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  • January and Jelly Beans: How Organizing Will Help You Meet Your Goals

    Candice GardnerOne of my highlights in January is buying a new planner and diary for the year ahead. I love the sense of new beginnings that it gives me. Re-organize, re-group and re-focus – that is my January motto.

    While many may balk at the prospect of reworking tasks or plans, reorganizing can be incredibly motivating and can set the tone for a productive and rewarding year.

    Have you given your year ahead any thought yet? Do you have ambitious plans to drive your dreams forward?

    What a great start to the year for those of you that have been decisive!

    If not, don’t panic, you are not alone and there is still time to get onto it. I have had many a conversation with those who feel they are just too busy for all that sensible sorting out nonsense. Or you may be someone who has just become wrapped up in your daily process and simply not stopped to consider the possibilities in a new year.

    Even if you are anti-New Year’s Resolutions, resolve to dedicate a couple of hours to a little reorganizing and you might surprise yourself with all that can be achieved through a little task tackling.

    jelly-bean-mason-jarI highly recommend an administrative spring clean as a starting point. By dealing with all that tedious paperwork, writing up important diary dates and mapping out your intentions for the year, you will make great strides towards making your ambitions realities, along with having more time to do the stuff you really want to do. I would add that tediousness always needs to be balanced with pleasure…that would be a welcome little bag of Jelly Beans in my case! I am sure you will have your own favorites to support you through the somewhat mundane chores, but I guarantee you will be invigorated by the process in the end (not just high on sugar!).

    I usually find that by consciously and actively reorganizing myself I almost can’t help regrouping. Could I fit in more time with so and so? Do I want to keep up with this particular commitment? Am I still happy participating in or contributing to this activity? And so forth…

    When I was about 24, this exact process made me realize how much I wanted to travel and explore life abroad. I set in motion a plan that took four months to come to fruition and I moved from sleepy Durban, South Africa to busy, buzzing London, in the United Kingdom. A big dream had become a reality by simply getting organized.

    Working in Britain also made me realize that I wanted so much more from my skin care career and that has led to a fantastically enriched 18 years with The International Dermal Institute teaching all over the world. I am grateful every day for making the bold move to leave a stable job of 5 years to pursue travel dreams.

    Making a little time to reorganize, will give you opportunity to regroup, and inevitably re-focus. It may be just what you need to fire up your career, make those desirable life changes or simply make more of your current situation.

    January is the month where the New Year’s Resolutionists battle it out with the Cynics and Complacents. Some would say resolutions are a waste of time, as most rarely last beyond January. Yet, I would say that making them and keeping them depends largely on how important those resolutions are to you and your future.

  • SKINtuition: 5 Tips to Make Resolutions Stick

    annet croppedEmbarking on a new year means many of us will declare goals for 2016 (#Goals2016). Whether it is getting more financially, mentally or physically fit, starting or getting out of a business or relationship, or transforming ourselves entirely like Khloe K., resolutions are a great way to press the metaphorical “reset” button. However, research shows that only about 8% of us are successful in achieving resolutions. Reasons vary, but I think three may resonate with many of us.

    The past. When we are making that list, it is hard to not reflect on what we didn’t achieve the prior year. This can leave us feeling pretty lousy about ourselves, and that is not the best mindset for making positive changes.

    Guilt. Other “stuff” tends to get in the way of spending time on our goals, such as guilt about not giving enough time to our kids, our partner, our employees or our dog.

    Overachi­eving. Too many goals on the list can be overwhelming and paralyzing, not catalyzing.

    checklistSome good news—those who write down their resolutions are ten times more likely to achieve them. Find a partner to help you, and the odds go up again. So grab a pen and a pal, and try these tips to ensure 2016 fulfills your expectations.

    1. List Achievements and Fears First.

    Don’t begin with your 2016 to-do list. Rather, start out by listing the times in 2015 when you were superbly awesome. Include what you achieved, when you had to overcome fear and tried or learned something new. Print it, record it, pin it and every time you’re feeling less than confident or getting off track, read it out loud. Now that you are sufficiently pumped, take an honest look and make a list of what you fear and why. Is the fear rational? What is your plan to overcome it?

