• Teen Challenge: Acneic Skin and Hydration

    Heather HickmanThe American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) reports that acne is by far the most common skin complaint amongst those in the 12 to 17 age bracket, affecting all at least occasionally.

    Being prepared to treat teenage clients with acne is high on our radar as Professional Skin Therapists. We are well versed in the key ingredients to combat the contributing factors of an acneic skin condition, and how to effectively explain to our teenage clients, and their parent, how the skin should be treated at home.

    Yet, often the hardest conversation revolves around the use, or lack thereof, of a moisturizer. All too often, our acne and oily prone clients have an innate mistrust of using non-medicated “creams” for fear it will lead to future or prolonged breakouts.

    Dehydrated skin is highly prevalent amongst those with oily or acne prone skin, especially if they have been using harsh over the counter products that may strip the skin of moisture and impair the barrier function. In addition, prescriptive medications such as isotretinoin further exacerbate the dehydration issue, sometime to the extreme.

    Education is a key factor in ensuring a moisturizer is utilized on a daily basis, specifically the ability to explain the difference between a dry and a dehydrated skin, and the need to add moisture, but not oil. And being able to clearly explain that if an oily skin is dehydrated the skin will produce MORE oil to make up for the missing moisture, potentially leading to more breakouts – that revelation works every time!

    Oil-free is the key, but let us not forget the need for the moisturizer to also soothe the skin and calm any irritation either from misuse of product, side effect of medication or inflammation from severe acne.

    Hyaluronic Acid is one of the best ingredients on the market to quickly, effectively and non-aggressively hydrate the skin. The use of Squalane in a moisturizer restores skin suppleness while also helping to prevent future moisture loss. Mild Vitamin B5 derivatives, such as Panthenyl Triacetate will assist in soothing and restoring irritated skin.

    Let’s not forget to join the “moisture movement” the next time we are treating our teenage clients oily or acne skin concerns – they’ll thank you in the long run.

  • IDI Supports California Legislation for Master Esthetics Licensure

    Heather HickmanWhat Is the AB 1153 Master Esthetics Bill?

    This bill would create an advanced education and licensure pathway for a master esthetician in California, while defining the scope of practice for both an esthetician and master esthetician. As it stands today, AB 1153 is being evaluated after passing it’s first step in the legislative process.

    Why Are We In Support of the Master Esthetics Bill?

    For over 30 years, IDI has pushed skin therapist education to its limits, literally redefining professional excellence and offering skin therapists a unique opportunity to reach their personal best by offering the most challenging and rewarding postgraduate skin and body therapy curriculum available anywhere today, with 38 postgraduate training centers worldwide, 18 of which are located in the USA.

    Our growth and development in the area of Post Graduate Education was based solely on the need in the skin care industry for higher education beyond the scope of licensure.  As the skin care industry has evolved through technology and consumer demand, the education provided through basic licensing has not been able to keep up and continuing education is not required in California.

    As an organization that provides education and product research and development, we are constantly aware of the need for training and educating skin therapists for their success and the safety of the consumer.

    As the worldwide leaders in Post Graduate Education, we want to ensure the many hours of advanced training taken by our IDI students are recognized and credited toward the master esthetics licensure, and that key IDI classes are counted as hours towards the Master Esthetic License.

    What Should You Do?

    As members of the professional skin care community you should stay informed and ensure that your voice is heard during the bill process. You can join the California Coalition for Advanced Skincare and Education and find out more details.

  • Grand Opening of New Dermalogica & IDI Learning Center in Atlanta

    More than 200 guests attended the new Dermalogica in Atlanta gala opening, located in the historic Atlantic Station in Midtown Atlanta, GA. Local stockists, professional skin therapists, students preparing for their licensing exams, skin care industry professionals and media from the area gathered at the 2,500 square foot space late January to celebrate the innovative new hybrid learning center; which merges consumer education, sales and professional training all under one roof.

    On hand for the celebration was Jane Wurwand, IDI & Dermalogica Founder and Chief Visionary, who welcomed the attendees with opening remarks and expressed enthusiasm for the importance of immersing retail customers with a brand experience — allowing them to see the professional in training and in action. “The professional skin therapist, not our ingredient formulations, is the hero in our industry,” she said. “Great products are important, but even the best formulations in the world will not help you achieve the desired results if you don’t know how to use them. We have brought the expertise of the skin care therapist out of the treatment room and into the spotlight! We’re very excited about our transparent business model, which invites the consumer to observe classroom learning and allows the consumer to be educated in the process.”

