"There is a huge surge in different high-tech skin care equipment in the marketplace," says Annet King, director of training and development for the International Dermal Institute, which has added classes on new technology (see "find your focus"). "We feel it is important for our students to be able to provide great results for their clients or there is a possibility they will end up losing their client base to another spa. They need to be able to combine technology, cutting-edge ingredients and their touch to bring about the best possible results."
Today's micro-current machines can lift aging skin on the face and decollete, while LED units can treat acne,
pigmentation problems on the face and cellulite on the body. Microdermabrasion resurfaces skin, which can be a lifesaver for clients suffering from acne scars, stretch marks and enlarged pores. And galvanic and high frequency
services, already common in treatment rooms, are used to clear congested pores and to improve skin circulation and the penetration of products.
"The future of skin care is truly about science and
technology," confirms David Suzuki, president of Bio-Therapeutic. "Your success as a skin therapist is reliant on your knowledge and ability of layering the available efficacious developments."
your best bets
Machines can be crucial to your practice, whether you work independently or in a medical spa setting, agree experts. An esthetician can maximize her investment in these machines by developing new services around them and promoting them to her clients. For example, says medispa consultant Melinda McMillen, ultrasound and microdermabrasion machines are great for thinning out the stratum corneum before laser treatments and increasing their efficiency. In your business, develop series packages or
add-ons that are recommended pre-treatment.
Your target customer will likely recognize the value in combining tech with touch. "There are two groups that are going to be the most interested in what you have to offer with these machines," says Suzuki. "The 'Baby Boomer' segment of our society represents the largest single group of the United States population, holding the majority of cash. They, in themselves, are a reason to cater your menu and services toward age-defying services." But not to be left out of the treatment room is the newer generation, the one with a lifetime gym membership and penchant for organic foods. "This generation is educated and aware of preventative health and aging concerns, and has made it a priority to invest in it now," says Suzuki. For these clients, "preventative aging skin care" are key words that will draw them in the door.
But before investing in a machine, do your homework, says McMillen. "A lot of technicians and spa owners forget to ask questions before they purchase equipment that is already outdated technology, or defective with no equipment loan or replacement, or which their state licensing board doesn't allow them to use." Danielle Tsoklis, director of education and development for Silhouet-Tone, warns that the boom in high-tech skin care means that manufacturers are coming out of the woodwork. "Find a reputable company that has been around a while," she says. When you know their history, you can depend on them for
long-term equipment maintenance, ongoing training, and service and repairs.
Reputable companies often have their own trainers, training centers and may even offer an examination and certification. Learning to use their machines may take from one to several days. Don't shortchange yourself: "Hands-on training with the manufacturer is essential," says King.
Bone up on your technology now—because the options will only increase. McMillen declares estheticians won't believe what is just around the corner. "I feel that we are at the beginning of a whole new generation in the use of non-invasive light and sound modalities for the regeneration of skin and the correction of lines and pigmented lesions," she contends. Look for light therapy machines that do more than just rejuvenate skin, new ultrasound devices designed for esthetician use and more developments in lasers. McMillen also cites companies researching technology that could ultimately make ultrasound endermology as effective as liposuction.
Even these machines will still depend on the skill of the esthetician to be used effectively, adds McMillen. "Nothing replaces the tactile thing the esthetician does that the skin needs. These affordable medical spa procedures will draw skin clients for technicians who understand how skin functions, because the skin has to be prepped before and maintained afterwards."
for pros only
Knowing your high-tech tools will only make you a better esthetician—your knowledge is what your clients rely on, says McMillen. "My belief as an educator and clinical esthetician is that our most valuable tool as professionals is our ability to analyze and identify what skin needs." When you know your client's skin, you will be able to best treat it with your touch and technology.