    2. Pick One Goal, Not Five.

    It is better to pick one specific, measurable goal that is broken into daily tasks or steps. This gives you a better chance of conserving enough self-control to succeed. For example, if your goal is to get regular exercise, your specific goal could be to go to the gym three times a week to workout for an hour or walk the dog every morning at 7a.m. for 30 minutes. Running a marathon, finding a mate and learning a new language while writing a memoir is a tad unachievable for most of us.

    3. Commit to You Time.

    The old cliché “take care of yourself first or you will have nothing left to give others” is not only true, but something that is very close to home in our industry. We are not the best at self-care as we spend our entire working day and sometimes home life caring for others. When you practice self-care in whatever form works for you (receiving professional help, meditation, massage, hiking a hill or weeding your succulents), you will have more time and love to give to those around you and energy towards achieving your goals.

    4. Hang Up the Cape.

    Many of us aspire to be a superhero and feel the pressure to compete and juggle it all, whether it is gaining a CrossFit bod, baking muffins for the kids, being a super thoughtful partner/​friend or moving up the corporate ladder. You simply can’t do it all at once; you’ll burn out and get overwhelmed. When you overextend yourself, you build up an energy debt, and have none leftover for your goals.

    5. No Shame Game.

    Don’t beat yourself up when you miss a workout, indulge in a latte or skip a class. It does not help. There’s even research to support this fact. Feeling shame increases stress and leads to worse outcomes. For example, fat shaming leads to more donut eating. So while it’s tough to say no to a Cronut or Krispy Kreme, eating a box shouldn’t be on anyone’s goal list.

    This article was originally published in SkinInc.com.

  • 3 Skin Care Habits Your Clients Should Keep Up With

    Tara - tempJanuary 1st brings many New Year’s resolutions to get healthy and take better care of ourselves. This usually brings the promise of going to the gym, eating better, and getting more sleep. However, another great way to take care of yourself is to focus on skin health! Most clients understand the importance of daily cleansing and moisturizing, but is that really enough? Think about the benefits of including weekly exfoliation, an at home masque and daily application of SPF. Not only will your clients see an immediate improvement in their skin, but your retail sales will also get a nice boost.

    So, why should a client exfoliate at home? Our skin goes through a natural exfoliation process called desquamation to help eliminate the buildup of dead skin cells. As we age, this process begins to slow down from every 28 days to 90+ days, resulting in dull skin. Thus, at home exfoliation is key to maintaining a youthful appearance. Clients will notice brighter skin tone, less breakouts, softened lines and smoother texture. Depending on the type of exfoliant (Scrub, Enzyme or Hydroxy Acids), recommended use may be 2-3 times per week. In some cases even a gentle daily microfoliation can be prescribed. Exfoliation should be performed after cleansing and will prepare the skin for the next important step in skin health, a masque!

    DERM_At_Home_Female_32637What does a masque really do? They are treatment products formulated to deliver concentrated ingredients directly to the skin. Think of it like this, a mini at home skin treatment in a bottle. A perfect way to give the skin a pick-me-up in between professional skin treatments. Depending on your client’s skin condition recommend a masque with multivitamins to nourish and replenish, Hyaluronic Acid and Tomato Seed Oil to hydrate and repair, or Activated Charcoal to detoxify the skin. If your client is time-compressed, help them choose a masque that does double duty with enzymes that act as an exfoliant too!

    Last, but certainly not least, everyone should apply SPF daily. We all know how important it is to apply your sunscreen during a hot summer day, but it is equally important to apply it on a cold rainy day. Temperature does not affect the UV index and clouds do not block all UV rays, in fact some cloud types increase the UV exposure. Remind your clients, if you can see the sun, it can see you. The sun’s potent UV rays can penetrate through windows too, so daily application of SPF will prevent cumulative photo-damage. Recommending a moisturizer with SPF is an easy way to ensure daily application.