    Representing both The International Dermal Institute and Dermalogica, Wurwand was joined by Dr. Diana Howard, Vice President of Research and Development and Global Education, and Heather Hickman, Senior Director of U.S. Education. The Dermalogica & IDI team mingled with guests, who enjoyed hors d’oeuvres, gift bags, complimentary Face Mapping and product sampling at the Skin Bar. Hickman commented, “Everybody wins with Dermalogica’s hybrid approach. We are proud to give skin therapists the respect they deserve, and we are confident that customers will learn a great deal about their skin in the process.”

    The new Dermalogica in Atlanta learning center is located at 232 19th Street NW Atlantic Station, Atlanta, GA 30363 and currently offering classes. To view more photos, visit their Facebook page.

  • Prepping Party Perfect Skin

    Flash Glow Holiday Skin

    I’m sorry, what? The holidays are still three weeks away? Hard to believe, especially as my favorite coffee shop has been serving drinks in holiday cups since before Halloween! And if I hear one more rendition of “Walking in a Winter Wonderland” when it’s 75 degrees outside (I’m in L.A people!) I may have to take serious action… but, putting my bah humbugs aside, it does mean that there is still plenty of time to get your clients’ skin ready with some pre-party prepping… fabulous!

    Let’s Start with Treatments

    What do your clients want from a skin treatment prior to their big holiday event? I’ll tell ya… they want quick fixes and rapid results. They do not, and I can’t state this clearly enough, they do not, want candy cane facials or sugar plum pamper treatments… really, they don’t!

    If you’re off to a big event, you want radiant skin and you want it quickly. Rapid exfoliation treatments are key in party season. By rapid, I’m talking 20 minutes or less, bam! Out the door with glowing skin and a home care kit. Other 20-minute quick fix treatments to consider are breakout solutions, de-puffing eye treatments and of course smoothing lip treatments, to make that pucker mistletoe ready.

    Work in a full service salon? Well then team up! Quick fix skin treatment, blow dry, make-up application, nail polish. 1 hour and 20 minutes, ready from head to toe…..AND, a great way to cross promote all services to your existing client base.

    Getting Party-Ready at Home

    If your clients are looking to get party ready at home, consider a “Party Primer Product Package” for them to take home. I would suggest the following bundled together:

    Prep: A leave-on exfoliant will help to smooth the skin and give it a healthy glow. You need a hydroxy acid base with skin brighteners such as Rice Extract, ideally in a delivery system that provides a premeasured dose, so no over exfoliation takes place. Some other great options include an exfoliation masque with hydroxy acids AND enzymes, along with Diatomaceous earth to help refine pores; or a multivitamin skin polisher that imparts a blast of warmth like that first sip of hot cocoa, which also helps to drive ingredients further into the skin.

    Prime: Primers are used to smooth out the surface of the skin and help extend the wear of make-up. Unfortunately many primers on the market contain comedogenic waxes and fillers that can lead to congestion, skin irritation and even sensitivity. Ensure your recommended primer is skin friendly, or even better provides skin benefits. Look for non comedogenic smoothing agents such as Silica, natural skin luminosity providers like Hydrolyzed Pearl Powder or a non-drying ingredient like Mushroom Extract that also helps refine pores.

    Preserve: A toning mist can help keep the skin moist (as long as it’s alcohol free) and improve the appearance of skin texture. I find clients like a toner that has a flash firming property for added benefit, key ingredients being Bamboo and Pea Extract. A hydrating toner can also be spritzed over make-up to give a dewy effect.

    Post Party Apocalypse

    The likelihood is that more than one of your clients fell into bed post party with a face full of make-up, so ensure clients have plenty of oil-based cleanser with Borage Seed and Apricot Kernel oils, which all help to eliminate surface dirt and oil.

    Okay, I think we’re good to go. Let the partying commence!

  • The Summer Skin Switcheroo

    Heather HickmanOH YEAH BABY! Summer’s here, not that we have actually noticed here in supposedly sunny California, I guess “June Gloom” is just a way of life for the beach dwelling Angelino. But my gripes aside, now’s the time to start thinking about varying your clients Skin Care routines and cranking up your treatment offerings to address those seasonal skin shifts.

