize” the tip. If you see your aesthetician remove a plastic tip from a sterilizer, ask her to open up a new tip for you. If they ask to save your tip to reuse on you, just say no.
Prior to having a peel or microdermabrasion make sure you have not used retin a or retinol products for at least a week prior to the service. If your aesthetician does not inquire what medications and topical products you are using on your face, it might be a good idea to rebook the appointment with someone else.
6. Botox and dermal filler injections: If an aesthetician offers to perform a Botox (neurotoxin or dermal filler injection) on you, just leave.
7. Product sales: At home treatment is critical to maintain your results. Your aesthetician will make several recommendations. Prior to purchasing the products ask how much experience she has had with the products and how much training. These products can be expensive and some are worth the expense but some are not worth the expense. Just make sure you know what you are buying.
8. If an aesthetician tells you they think a spot on your face, neck or decollete looks concerning, take this seriously and book an appointment with your dermatolgist to rule out skin cancer.
Some skin care experts are stupid. So protect yourself. Know what is safe and not safe, because when it comes to skin care, an error can last a lifetime…. on your face.