    Don’t forget to help your client’s choose the best products for their skin by offering complimentary skin analysis with a detailed product prescription!

  • New Year, New Strategy—PR Tactics to Broaden Your Business Scope

    Lori MacGregor Considering adding PR to your marketing strategy this year? Consider this: PR, generally understood as securing third-party endorsements for your brand, is widely thought to be more influential (and less expensive) than advertising. That said, it’s called “earned media” for a reason—good PR takes effort and a dedication to building relationships with journalists, online influencers, and consumers over time. If you’re willing to put in the work, you can reap the benefits for years to come.

    Here are five ways to use PR to boost your business within the coming year.

    • Develop a press kit, a collection of assets that communicate the key message points and vision for your business. Press kits typically include a company backgrounder, service menu, location images, and a bio on the business owner or key staff. You might have printed copies to hand out, but most media prefer digital.

    • Connect with media influencers. Note local media outlets such as city magazines, newspapers, blogs, and TV news, and invite the appropriate contact in for a complimentary treatment—media will be better able to capture the spirit of your brand if they experience it first-hand. Reach out via email, briefly explaining what makes your business, staff, or menu unique. Then, roll out the (figurative) red carpet: confirm details the day before, give a full tour of the space, and ensure they are booked with your top-performing talent. Remember the old adage: you never get a second chance to make a first impression!

    • Provide unique content. Reporters cover news, so they’ll be motivated to cover a business that’s just opened or expanded, a seasonally-relevant skin treatment, expert tips that consumers can try at home, or local stories that benefit the community. Many publications plan weeks and months in advance, so be ready to preview your unique summer skin treatment in March. Be thoughtful about outreach; contact only with newsworthy topics, and never badger a writer with calls or emails. You want to build a relationship; be respectful and understand that if an idea doesn’t work, there may be another opportunity down the road.

    • Team up. There’s power in numbers. Partner with local businesses to create a neighborhood event, where guests receive exclusive deals, previews, or add-ons when they attend. Invite local business owners, customers, bloggers, and social media influencers, and encourage them to post photos on their social media channels, tagging your business. Social media is powerful media!

    • PR your PR! Amplify your accolades. Add press clips to your website, create display sheets for shelves, and highlight wins on social media. Always thank each journalist for coverage. Do it publically over Twitter, privately via email, or more personally with a handwritten note. You’re not obligated to send a gift, but complimentary product will keep your business top of mind as they plan their next story or segment.

    Adv. vs. PR

  • 6 Stress Relieving Techniques to Beat the Holiday Hustle

    Angela TaylorWhat does the holiday season mean to you? Time with family, the magic sparkle in a child’s face, indulging in too much food, giving to those you love, an opportunity to help others or just having time off… Unfortunately, although the festive season is often associated with joy, it can also be a stressful, lonely or sad time for many people. For those affected by depression or grief it can actually be the worst time of year!

    With the extra demands of the holiday season parties, shopping, baking, cleaning and entertaining to name just a few, it could be the tipping point that sends you into a stressed state. In our industry we are very well positioned to help our clients cope with the extra stress life may bring at this time.

    Here are my 6 top tips to help your clients avoid the stress overload during the holiday season:

    1. Schedule some “me” time. This may be in the form of an express treatment as clients are more time-constrained at this time of year. Be sure to create a place for them to escape during their treatment, where they can focus only on themselves for that moment. Also recommend taking a walk, reading a book or listening to some music—just simply taking a moment to distance oneself from the holiday mania will do wonders.

    2. Stop and breathe! Scientific studies have shown that controlling your breath can help manage stress-related conditions. Breath control is also used in practices such as yoga, tai chi and some forms of meditation. Many people use their breathing to help promote relaxation and reduce stress. Shallow breathing limits the diaphragm’s range of motion and the lowest part of the lungs don’t get a full share of oxygenated air, this can lead to feeling short of breath and anxious.

    holiday ornamentDeep abdominal breathing encourages full oxygen exchange. To make this even more effective we can combine with the inhalation of essential oils. These can directly stimulate the limbic lobe, also known as the “emotional brain” and is directly connected to those parts of the brain that control heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress levels, and hormone balance. Essential oils like Lavender, Geranium and Sandalwood are great for quieting the mind and soothing. So make time to diffuse essential oils that will encourage your clients to relax and take a moment to breathe!

