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  • Exfoliation in the Treatment Room: Rough or Smooth Sailing?

    The exfoliation step of a professional treatment can be bitter sweet. While it can be a profitable revenue stream and deliver visible results for your clients, it can also cause the most harm, and worst case scenario, create a possible legal situation for the skin therapist. So here are a few basic rules to ensure you keep sailing safely and smoothly through your exfoliation treatment:

    1. Ensure your client completes a consultation card. Check for typical contraindications like prior laser or resurfacing medical procedures, oral and topical medications that affect cell turnover (like Isotretinoin, Retin A, Renova) and note the client’s use of products containing exfoliating ingredients. Cleansers scrubs, masques, treatment serums and moisturizers that contain hydroxy acids, retinol, enzymes or physical abraders like grains, beads and particles all add up and can contribute to an overly exfoliated skin, especially when combined with professional level exfoliation. Don’t forget to also ask about tools like Clarisonic brushes and at-home microdermabrasion kits. Make sure your client signs the consultation card, which protects you should anything go pear shaped – like the undisclosed TCA peel she received 2 weeks ago! Also, maintain due diligence on your end by filling out all the details of what you did, what you used and for how long; in a litigious situation this could help to ensure you keep your license.

    2. The consultation card is only the first step – an in depth, hands-on skin analysis is critical before selecting your exfoliant! First, assess whether or not the client has a healthy, intact skin barrier. If you suspect that the skin is dehydrated, sensitive and/or could be reactive, aggressive exfoliation should be avoided. Always ask your client questions about how their skin feels: do they ever experience burning, itching, soreness or stinging? Perhaps when they apply a product or after they have cleansed their face? This helps to determine the integrity of the lipid barrier, as you may not always see visible signs of sensitivity. Even a recent cold that resulted in repetitive nose blowing can strip the delicate lipids that reside between the cells, and an application of the mildest Lactic Acid could result in a painful and traumatic skin response.

    Keep in mind that as professional skin therapists, we must work within our scope of practice, and that means removing only dead cells NOT healthy tissue! Exfoliants below a pH of 3 and over 30% Lactic Acid or Glycolic Acid are not permitted.

    To learn more about exfoliation techniques, sign up for our class, Acids, Peels and Exfoliants. Book online or call 1-888-29-CLASS (25277).

    2 Comments

    • DOLLYFOGG Says:

      so glad to part of this sight Thank You

      February 25, 2011 at 10:01 pm
    • Walney Says:

      12 and older is fine! Its better to pvneret skin problems then try to get rid of them later on. If you have good skin or no skin problems yet just start of with a gentle skin rountine. Like cetaphil products, or aveeno or products meant for sensitive skin. Then when you start getting ance or skin problems neutrogenas products work magic. Hope this helps;)

      May 9, 2012 at 11:17 pm

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