Choosing an esthetician? Have you ever had a facial, a body scrub, a chin wax, leg wax, brow thread or even a reflexology treatment? If the answer is yes, nine out of ten times those services were performed by an esthetician or skin care therapist as we are now called.
Why nine out of ten times? Because there’s always someone who’s performing these services that shouldn’t be.
When you’re looking for a service that involves your skin, along the lines of let’s say, a facial or waxing, the person performing those services should have a license that’s been issued by the state you’re in. Yes, a license not a certificate. Licenses are typically issued by the office of Board of Cosmetology in every state.
This means the person with that license, has taken a written and practical application exam and passed it for the requirements set up in a given state. Each state has different requirements in terms of hours in order to qualify before you can even take the exam. No passing grades from an esthetic/cosmotology school, no license.
A certificate is what’s given when you take Continuing Education courses to keep your skills up to date or for a training that you’ve taken to better your knowledge in a given area. The provider of the course or training gives a certificate of completion once you’ve finished the course.
The level of work, study and knowledge required for a license, goes much deeper than that of a certificate program.
By the way, the license should be mounted on the wall of the facility where you’re getting your service performed. It’s typically renewed every two years. However, that can vary from state to state.
As a trained and licensed professional, the esthetician can perform services such as hair removal (whether it’s by waxing, threading or sugaring), makeup applications, body scrubs and of course a facial.
There was a time when estheticians were only found in salons and spas. Now you’ll find them in doctors’ offices from dermatologist to plastic surgeons. It all depends on the service you seek. The esthetician that works in a doctor’s office will be able to assist with services such as chemical peels and laser treatments. It will also depend on the doctor as to how much freedom the esthetician is given when it comes to these services, especially with laser treatments.
Resurfacing, rejuvenation or light therapy - all deal with the use of a laser, which is an intense pulsating beam of light. Laser treatments are used for hair removal, reducing facial wrinkles, blemishes or acne scars. This pulsating light is often used in acne treatments, it helps to reduce bacteria on the skin.
The pulsating beam of light is actually a laser beam that has intense heat, enough to damage the hair follicle and inhibit future hair growth. In order to remove wrinkles, blemishes or acne scars, the laser is removing your skin layer by layer.
It’s especially important for those of you with melanated skin to be cautious when it comes to laser treatments. It has a tendency to make your dark skin even darker, often leaving it rough and dry. If the person providing the service is not familiar with treating melanated skin, it can present a really serious problem.
On the other hand, if a person is familiar with treating melanin-rich skin but doesn’t have proper training with lasers and darker complexions, this too can cause serious problems. Know the credentials and level of experience of the person using the laser machine on your skin.
With the chemical peel, you are actually removing layers of your skin also. For melanin-rich skin, chemical peels can actually produce permanent scarring, cause permanent change to your complexion. Peels have made some darker, even darker as well as induce chemical burns.
Estheticians “assist” doctors with laser treatments. You will find certain facilities where the esthetician will give chemical peels and this will depend on the nature of the peel.
Can chemical peels work on melanin-rich skin? Yes they can, as long as the esthetician/or doctor providing them understands the nature of your skin.
This service is something that most women endure. There are several ways that estheticians remove hair from your body. Whether it’s your arm pits, legs, eye brows, chin or your vaginal area there are procedures for doing so.
Waxing is the most common form of hair removal. Wax on, hair off. It can also cause discomfort for some people.
Then there’s threading for brow treatments. I must admit, this has been the best method of hair removal for me. The hair seems to not grow back as fast when removed by threading. Threading is getting its share of converts from waxing. Waxing the brow area can cause the delicate skin over the eyes to breakdown faster and have you looking older than you’d like.
Sugaring uses only sugar, water and lemon to create the water-soluble paste that removes hair. The hair is removed from the surface and the root. This increases hair softness, and over time reduces hair growth. It’s a milder form of hair removal and more gentle on your skin. Although mainly known for brow hair removal, sugaring treatments are used to remove hair from all parts of your body.
The facial is the signature service performed by estheticians. So much so, until most people think that this is the only service an esthetician performs. Did you know that in order to perform a basic facial the esthetician has to know the anatomy of the body? The main systems - nervous, circulatory, muscular, endocrine, integumentary, digestive and urinary. Understanding this tidbit helps minimize breakage and keeps your hairs from turning inward causing in grown hairs.
Why must an esthetician know these things? Because in order to give you a facial, the esthetician must understand how your blood flows, the muscles in your system in order to give you a proper facial massage. Steam is used in a professional facial. Steam softens your skin so that serums and certain mask will penetrate deeper into your moist skin as well as makes the removal of blackheads easier without causing damage to your skin.
Because of the different skin types, the esthetician must understand what type of products to use on dry, oily, normal or combination skin. And when the esthetician is treating conditions such as acne or sensitive skin, her or his knowledge will tell them what products to use and in what order to get the best results.
Facials provide a deep pore cleansing of your skin.
If you’re on certain medications, it may not be the best time for you to receive a facial. The same rule applies if you have a cold sore or active herpes.
Cleansers help to remove dirt and debris from your skin. The use of cleansers helps to ward of bacteria buildup, thereby reducing the possibility of spot acne or a full blown case. Ordinary bar soaps strip your skin of its natural oils, therefore they are not always the best cleansers for your face.
Cream based cleansers are gentle, yet effective enough to remove dirt and grime without stripping your skin of its natural oils.
The major purpose of toners is to gently prepare your skin to accept any nourishing, moisturizing, regenerating, activating or boosting skin products.
Steaming your skin provides the esthetician with the opportunity to remove black or white heads without causing trauma. Steaming also allows you to soften your skin prepping it for a mask or serum treatment.
The Facial Massage
It allows the esthetician to enhance the blood circulation in your facial muscles thereby providing a youthful and glowing appearance to your skin.
Masques are used to draw out impurities and tighten your skin. Masques can also help hydrate, nourish the skin and provide a much needed boost of nutrients in order to make it look revitalized.
Moisturizing - Moisturizers are designed to hydrate your skin as well as to help smooth and soften it. They also help minimize or eliminate dryness, supporting your skins natural moisturizing factor.
The big question becomes … How well can an esthetician perform the services that you might want or need?
Got someone in mind? You can always go to your state government’s website and under licensing, do a search for an esthetician. They will tell you whether or not the esthetician’s license is active or expired. You’ll difinitely need to know this information if you’re choosing to use the service of someone who works from home. Any salon or spa will have the active license displayed.
Go in with a list of questions and interview them. As a woman with melanated skin, you'll want to ask as many questions as you need to feel comfortable. Ask how much experience they have working with women of darker complexions. Don’t be shy, you have to protect your skin. The same rules apply when choosing a dermatologist or plastic surgeon.
Don’t rush the process unless you’ve got serious skin problems and even then, be thorough.
That’s it for this week. You can share your experience in the comment box. Your comments will help all of us. As always …
Dedicated To Your Beauty,