• Look Good, Feel Better

    The International Dermal Institute (IDI) & Dermalogica UK have formed an exciting partnership with Look Good Feel Better (LGFB), a cancer support charity, who provide practical support for women struggling with the side effects of cancer treatment. LGFB held their first UK workshop in 1994 and has to date provided support to more than 114,500 patients. The workshops and master classes take place across the UK where volunteers share their tips and techniques in skin care and makeup application. Their aim is to improve the self-image and appearance of patients through free group and self-help workshops that provide practical support while helping to create confidence and a sense of well-being. LGFB is the only charity that focuses on the problems associated with the visible side effects of cancer treatment and addresses how hard loss of hair, eyebrows, eyelashes and other skin related issues can be to cope with.

    Due to the high demand of the services LGFB provides within hospitals, they have devised master classes that take place outside of the hospital environment and are designed to reach those in more isolated parts of the country. IDI is pleased to be able to provide suitable learning spaces, equipment and enthusiastic staff on hand to assist.

    On 18th February, we hosted our first LGFB master class at our head office in Surrey! Working with staff members from the charity and a trained volunteer, we helped provide the eight women in attendance a skincare and make-up application lesson, which educated them on effective product choices and utilization. Our very own Lesley Corridan, Education Training Manager, first guided the group through tips on cleansing and toning for sensitive skin, followed by some great advice on hydration and the all-important SPF. With lots of great questions and plenty of fun, the group then threw open their makeup bags with reckless abandon and revealed their favorite must have items. The volunteers lent a hand as the women were guided through a simple makeup routine, applying brows where there may not be any and even how to apply fake lashes.

    With almost everyone having been touched by cancer in one form or another, we are thrilled to be able to partner with LGFB and put our skin care skills to another incredibly beneficial use and look forward to an exciting future together.

    “Look Good Feel Better (LGFB) is delighted to be working with Dermalogica and to launch our new relationship we held one of our confidence-boosting Master classes at the stunning Leatherhead offices. As the LGFB and Dermalogica volunteer team found out, our sessions are informative, involving and great fun and everyone leaves looking and feeling uplifted, with renewed confidence and a definite spring in their step. We have firm plans for a long and successful partnership with Dermalogica and thank everyone involved for their commitment and support” – Sarahjane Robertson, Executive Director

  • Stay Sun Smart and Save a Life

    With the change in seasons we should be saying goodbye to the winter and hello to the summer.  As the sun has finally made an appearance, so has more bronzed skin, occasional peeling and maybe pink bodies? It’s not just British tradition to shrug off our clothes the minute we feel a few rays, but after years of warnings about skin cancer, shouldn’t we have learned our lesson?

    At the beginning of this year our team’s focus has been to share our knowledge about solar damage and protection. We have been very busy taking IDI congresses on the road, travelling and educating markets in Europe, Africa & Middle East on such a valuable subject.

    As professional skin therapists, we still face the challenge of educating people that daylight protection is a must for any skin, any race and should be used daily. Even though consumers may feel good from the sun’s rays, do they look good? And are they aware of the huge risk of skin cancer? In the UK, the number of reported cases of skin cancer has more than quadrupled since the 1970s and over 2,600 people die from skin cancer each year — but this increase is on a global scale. The highest rates of malignant melanoma are reported in Australia and New Zealand.

    Not only do we have to deal with such shocking facts, we are also faced with the constant bombardment of TV celebrities showing off their tanned skin and the general perception that tanned skin is more desirable, teens, especially girls, are purposefully avoiding sun protection and some are even seeking the sun. This has become such a problem that some countries have adopted a law banning underage people from visiting tanning salons. That’s why our job as a professional skin therapist is more important than ever. Not only are we experts on treating the skin but we must also become experts in educating consumers on using daily protection.