    Hey, Heather! I hear you cry “isn’t changing my clients’ skin care routine just a cunning ploy to make them buy more product?”… No ma’am, it is not! Read on and try not to weep…

    When sunlight comes into contact with skin, a cascade of damage results – like the stripping of barrier lipids causing dehydration and inflammation, the production of reactive oxygen molecules that affect healthy cell growth and the stimulation of collagen destructing enzymes. Need I continue?

    Congestion and breakouts can also result on oilier skins, mainly from the use of daily SPF and increased humidity and temperature levels. We (hopefully?) use more sunscreen in the summer months and these are designed to adhere to the skin and sit on the surface. Not cleansing the skin thoroughly enough will result in breakouts. Chlorine, salt water, heat, humidity and travel also lead to dehydration, which are a big part of the summer lifestyle. Get the picture? Well alrighty then. Now that we are in agreement that a change is in order, let the games begin!

    Keeping it Clean
    Switch your clients to an oil based cleanser. I know, it sounds a bit scary, but oil dissolves oil… yes, really! An oil based cleanser will eliminate excess sunscreen, dirt and grime, leaving a cleaner, clearer skin. And a gentle reminder to double down on the double cleanse won’t hurt either, twice in the morning, twice in the evening.

    The Key to Hydration Is…?
    EXFOLIATION! Corny, I agree, but true none the less.

    You want to up the ante while ensuring that you are choosing the right exfoliant for your clients’ skin type: gentle rice bran for sensitive skin, hydroxy acids and Vitamin A for aging skin and clay-based exfoliants with enzymes and Salicylic Acid for oily skin.

    Portable Spritz
    Cruising around with the roof down and sitting in an air conditioned environment: cool though it may be, it can suck every drop of moisture out of the skin.

    A great tip for your clients is to always carry a mini spritz toner in their purse to mist and hydrate skin throughout the day. Using a toner under moisturizer also helps layer moisture, even out absorption and stretches the moisturizer further when the skin is damp. Look for hydrating ingredients like Aloe Vera, Balm Mint and Lavender.

    At our company stores, we love putting travel size spritz toners on ice by the front door during the summer, so our clients can sample the product and hydrate and cool down at the same time.

    Defying Gravity
    Your goal is to fortify and strengthen the skin throughout the summer months. Packing the skin with age-fighting antioxidants, peptides and botanicals to protect against free radical damage and enzymatic breakdown of proteins will help prevent ultraviolet (UV), age-related damage. Look for cocktails of Vitamins E, C, D, E, Palmitoyl Pentapeptide, tripeptides, oligopeptides and Retinol in serums and concentrates to go under moisturizers or in eye creams.

    Breakouts Be Gone
    For those clients who tend to break out, be sure to recommend an oil-free SPF. Treat any summer breakouts with a topical solution containing 5% Benzoyl Peroxide or Salicylic Acid. This will kill bacteria, expedite healing and no doubt make your client summer far more pleasurable.

    Seasonal Treatments
    If we are changing up our clients home care routine, we should follow suit by offering seasonal specific treatments too. One of our favorites is an SOS (save our skin) summer quick fix:

    Of course, you are going to use your oil based cleanser – that goes without saying. We then use a gel-based after sun product and galvanize it into the skin with positive polarity galvanic current, or we penetrate the product with microcurrent. Follow this with a calming and hydrating oatmeal masque, an application of a Hyaluronic Acid-based serum and an oil free sunscreen, and you have the perfect summer skin pick me up… you’re welcome!

    Enjoy your summer!

  • Show the Love for Valentine’s Day

    Heather HickmanWhether you have already been stung by cupid, are still waiting for the first arrow to strike, or have spent the past year plotting the demise of that pesky cherub, there is no escaping the fact that it’s nearly Valentine’s Day.

    I’m a big fan of the Japanese version of Valentine’s Day. On February 14th it is only the women that give gifts (traditionally chocolate) and then on March 14th there is “White Day” where the men give more impressive gifts like, ooh, I don’t know… Louis Vuitton bags and Gucci shoes… genius, right?

