Five Things You Should Tell Your Esthetician
By Anna LaTour, LE
1. Be honest about your medical status such as recent illness, pregnancy or even the possibility of pregnancy, and the starting or discontinuing of medication. There are some chemical peels that are not advisable during pregnancy and if you aren't sure, it is better to avoid them just in case. If you were recently sick, you may have been on an antibiotic that will make you more sensitive to light or laser treatments. And if you just recently stopped taking oral contraceptives, it may be a contributing factor for an acne flare up. You may need to adjust your skin care regime or see a dermatologist to help you through the transition but with the right information, your esthetician can choose the better treatment plan for you.
2. Let them know if you have used any topical medication recently. Know the names of your medications. Using a topical with tretinoin or acids may make the treatment you are about to receive a stronger one than intended. A very mild chemical peel can turn into a very strong one if you have recently exfoliated or forgot to stop your retinols. There are many times that even a simple brow or lip wax can turn into a ugly scab because the use of a retinoid topical and the wax removed not just the hair, but skin as well.
3. Be honest about any recent sun exposure. Even unintentional sun exposure is sun exposure. It's easy to think that because you aren't laying out trying to get sun, that you aren't getting exposed. Being in the pool, going to sports games, gardening, golfing, or any outside activity is sun exposure. Sunscreen is helpful only if you are applying it every 2 hours and using shade as much as possible with hats and umbrellas and even then, sunscreen is only giving you a percentage of protection. Even a slight tan from recent sun exposure can cause unwanted burns or hyperpigmentation when using a light therapy treatment, such as laser hair removal and photofacials.
4. Let them know of any products or services that have not worked for you in the past. Whether you just do not like the product or service, or you experienced irritation, this will help your esthetician tailor your skin care program without these aggravators. If someone says they have used a very well known TV line that treats acne and they say it caused an acne flare or irritation, I usually try to avoid using benzyl peroxide, which is the main ingredient, and suggest a different topical. And even treatments that have caused irritation can be a clue into what to avoid and what other services may be more beneficial.
5. Finally, always let your esthetician know if something does not feel right or if you are uncomfortable with a treatment or service. Specifically do not be afraid to speak up if you are uncomfortable during a treatment because everybody has a different pain tolerance or comfort level. Certain procedures like laser hair removal, photofacials, and even extractions are not necessarily pleasant, but they should not be unbearable either. If we can position your neck more comfortably, or lower the intensity of a treatment to make it better for you, we definitely will and can. Most estheticians appreciate feedback because we want to give the best possible treatment and make it enjoyable at the same time. Please communicate when it is needed.