    Here are some expert tips from our IDI team that you can share with your clients:

    “A great tool to download is the mole map from the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). You can give this to your clients as a hand out for prevention against skin cancer.” – Geraldine Schefermann, IDI UK International Regional Education Manager

    “Don’t forget to apply your SPF daily for protection, even on a cloudy day. Apply your sunscreen to all skin (face, ears, hands, neck, etc.). You can even apply as lip balm to your lips. Look for a sunscreen that is broad spectrum, as this will protect against UVA and UVB rays. The label must say broad-spectrum or UVA/UVB protection. If it does not say either, you may wish to look for another product.” – Victoria Convy, IDI UK International Corporate Trainer

    “It is advised to wear long sleeves, trousers, tightly woven fabrics, wide brim hat and large sunglasses that absorb UV. You can purchase clothes that have a UPF rating (ultraviolet protection factor) that blocks out both UVA and UVB (SPF is just UVB). Some fabrics do a better job than others; polyester is excellent, whereas cotton and rayon score low. UPF50 indicates a fabric or garment will allow only 1/50th (approximately 2%) radiation to pass through.” – Sharon Maxwell, IDI UK International Education Manager for Europe, Africa & Middle East

    “Don’t forget that whilst driving you can also catch the sun. A great idea is to keep an SPF product in the glove box of your car. You can then apply as needed, especially to the backs of your hands whilst driving” – Maria Thorburn, IDI UK International Senior Instructor

    “When you are near water, snow, or at the beach, watch out as reflection can increase the intensity of UV.  Make sure you are re-applying SPF every 2 hours and immediately after swimming.” – Arabella Lane, IDI UK International Training Specialist

    For more information on sun protection and skin cancer visit: 


  • South Africa Embraces Oncology Skin Care

    Skin therapist education is essential in performing skin treatments on cancer patients or clients with a history of cancer. It is definitely an area that was not well explored when studying basic skincare in undergraduate school! Fortunately we were recently able to host a two day workshop with Johnnette du Rand, co-founder of Greet the Day and Institute of Integrative Oncology based in USA. Johnnette works in close collaboration with numerous cancer centers and has been trainer and supervisor for their integrative touch oncology programs since 2003. She received the 2008 Humanitarian Award from the Women’s Cancer Research Foundation for her work in the clinical center setting, and has worked in hospital, hospice and spa settings since 1999.

    The workshop introduced skin therapists to the unique and changing needs of oncology clientele, and helped prepare them with the skills and knowledge to provide safe, therapeutic treatments.

    This invitation-only exclusive workshop was hosted in three different locations across South Africa. Johnnette began her journey in Johannesburg on March 3, thereafter traveling to Durban to host the workshop on March 10 and finished off on March 17 in Cape Town. As there were detailed practical sessions involved in both days, a maximum of sixteen therapists attended each location, to ensure individual attention and perfect movements.

    The skin therapists were greeted by a humble-natured Johnnette and a seemingly large workbook! Her gentle nature and passion made the workshop come alive, as certain myths were clarified and personal stories were shared. The knowledge gained was absolutely incredible and the conversation flowed easily throughout the days. The practical sessions ensured that our students left the two days confident to work on either cancer clientele or survivors. We discussed treatment objectives, safety considerations, product selection and massage practices for oncology skin treatments, including adjustments required to safely address lymphedema, a common side effect of cancer treatment.

    Knowing that we, as skin therapists, are able to provide relief and comfort to a cancer patient through the ability to touch is eye opening. It reminded me why skin therapy is truly the best profession to be in!

  • Compromised Lymph Nodes and the Skin Consultation – What to Ask

    There is no way to avoid working with clients whose lymph nodes have been compromised. A compromised lymph node is one that has been impaired as a result of medical treatments such as liposuction, thyroidectomy, breast reduction, or the node has been removed, radiated, or biopsied during diagnostic procedures or cancer treatments. It does not matter whether the diagnostic results were positive for cancer or not; the fact the nodes were tested means they have been compromised. Anyone with a compromised lymph node within a primary routing area – specifically cervical, axillary, or inguinal – is at risk for developing lymphedema.