    Anyhow, I digress… regardless of your feelings on the matter, Valentine’s Day is BIG business, over $15 billion last year in the US alone, and my assumption is that you would like a piece of the heart shaped pie, yes?

    Yet, much like the rules of dating, there are rules for Valentine’s Day promotions:

    Rule 1: Remember your brand
    When planning any type of promotion or event, you must start by ensuring you do not deviate too far from your brand image. It can be tempting to go overboard with hearts and candy, but remember the best way to sustain business is not to position yourself as a “pampering treat,” but rather a health conscious necessity. Keep it simple and keep it branded!

    Rule 2: Think big picture
    Valentine’s Day is the perfect time for treatment promotions to gain new clients, but the key is to retain them. Look at introducing treatment promotions for February that have an incentive attached to rebook for a follow up treatment in March.


    Rule 3: Climb outside of the box
    Gift Certificate promotions are great, but maybe it’s time to get a little more creative to stand out from the crowd? How about a couple’s workshop on foot or shoulder massage techniques? Charge a workshop fee that is redeemable against product purchases or treatment bookings made on the night of the event, (remember, you need to gain AND retain them).

    Rule 4: Don’t discriminate
    The singletons need love too… target your single clients through direct email and your social media outlets and encourage them to bring an unattached friend to your “Single and Sensational” event. Incorporate skin lessons and short targeted treatments like eye rescue or lip renewal. Don’t forget to make it fun; maybe have some music, a healthy cocktail (remember your brand) and a goodie bag with an incentive to come back and book a full treatment with you.

    Rule 5: Share the love!
    Valentine’s Day is all about showing some love, so how about sharing it? Charge a registration fee for any event or promotion you introduce this month and donate the proceeds to your favorite non-profit organization; embedded generosity goes a long way… even with that persistent cupid!

  • Holiday Season Skin Survival

    Heather HickmanI hate to be the one to break it to you, but only Rudolf can carry off the “red nose” look with any semblance of finesse. So, if your clients are suffering from glowing noses and rosy cheeks this winter, it’s time to provide a few home truths and crusade for party season skin survival.

    A good place to start is triggers and tripwires that may be the root cause of redness and sensitivity; here are a few main ones that you may come across this holiday season:

    christmas-party-champagne1. Alcohol

    Although we know it is not the cause of Rosacea or sensitivity, alcohol, especially in excess, dilates blood vessels, making a red face look redder. In a survey of 700 Rosacea suffers published in the “Rosacea Review,” certain alcoholic beverages saw a higher percentage of redness occur after consumption; these include beer, red wine, vodka and tequila… so maybe skip the shots? Also try turning down the “one for the road” (or “road soda” as they’re known in my circle) and alternate drinks with a tall glass of water. And don’t forget your designated driver!

    2. Diet

    If you pig out this season, remember that heavy meals put a strain on your system in general, especially your digestive system. This will result in a higher blood flow to the digestive system, and in turn, a higher residual blood flow to the face. Smaller meals spread throughout the day will help to avoid the strain. And remember: Simple Carbohydrates. Are. Not. Your. Friend! They enter the bloodstream quickly, causing hyperglycemia. This rapid influx of sugar into the bloodstream is a potent vasodilator.

    3. Smoking

    Strange things happen to some people at parties, a couple of glasses of wine and they’re outside having a sneaky cigarette giggling like teenagers… you know who you are! Smoking has so many adverse effects on the skin it’s hard to know where to start, but skin dehydration is one of them as well as the depletion of Vitamin C and how this affects collagen production, and of course collagen supports the capillaries. Find an alternative. Have a carrot, chew a matchstick, dance a holiday jig, just don’t do it! If you’re a committed smoker, it’s never too late to quit… New Years’ Resolution… pinky swear?

    Now before you start posting comments about me being the “Queen of the Party Poopers,” I’m not saying don’t have fun this holiday season—far from it—I’m just saying do it in MODERATION, your skin will thank you for it next year!

    Happy Holidays!

  • The Tricks and Treats of Halloween Skin Care Survival

    Girl with Halloween face art on white background

    BOO! Happy Halloween!

    Oh yes, it’s that time of year already. Candy, costumes and copious amounts of makeup… sign me up!