    3. Turn to the healing power of touch. We are so privileged to have the permission to touch our clients through the treatments that we do, for many this may have been the only human touch they’ve had for some time! Serotonin regulates behavior allowing us to do the appropriate thing at the appropriate time. It also impacts emotions and subdues irritability. Low serotonin levels have been linked to sleep/wake cycle disturbances, depression, pain disorders and behavior problems, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder. Massage increases the availability of serotonin in the brain; oxytocin is also increased, which affects feelings of attachment and care-taking. Studies show that empathy for others is also increased.

    4. Practice mindfulness. Life means often we are guilty of having our mind completely full and therefore we can’t truly appreciate every moment. How many of you look at your tablet or smartphone first thing in the morning and last thing at night? Sometimes we need to switch off technology and take in those little moments and appreciate the details around us. Mindfulness is the current buzz word but it is a proven technique used to help depression, anxiety and stress, but it takes practice. So start with just pausing for a moment and really seeing the detail of what you do or appreciate the moment you are in.

    5. Connection with your surroundings. Connect fully with right now, when we practice this we pull ourselves out of the past or the future and bring ourselves back to the present. But connection is not only about connecting with ourselves, it’s about community, and our skin centers are a meeting point for a community, a place to feel connected and this may become even more important at this time of year.

    6. Get up and exercise. Research shows that physical activity can boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy, as well as reducing your risk of stress, depression, even dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. It doesn’t have to be hours of activity, 20 minutes can be enough if done regularly. So avoid sitting on the sofa watching all those Christmas movies, get moving you will feel better for it!

    Stress is part of life but remembering that at this time of year the most precious gift is time with loved ones. And as professionals, we too must practice what we preach—our clients look to us to help relieve their stresses—and if we’re not calm nor present, their treatment can be given in vain. So let’s not waste it by letting stress become the main focus, take action and enjoy the moment.

  • Climate Control: Adapting the Skin to Global Seasons

    Maria ThorburnMost people love the idea of hopping on a plane and jetting off to explore a faraway land. There’s nothing quite like travel to invigorate the senses with new sights and smells, to taste exotic foods and experience a different culture…but often with another country, comes another climate and in turn a very different skin than the one you’re familiar with.

    I am very fortunate to have a job that sees me travel much of the year, and when I’m not travelling for work I’m travelling for my own enjoyment. So I know only too well that when I climb on board an airplane I can expect my skin to go from smooth and dewy to dull and dehydrated, and that’s before we’ve even hit the runway!

    With the year drawing to a close and the holidays on the horizon, many of our clients will have plans to go away for some well-deserved R&R. Whether it’s a trip to a warmer climate in search of some sun, sea and sand, or perhaps to a winter wonderland with snow-capped mountains and log fires—your client’s skin health will most likely be challenged by the change in climate.

    As skin therapists we need to be mindful of these subtle changes so that we can make the necessary adjustments to their skin care routine.

    Handling the Heat

    hawaii coupleIf there is one piece of advice you can give your client it would be to never go without SPF! The allure of the sun on their shoulders and toes in the sand might be too much to resist; but remember that the sun is a primary cause of aging and pigmentation, and in this instance prevention is better than cure. Be sure that they protect their skin with a broad spectrum sunscreen of SPF30, or SPF50 for even greater protection. And if you suspect they will succumb to splashing about in the pool or sea be sure to advise them of the importance of reapplying the SPF regularly and liberally to avoid sunburn and severe damage to their skin.

