Attaining and Maintaining Healthy Skin

Why a Professional?
Professionals give personal guidance on the latest in skin care maintenance. Central to this specialty is the use of creams, lotions, wraps, clay or gel masks, and salt scrubs. Some technicians may also utilize machines to help deliver high-tech services. Esthetic practice is different from dermatology practice in that it specifically excludes diagnosis, prescription, or any other service, procedure, or therapy that requires a medical license. If you're being treated by a dermatologist, your esthetician will provide complementary and support therapies. In addition, estheticians are trained to recognize early signs of many medical conditions, including skin cancer, and will refer you to a dermatologist when such care may be necessary.

What Is Right For Me?
"The benefits of seeing a well-trained, licensed skin care professional on a regular basis are multiple," says Alison O'Neil Andrew, a licensed esthetician and founder of Atlanta-based Beauty Becomes You, a nonprofit esthetics foundation for the elderly. She says, "General maintenance, correction, and prevention are all offered through the services of an esthetician." Skin care professionals are experts trained in skin wellness, helping clients balance oil and moisture content and achieve a healthy, youthful complexion. A variety of treatments and products are used to protect skin from environmental hazards and combat fine lines, wrinkles, and a dull, uneven skin tone.

Estheticians are also skilled in managing conditions such as acne, rosacea, eczema, and dry skin, to name just a few. Through specialized therapies and remedies, a skin care professional can help ease the burdens such conditions can cause.

Furthermore, skin care treatments are wonderfully relaxing and rejuvenating. If smooth, healthy skin is your aim, a skin care professional will benefit you.

First Timers' Fears
Getting a skin treatment should be relaxing and enjoyable. During your first appointment, your skin care professional will discuss your skin care issues and goals. You will be asked about your genealogy, lifestyle (stress, exercise, diet), and the products you've used, all of which give the practitioner insight into your skin's current condition. She/he will also visually evaluate your skin, observing it up close and touching it to evaluate tone, texture, and sun damage. Once the practitioner has studied your skin, the two of you will work together to determine a course of action to achieve your goals. This plan will likely include treatments, home care, and follow-up appointments. After the experience, you will likely be relaxed, more confident, and looking forward to your next visit.

Education, Homework, and Results
In addition to providing face and body treatments for personal use, skin care professionals educate clients on proper cleansing, exfoliating, hydrating, and stimulating regimens for home care support between visits. Estheticians may also supply you with information on lifestyle choices, such as nutrition and exercise, to further support your skin health. "Skin changes from season to season, year to year, even when you move from place to place," says O'Neil Andrew. "Conditions arise at different points in your life due to stress, hormones, or other physical changes going on in your body. Your skin care therapist will know what you should use and when to change your program."

Types of Treatments
The following therapies are popular treatments you are likely to see on an esthetician's menu of services:
Chemical Peel: An exfoliation process usually used to minimize fine lines and wrinkles.

  • Exfoliation: Removal of dead skin cells, manually or using chemical peels.
  • Extraction: Proper pore cleansing, the removal of blackheads, whiteheads, and blocked pores.
  • Facials: After analysis, cleansing, and preparation, a mask is applied to the face. Therapeutic ingredients vary based on skin type.
  • Microdermabrasion: A technique utilizing a machine to exfoliate the uppermost layers of the skin. Used to treat hyperpigmentation and uneven surface texture. In some states, microdermabrasion can only be performed by a physician or by estheticians who meet certain requirements and/or who are supervised by a physician.
  • Waxing: Hair-removal technique. Warm wax is applied to the skin, allowed to cool, then removed.

Healthy skin is attainable if you set yourself on the right path to achieve it. "Remember that skin care does not have to be complicated or require a myriad of different products," O'Neil Andrew explains. "It just has to be something you do everyday.

See your esthetician regularly and take care of your skin daily, and you will always have the beautiful skin you are looking for."

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