    Lymphedema is an abnormal accumulation of a protein-rich interstitial fluid that can occur in the arms or legs, associated trunk quadrants, and also in the head and neck. The condition develops when lymph vessels or lymph nodes from a primary routing cluster are damaged or removed, or the integrity of the lymphatic system is in some way compromised. Although frequently associated primarily with breast cancer, lymphedema may also occur as a late or long-term side effect of medical treatment for melanoma, head, neck, and throat cancer, as well as cancers located in the lower quadrants such as ovarian or gastric carcinomas. The risk of lymphedema is a lifetime risk, and the condition itself is irreversible, uncomfortable and can be painful. While there is no cure for lymphedema, it can be managed.

    Managing lymphedema involves diligent care of the affected limb, and it is expensive and time-consuming. Skin treatment modifications during cleansing, massage, and heat applications on the neck, décolleté or arms during a treatment session will always be required for the client with compromised axillary or cervical lymph nodes.

    Many of us work with a detailed intake, which is essentially a compilation of well thought out questions intended to stimulate discussion about a client’s preferences, lifestyle and stress levels, sun exposure, and what her primary skin treatment objectives are. This type of comprehensive consultation reveals valuable information for the therapist, and although considered imperative for the first time client, it is often not revisited during the ongoing process of seeing regular clientele. Unfortunately clients don’t always readily self-identify as having compromised lymph nodes, and therapists who don’t know better seldom ask. Clients may not self-identify because they don’t understand the critical implications inherent in the modified delivery of their skin care treatment, or they think the therapist may turn them away, or perhaps the medical diagnosis and subsequent treatment are so far in their past that they think the information is no longer relevant.

    I invite you to reconsider the consultation process, especially with your existing clients. Return to basics. Remember, the consultation is about communication. Communication is the process by which information is successfully shared between two or more people. Ask your clients whether they have had medical treatments that affected any of their lymph nodes, and then modify your service accordingly.

    Karey Hazewinkel York has 12 years of experience specializing in advanced skin care education. A licensed esthetican, massage therapist and spa consultant with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and gerontology, Karey runs a program at the Hoag Family Cancer Center, providing support to patients focusing on skin changes during and after cancer treatment. Being a breast cancer survivor herself, she is keenly aware of the importance of assisting all patients in feeling more comfortable with this new part of their life.

  • What is Oncology Skin Care?


    Sensitive. Dehydrated. Barrier Impaired. Surprising as it may be, treating the skin of someone undergoing chemotherapy and related cancer drug treatments is often times the simplest part of the skin care service. In working with oncology clients it is actually the other considerations that go hand-in-hand with cancer treatments that pose the greatest challenge for the skin care therapist such as compromised blood cell counts, blood clots or risk thereof, involved lymph nodes, tissue integrity, bone involvement, medical devices, clients’ experience of side effects, and long term or late effects of treatment.

    In addressing skin specific considerations, identifying therapist guidelines for oncology clients starts by establishing whether you are working with a client in active treatment and recent recovery, or someone in long-term survivorship. With regards to the latter client population, understanding the modifications related to compromised lymph nodes will serve you best, and treating their skin will most often depend on your resource knowledge on how to treat aging, dehydrated, and sensitive skin (note order of words).

    In working with clients still in active cancer treatment or recent recovery, skin is usually extremely dry and dehydrated, inflamed and irritated, fragile, sun sensitive, and can be very reactive. In this situation treat the sensitivity first. Product properties that minimize exacerbating skin sensitivities include an acidic-neutral pH to minimize the flux in skin pH; surfactants or emulsifiers that will not strip the skin of its moisture or strip the lipids and proteins of the stratum corneum; moisturizing ingredients such as emollients, humectants, and occlusives; and formulas without potential irritants and allergens.

    Additional core guidelines model the “Less Rule” in practice; avoid excessive heat, steam, and anything invasive, aggressive, or too stimulating. Put on hold physical scrubs, Retin A or Retinol-based products, strong chemical peels, alcohols, astringents, anything that dries the skin, and extractions because of the potential for easy bleeding, easy bruising, inflammation, and the very serious risk of infection.