    Some of your clients may also find that their skin becomes shiny and produces more oil than usual or perhaps they become more prone to breakouts, this can happen in a hot and humid environment where the sebaceous glands are stimulated to produce excess sebum. In this case you need to arm them with a mattifying serum with ingredients like Sarcosine and Niacinamide to suppress excess oil production, teamed with a good spot treatment containing Colloidal Silver and Tea Tree, which together, provide anti-bacterial properties to soothe away inflammation and speed up the healing process.

    These key products will help your clients get through a summer holiday looking more sleek and less ‘slick’.

    A Cooler Climate

    frosty lashesFor those seeking out some snow for the holidays, or perhaps live in a cooler climate, will find that the cold weather can be most unkind to the skin and zap every last bit of moisture from it. And when it’s cold there’s only one thing to do…crank up the heating! This alone brings a whole host of additional skin concerns for us to battle against.

    Cold weather can potentially do more damage to the skin than heat. It can deplete essential lipids from the skin’s barrier, which in turn leads to water loss and dehydration leaving the skin parched and flaky. Recommend that your client use a thick emollient moisturizer and barrier cream that contain ingredients like Evening Primrose Oil or Shea Butter to help replenish and protect.

    Another structure of the skin that takes a beating are the delicate capillaries that constantly expand and contract due to a combination of hot and cold temperatures as we move from outdoors to indoors—this is what causes those trademark red cheeks and nose. This ongoing action in the skin can lead to capillary damage, but by using a hydrating soothing serum that contains Red Raspberry and Honey, we can reduce inflammation and strengthen capillaries making them more resilient in extreme weather conditions.

    Adapting To the Seasons

    So whether it’s travel or the inevitable change in seasons, it will more than likely leave its mark on the skin. Our key objective is to ensure that our clients’ skin is equipped to make a smooth transition and adapt to the change. By listening to our client’s skin needs and observing visual changes through skin analysis, we can adjust their regimen to better manage the way in which their skin responds to environmental changes and the elements. Whatever the weather, we can rest assured that our clients will have healthy and happy skin throughout the year!

  • Why I Dare to Give, and You Should Too

    LG Headshot“I just don’t have the time.

    But I’m not qualified.

    I can’t find the right organization to work with.

    I can’t make a difference; I’m only one person.”

    Any of these sound familiar? You’re not alone. Most people have avoided the act of giving—whether they meant to or not—within their lifetimes, but this holiday season we challenge you to find a way.

    give backTo make giving easier than ever, there’s #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. Held the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it’s an opportunity for people around the world to come together and focus on one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.

    “But I’m a small business owner and don’t have the time or resources to give back.”

    Giving back is a win-win scenario for your business. Studies show that consumers around the world prefer to buy products and services from businesses that give back. In fact, 46% of consumers are willing to pay extra for these products and services. As professional skin therapists and salon owners, you have the opportunity to give back to your community while also drawing attention to your business and attracting new potential clients.

    Whether a non-profit organization, book club or even potluck dinner, individuals are always looking to be part of something greater than themselves. Giving Tuesday provides you with the opportunity to work with your clients to give back and, perhaps, appeal to new consumers as well.

    So the next question is obvious: how do you participate?

    It’s easy! Donate to your favorite charity or cause on Giving Tuesday. If you don’t have one yet, visit givingtuesday.org to research ideas. Check out what’s happening in your local community this year on Giving Tuesday (December 1, 2015), and be a part of it!

    Or join us to help women and girls achieve Financial Independence Through Entrepreneurship! Visit joinFITE.org to find out how. Always remember that even the smallest gesture goes a long way. Together we can all make a difference for someone, somewhere, somehow.

    How will you be giving back? Tell us @joinFITE #GivingTuesday.

  • Holiday Retail Strategies to Boost Your Bottom Line, With the Numbers to Prove It!

    Erin CareyAs the holiday season approaches it is an exciting time as spa and salon owners know they will see a peak in retail, service and gift cards sales. It is also the time of year where there is an overwhelming amount of competition, with many customers simply looking for the best deals.

