• Top 3 Post-Grad Courses Every Skin Therapist Should Take

    Tara - tempOur industry has evolved from the idea of applied beauty to in-depth knowledge of skin, and there are several trends in continuing education that exhibit these changes. We have noticed an abundance of post graduate workshops and seminars that promise profitability, but will they truly deliver? Let’s take a look at three hot skin care classes that can elevate your skill set as a professional skin therapist that will wow your clients, and maybe even a future employer.

    Medical Skin Care

    The medical field is utilizing skin therapists evermore to help improve the health of a patient’s skin pre and post-surgery. Skin treatments are usually offered as part of a package combined with medical procedures; thus making a huge opportunity to grow our skill set and become profitable when working hand in hand with doctors. Sign up for a class that discusses common MediSpa procedures such as injectables, lasers and skin needling and how to navigate the MediSpa environment.

    DERM_IDI_Modalities_31521Advanced Exfoliation

    Are you properly prepared to offer state-of-the-art treatments like hydro-dermabrasion, ultrasound and/or chemical peels? Just because we can use these tools doesn’t mean we understand their full potential. For that reason, education will allow us to learn how to get the most out of our treatments. Take a class that shows you how to apply these advanced exfoliation techniques and how they can be used alone or other with products. Incorporating these advances in exfoliation can help you give express treatments that yield immediate results!

    Oncology Skin Care

    Cancer has long been considered a contraindication for professional treatment—that is until now! It all starts with one question: Do you have any compromised lymph nodes? This question opens up a conversation with a client to let us know how to proceed with the proper modifications. Learn about oncology skin care to understand proper modifications for massage, products to avoid, and how to safely care for an oncology patient. Not only are you performing a beneficial service, but also growing your business at the same time.

    Don’t know where to start? Take a look at IDI’s class offerings (USA) and lectures such as: Medical Skin Care: What Therapists Need To Know; Acids, Peels, and Exfoliants; and Cancer Aware: Client Safety and Lymphedema. No matter where you work or the treatments you offer, it is always important to stay CONNECTED!

  • 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.

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