    While there is no shortage of websites and You Tube videos demonstrating makeup application techniques to transform you into your favorite vampire, pop star, pirate or super hero, where are the sites with information on removing all of that makeup, while still keeping your skin intact? Right here, that’s where!

    Halloween makeup is generally heavier and thicker than normal every day makeup and is designed to adhere to the face to give a masking-type effect, while depositing color onto the skin. They are high in artificial colors, fragrances, waxes, fats, chemicals and oils, and they are designed to withstand sweat (for stage and screen) and form an occlusive coating on the skin, which may result in comedones, congestion and full-on breakouts.

    Let’s Start With the “Tricks”

    Before you even consider applying that green glitter or black face paint, make sure you have a good protective base. One word: silicones.

    A silicone-based moisturizer will not only provide you with a smooth makeup application, it will impart a protective shield between your skin and your chosen disguise. This can help prevent irritation on the skin from artificial colors or fragrances. Silicones are also a great aid in reinforcing the skin’s lipid barrier layer, particularly if combined with Evening Primrose Oil, which is high in Gamma Linoleic Acid to further enforce the barrier lipids.

    Once the party is over, do not – and I repeat – do not, fall into bed with your fright mask intact. Makeup should always be cleansed off of the skin to avoid breakouts. Un-cleansed skin is dirty skin, as it naturally produces oils, sweat and around 40 million dead skin cells a day; mix that with atmospheric pollutants and the waxes and oils from the make-up and you have a soupy, dirty mixture than can cause a multitude of skin problems and can worsen conditions such as oiliness and sensitivity.

    A hydrophilic (water loving) oil-based cleanser is the key to removing that heavy makeup easily and without sensitizing the skin. Oil attracts oil; therefore this type of cleanser will dissolve all the dirt and grime. Oil-based cleansers are also excellent at dissolving waterproof products and substances you may have used to achieve your chosen look, such as eyelash glue or other adhesives (I’ve never tried it on fake blood, but I’m pretty sure it will do the trick!). Double cleansing the skin is imperative, so a second cleanse can be performed with a skin-specific cleanser.

    Another good “trick” is a leave on exfoliant with a Salicylic Acid base. Beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) have a larger molecular structure then their alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) cousins. BHAs are lipid soluble (meaning they are attracted to oil), versus water soluble or water loving (like glycolic acid); BHAs are also keratolytic, meaning that when used on the surface of the skin, they will effectively penetrate clogged pores and other lipid debris, exfoliating within the pore, making them an ideal formula choice after application of oil and color rich cosmetics.

    Now for the “Treats”

    Okay, if you can look in the mirror and recognize yourself again, it’s time to ensure your skin has plenty of moisture to get over its night of horrors. Start the hydration boost with a concentrated serum. A good bet is Hyaluronic Acid, which is able to hold a thousand times its own weight in water, intensely moisturizing your skin. Then seal and protect with an amino acid rich moisturizer to further hydrate the skin—and voila! You’ve reached your ghoul (sorry goal). It’s like it never happened – what happens on Halloween, stays on Halloween.

    Before you go… One final tip: try to give the Trick or Treaters at least some of the “good” candy; don’t eat it all yourself, you’ll only regret it in the morning!

  • Serums: Should You Believe The Hype?

    Heather HickmanGee-whiz, hasn’t skin care come a long way? Remember the days of “pamper” treatments? Remember when your “facials” consisted of steaming & creaming & lasted at least 1 ½ hours? Remember that pink uniform with the puffy sleeves (please tell me I wasn’t the only one that had one)? Oh, happy days.

    But those days are gone, long gone, because quite simply, your client’s aren’t buying it, your clients are skin savvy, your clients are time crunched & your clients want results! So the real question du jour, my friends, is… are you utilizing the products & procedures to provide them?

    Cleansing, exfoliating, hydrating & protecting the skin are just the fundamentals; knowing the power houses in your skin care arsenal is pivotal in ensuring client expectations are met, and nothing is more potent than a serum.

    Serums are super-concentrated, powerful yet lightweight fusions with either water or oil bases. They are often referred to as concentrates and contain a higher dosage of biologically active substances than their moisturizer (cream) counterparts. This means quicker, more effective penetration of actives to get, you guessed it, skin care results!