    The latest retail holiday sales forecast is projecting as much as $965 billion in sales between November and January, a 4% increase over last year’s shopping season, pointing to a successful holiday season ahead [1]. Keeping in mind the importance of exceptional customer service, lock in those holiday sales and keep your clients returning to you with the following tips.

    DERM_Store_Training_31869• This is the time of year it’s best to offer a promotion such as gifts with purchases. For example, try offering a gift of the customer’s choice with any gift card purchase of a certain amount. Customers will be more willing to buy if there is an incentive for them in return. Fifty percent of consumers indicated that they plan on buying gifts for themselves while shopping for others this holiday season [2].

    • Train your staff to ask every client if they need any gift cards or retail purchases that might be suitable for their friends and family. Remember that every gift card sold is a potential new client. This is the time to lock in new clients as 46% plan to give gift cards this season and a whopping 58% of recipients plan to redeem gift cards within a month of receiving the gift [2].

    • Offer complimentary gift wrapping during the holidays and display examples of gift wrapping options, including gift cards. Custom gift baskets are another great option for clients by allowing them to customize a gift for minimal or no extra cost. Offering unique and custom gift options will help separate you from the competition. Customers look for special gifts with 42% planning to shop at local independent stores rather than malls [2]. The holidays can be stressful and little perks can make all the difference in a sale!

    Merchandise to encourage upselling opportunities while keeping displays clean and cohesive; focusing on what will help entice and intrigue the customer rather than an abundance holiday decor. Stock up on holiday kits and take advantage of deals vendors are offering. Promote seasonal kits and specials on a focal table that can’t be missed and keep small items near your cash wrap as “impulse buys”, which can make great stocking stuffers. Make sure to also offer a selection of service packages such as a bundled package in which clients can receive larger discounts the more services they purchase.

    Host a holiday themed event with special perks for your customers. This is a great time of year to partner with other local businesses and attract new clients! Offer a discount or credit towards products or services with the purchase of a gift card or holiday set. Each business can offer a bounce back to each other and by joining forces can reach more customers through social media outlets. Consumers are open to change, often looking for new stores and brands to make holiday their purchases, with 41% making purchases from a new retailer in 2014 [3].

    Remember that the holiday season can also help set you up for success in the New Year by taking advantage of the increased traffic. Don’t forget to capture all client information during this time of year, especially emails, getting permission to send your clients special offers and updates!

  • The Genius of Local

    annet croppedThere’s a popular saying that raising a child, “Takes a village,” but that same phrase can also provide a smart template for shaping a business. That is not to say that it takes a village to run a salon or spa, though sometimes I’m sure it feels that way. Creating deep ties within a local community—or village—is the best way to set your spa up for success.

    Channel Your Roots

    As a small business owner or professional skin therapist, you might compete against bigger chain establishments or online “flash” sales from local competitors. These competitors might have muscle in the marketplace, but they cannot offer your personal touch or the knowledge and relationships you have cultivated over the years.

    Consider this: when the dust cleared after the recession, it was the neighborhood spa who knew every client’s name that remained standing. It wasn’t the multi-door medi-spa with the laser hair removal specials and fancy ad campaigns. Humans are social creatures by nature. Connecting with your community should be a key approach in building your business.

    People want local, personal flavor, especially if they need to commute a distance for work every day. Focus your marketing campaigns to a 3-5 mile radius to resonate with this “locavore” mentality.

    Wyle Cop in Shrewsbury, EnglandSupport Your Neighbors

    People want to feel connected, and consumers respond with loyalty to merchants and vendors who care about what is happening in the community.

    Smart businesses are attuned to this. Catch that wave and be part of it! Get to know, and be supportive to your business neighbors, even if you don’t share the same key target market. Owners, their employees and families are all potential clients for you.

    Support each other’s social media pages—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more. Not only will your following grow, but you will be building relationships and be more tuned in with the local conversation.

    Join your neighbors and welcome in wanderers by opening your doors late on the “first Friday” of each month. Hold joint events with the yoga studio up the road and feature fresh-pressed juices from the spot next door.