    Many cancer treatments can additionally cause photosensitivity. Help your clients understand that the best sun protection is reducing exposure, a hat, and a physical sun block.

    Oncology client: Anybody who is in, or who has a history of cancer treatment. Considerations are often different for each client, and during active treatment or recent recovery can regularly change.

    Oncology skin care: Oncology skin care is an advanced field of study and involves the modification of skin care applications in order to safely work with the effects of cancer and cancer treatment. Essential aspects of an oncology skin care therapist’s skill set are an informed understanding of the pathophysiology of cancer; the side effects of cancer treatments, such as medications, surgery, chemotherapy and radiation; and the ability to modify skin care applications, techniques, and product selection in order to adapt for these side effects, as well as for the disease.

    Johnnette du Rand, CMT, NCTMB, CMLDT, Skin Therapist
    Greet The Day, Institute of Integrative Oncology

    Greet The Day programs complement medical care and have provided thousands of hours of oncology massage, skin care, and supportive health practices for people with cancer. Greet The Day is a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization.

    Visit for more information.

  • Sanitation and Clients with Cancer

    What words strike fear in the hearts of oncologists? When their patients say, “I’m going to the spa.” Why, you may wonder? Well, one of the primary concerns for oncologists and nurses is sanitation when it comes to their patients getting spa treatments. As skin therapists, we work in an environment that is frequented by many, is small and has a lot of prime spots for those sneaky germs to hide. Steamers, towel cabbies, trolleys, product bottles, brushes and sponges are all potential breeding grounds for bacteria.

    The importance of adhering to strict levels of sanitation cannot be stressed enough, particularly when delivering skincare care treatments for cancer patients. Usually we don’t think too much about it; we sanitize our tools, wipe down our trolleys at the end of the day and keep things tidy. It isn’t problematic as a general rule because our standard clients are not affected in the same way that clients with cancer are.

    However, skin treatments for cancer patients it is a new sanitation ball game. As a refresher, here are some basic guidelines to double check your cleaning habits:

    • Sanitation must be done utilizing an EPA-registered, hospital-grade sanitizing agent – one that is bactericidal, virucidal, fungicidal, and tuberculocidal.
    • Use disposables where possible.
    • White sheets, towels and robes allow for bleach in the washing machine along with color free, fragrance free detergent.
    • All brushes and implements must be washed in anti-bacterial soap to remove loose debris prior to soaking in wet sanitizer for 10 minutes. Brushes/implements are washed again with soap to remove disinfectant air dried. Once dry, all implements are to be stored in a covered storage container.
    • All surfaces should be wiped down with a germicidal sani-cloth (not a Clorox cloth) in-between treatments. Residue should remain on the surface as directed by manufacturer.
    • Wet sanitizing agent should remain on hard surfaces according to length of time specified by manufacturer before removal to be effective.
    • Bowls should be washed thoroughly with anti-bacterial soap and dried in-between clients.
    • Products that were used should be wiped down with a germicidal sani-cloth, paying particular attention to the neck of the tube or pump where product can accumulate and provide a hospitable environment for those pesky bacteria.
    • Equipment that was used during treatment, trolleys and even treatment room doorknobs should be wiped down with a germicidal sani-cloth in-between guests.
    • Rubbish bins should be emptied in between guests.
    • Frequent hand washing cannot be stressed strongly enough, for both therapist and client.
    • Wash floor of all spills in between clients.
    • Wipe out towel cabinet with germicidal sani-cloth to prevent growth of bacteria.
    • Empty steamer frequently and keep a supply of fresh distilled water; leave to dry when not in use.
    • Ensure there is enough time for adequate sanitation practices in between clients.

    To reduce the risk of exposure to many common (and for most people, harmless) germs, your facility may want to consider setting a day aside specifically for clients who have cancer.

    Overall, implementing these sanitation protocols will help reduce risk for all guests, and having your sanitation practices outlined and available for review will alleviate many fears.
    Happy Sanitizing!