    Most professional serums are water based, and as such, their beneficial results can be accelerated by utilizing them with electrical modalities. Depending on the viscosity of your serums, they may be used in this manner alone or with the aid of a hydrating gel masque. At the International Dermal Institute, our two favorite methods of professional serum application are Iontophorisis with Galvanic Current, or Microcurrent for rapid product penetration. Combining your highly active ingredients with these modalities is an excellent way to get sure fire results on the skin, especially in a time compressed targeted treatment.

    In regards to client home care, there are serum formulas available to address a myriad of skin care concerns. As anti-aging skin products are the fastest growing sector of the skin care market, let’s start there, with one word: cocktails! Oh no sorry, not those type of cocktails, I’m talking ingredient cocktails. An effective product can’t ride on one ingredient, it’s all about synergies. You need ingredients to boost Collagen & Hyaluronic Acid, scavenge free radicals, repair the barrier function and increase skin luminosity. New advancements in ingredient technology now permit certain active peptides to be formulated into an oil base, allowing for the added benefit of essential oils.

    So, should you believe the hype? If you stay smart, know your actives, read the labels and consider the ingredient mix, then yes, believe away!

  • What Effect Does a Summer Swim Have on Your Skin?

    Swimming pool

    As the temperatures rise in the northern hemisphere, off we head, swimsuit (and hopefully sunscreen) in hand, to the closest beach, pool or lake we can find. No harm in a quick dip right? Well, not exactly!

    An Ocean Swim

    Rich in trace elements and minerals, and with a composition not dissimilar to human blood plasma, seawater, arguably, has many unique healing properties for the skin. Many skin health benefits are specifically attributed to the Dead Sea, such as treatment for eczema, psoriasis and other extreme, dry skin conditions. Yet it is important to note that these benefits do not come from “salt” or sodium chloride, but from the high magnesium levels found in this body of water.

    Nonetheless, it’s not all good news. Salts in high quantities can be the skin-drying scourge of the summer flesh baring masses. Diluted salt is almost impossible to remove from the skin with lye based soap or non-foaming wash, so even after showering, traces of salt deposits may remain on the skin, absorbing essential moisture. Couple this with excessive sun exposure and you have a dehydrated skin with an impaired barrier function – never a great combination!

    A Day at the Pool

    Chlorine is a toxic chemical; it has been used in water systems to combat disease for over 100 years. It is a necessary component of swimming pools and hot tubs, due to its disinfectant qualities. Chlorine’s harsh composition strips the skin of its natural lipids, therefore exacerbating moisture loss in the skin that leads to dehydration. Showering immediately after exposure can help to reduce the moisture loss by ensuring the skin does not suffer prolonged contact.

    Another potential risk of chlorine exposure is skin irritation. While technically waterproof, our skin has the capacity to absorb chemicals from water sources. This means that low level exposure to chlorine, as found in swimming pools, can cause skin irritation in the form of contact dermatitis. Wetting the skin with non-chlorinated water prior to exposure can lessen the amount that can be absorbed and lower the risk of irritation.

    Now, let’s not even mention what chlorine does to your summer highlights! I’m on a one women crusade to bring swim caps back in vogue…who’s with me?

    And on that note, chlorine and salt deposits are not the only culprits of swimming related dehydration. Water itself (ironically) removes moisture from the skin, and need we talk ocean pollution?

    Proactive Post-Dip Tips

    Summer swim trips can still be fun; just share these post-dip skin steps with your clients to help them maintain a healthy, hydrated summer skin:

    • Shower as soon as possible after swimming – and don’t forget to reapply that sunscreen if staying outdoors.

    • Cleanse the skin with a foaming skin wash. Look for natural foaming agents such as Quillaja Saponaria and skin conditioners including Panthenol (Pro-vitamin B5), Lavender and Sandalwood.

    • Exfoliate. Recommend exfoliating products that have additional cleaning qualities to further aid in the removal of chemicals and salts. For the face, choose Rice Bran and Papain to gently slough away dry skin cells. For the body, choose mild abrasives such as Olive and Date Seed.

    • Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! Lock in hydration; repair the barrier function and calm irritation with Evening Primrose Oil, Vitamin E and Madecassoside.

    And why not introduce a post-bathing body wrap or chlorine combating skin treatment to your summer menu, your clients’ skin will thank you for it.

    Final tip about swimming this summer – don’t swallow the water! The effects of that could be a whole other blog!