    Tie in to Local Services

    Network via merchants associations and the Chamber of Commerce, and tie your philanthropy into the local services versus branches of huge national companies. Show your support by involving your business in ways that benefit local schools, libraries, women’s shelters, public works and utilities, fire and police departments, animal shelters and more. These organizations are the heartbeat of any local village.

    I live in sprawling Los Angeles, the city that was built on the single-occupancy automobile and the freeway. Personally, I try really hard to always use local service providers like my veterinarian, dry cleaner, hairstylist and electrician. I try not to shop or eat outside of my community, especially on weekends.

    This way, I can ride my bicycle, be more eco-friendly, and also do my part to support small business—after all, selfishly, I don’t want them to go away!

    Share Your Appreciation

    Don’t shy away from telling your clients how much you appreciate them and how much you need their support. Emphasize that you need them to buy their products from you directly, versus going online to a faceless source. People will be happy to support you!

    Proof of this in Los Angeles, New York, and probably your town, is the anti-Walmart proliferation of farmer’s markets for regionally grown edibles, indie coffee shops, or open air stalls offering assorted local wares.

    To quote another popular phrase, “No man is an island!” Make a concentrated effort to become embedded in the fabric of your community, and the locals will thank you.

    This article was originally published in Skin Inc. Magazine

  • Shining the Light on LED

    Derm_Headshot28775BB-e1422475470394-150x150For some, using Light Emitting Diodes (LED) to treat certain skin issues like acne and aging may sound too good to be true. How is it that shining a light on your client’s face will clear up those pesky breakouts and plump up their skin? Well, the science is in the stars. About 40 years ago, scientists at NASA discovered through plant growth experiments that light therapy was a beneficial way to repair damaged cells and speed up the healing process.

    Through the years the basis for this technology has been accepted as a non-invasive popular application to treat a variety of common skin conditions. LED photomodulation works similar to the way photosynthesis works in plants as it triggers the body to convert the light energy into cell energy. The light encourages natural cellular activity and “re-energizes” the cells in the skin.

    While the visible spectrum of light can be represented in many LED devices, we are focusing on the most researched and effective light waves: Red and Blue.

    Red LEDRed for Wrinkles

    Red light therapy, is a technology that uses visible red light wavelengths from 630-660 nanometers and infrared light wavelengths at around 880nm to penetrate deep into the layers of the skin. Red and Infrared light increases energy inside cells and jump-starts the production of collagen and elastin to help make skin firm and supple. Because the layers of the skin have a high content of blood and water, it makes it easy for the skin to absorb light. Most researchers agree that light therapy increases production of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP)—the energy or battery life of cells—and it may also work by targeting water layers on elastin, gradually restoring its elastic function reducing the appearance of facial wrinkles. In addition, Red Infrared light therapy also assists with blood circulation, which effectively transports oxygen and nutrients to the skin. Along with fighting wrinkles, red light therapy has been used in skin healing for rosacea and even eczema.

    Blue LEDBlue for Blemishes

    Blue light has a wavelength of 400–490 nm and has special effects on the skin especially when it comes to treating acne. When blue light reaches the sebaceous glands in the skin, it can help excite porphyrins, which are compounds inside acne bacteria (Propionibacterium acnes). When porphyrins are activated, they release reactive oxygen molecules that damage the bacteria internally, basically killing the bacteria from the inside out. Since red light helps accelerate wound repair, it’s often used in combination with blue light to treat acne, encourage healing, and lessen acne scarring and under the skin lesions.

    These two light wavelengths can effectively and gently make significant changes in the skin at a deep level by repairing cells, stimulating collagen and elastin and helping to treat acne. By incorporating these light therapies you can add another level of expertise to your skin treatments and energize your services.

    Keep in mind before shining that light—manufacturers of LED devices must gain FDA clearance in order to make certain claims about their devices. It’s always good to check on the company’s status and proven results before purchasing so you can ensure your client’s treatment is on track for optimal skin health.

    To see LED in action, watch the IDI webisode Using Machines to Power up Your Treatments-Part 2.