Monday, June 22, 2015

Why so many questions, Carolyn?

The following is taken from a post on my blogsite for professionals: Help for Aestheticians: Starting a Business. This article, Client Information Charts—Part II, has some good information in it that I thought you’d enjoy reading.

Perhaps some of you have wondered why I asked so many questions on your initial visit with me, and now youll find out why. This article goes over the many questions that I ask a first-time client during the intake phase of the treatment before I give the hands-on facial. As you will see, these questions help me better understand a new client’s skin—even before I have seen it up close. Here is the article from Help for Aestheticians to explain why I ask so many questions:

The following was written back in 1990, before I had published my first book, Timeless Skin. I was gathering information to write a book for aestheticians that never made it into book form. Much of the content I have prepared for this blog [Help for Aestheticians] was inspired by that idea—providing information to help aestheticians. I wanted to include this older writing because it does go into more detail about the specific questions I ask. Even back then, after only 4-5 years as a working aesthetician, I knew what I was talking about!

The Importance of Creating A Client’s 
Skin Care Consultation Form
As aestheticians, we need to understand the importance of knowing our clients, from the inside out. The more questions we pose to the client, the more we are going to understand about the condition of her health, and therefore the condition(s) of her skin.

Other than the obvious name, address, and phone number, you must find out her date of birth. Over the years I have had several women actually refuse to give me the year of their birth. In this situation my reply to their reaction is this: In order to get a full and complete understanding about the condition of your skin, it is helpful if I know, chronologically, how many years it has been alive. At this point, she will either reluctantly give me the information or she won’t. Don’t fight it, just get her general age if nothing else. It is true: knowing how long a client has been alive does help me better understand the condition of her skin as I am seeing it that first time.

After that, more basic information can be asked such as Do you wear contacts? Are they in or out? Do you have allergies to any known ingredients or products you have used on your skin recently? Most women are not still using products on their skin that have caused reactions, however there may be ingredients in your products she may have an intolerance to and you need to make a note of these.

I always ask Do you take any oral medication on a daily basis? This is an important question; let me explain. Medication taken orally affects all aspects of the body—from your little toe to the hair on your head, including the skin. And of course it’s treating the symptom you are taking the medication for in the first place.

Medication is basically toxic. Its job is to fight off or kill, and it’s affecting the entire organism. We need a great deal of water to help filter these toxins out of the body, so water intake must increase. Medication also depletes vitamin stores (this varies with each medication), which must be replaced if optimum health is to be restored or maintained. Because of this, there is usually some degree of dehydration and possibly some specific vitamin deficiencies lurking around. So be on the lookout for these conditions when analysing the skin, and remember their presence is probably due in part, at the least, to any medications your client is currently taking.

Some women don’t consider The Pill as “medication.” However, it is. The Pill contains hormones that alter normal bodily functions and will produces some of the same effects mentioned above as well as a host of conditions on its own.

The birth control pill tricks your body into thinking it’s pregnant. In other words, your body cannot distinguish between being on The Pill and being pregnant. So taking The Pill for long periods of time, in my opinion, exhausts the normal body functions—both hormonal and otherwise. This can cause serious damage long-term if the body is not given a chance to recover periodically. And because hormones have so much to do with the skin, primarily sebaceous secretions, it is important to note if your client uses them. Whether it be The Pill for younger women, or estrogen and other hormones for women entering menopause, make a note of these.

Next, Do you smoke?—obviously, this is very important. Smoking (along with air pollution and things that are cold, to name a few) causes a constriction of capillary walls, the hair-like veins that are the blood network to the skin on the face. These capillaries, says one plastic surgeon, “are like wet toilet paper.” Yes, they are very weak indeed and are very easily “broken or, more accurately, rendered dysfunctional.

Smoking also breaks down vitamin C in the body. Vitamin C is water-soluble and goes out with your urine. It is not stored or produced in the body and therefore must be obtained from our diet on a daily basis. Being deficient in vitamin C is common, and for a client who smokes or lives in a polluted environment or does not have a very balanced and healthful diet, you can almost be sure she is lacking in this very important vitamin.

Vitamin C helps with the production of collagen, which is the supporting structure of the skin. Vitamin C, and specifically bioflavinoids, help maintain the integrity of the capillary walls to prevent their dysfunction. Bioflavinoids are found in the rinds of fruit. Lemon, lime, and grapefruit rinds are especially high in bioflavinoids. Although I am not a big proponent of taking supplements, I do recommend for my clients to consider taking vitamin C with bioflavinoids to make sure they are getting the necessary amount needed by their bodies. [I keep a container of chewable vitamin C tablets on my desk for my clients.]

Because this vitamin is water-soluble, it is almost impossible to take too much of it (overdose). Whatever is not needed will be filtered out in the urine. However, vitamin C in high doses will induce diarrhea, or excessive looseness of the bowels, so let your body—your bowels—be your guide. If you have a client with chronic constipation, perhaps vitamin C would be helpful for her.

Next, ask How much sun exposure do you receive? Are you in direct sunlight—as in sunbathing—often or rarely? Again, this will help you to access the condition of her skin, and it will also give you a pretty clear indication of the mentality of your client in relation to sun exposure. I find some people really arent that concerned with how much sun they are receiving, although sometimes these will also be the clients who are very concerned about the aging process. Finding out the answers to these questions can open up conversations that will surely be helpful to your clients in the long-term.

It is my belief that overexposure or even exposure to direct sunlight for short periods of time, has a detrimental or degenerating effect on facial tissue. This may be old news, but many of my clients do not buy into all the clinical studies being presented nowadays against frequent sun exposure. They believe that sun truly enhances their looks as opposed to having detrimental effects. The truth is the number one cause of premature aging, other than the natural genetic degeneration process, is sun exposure. I’m not advocating absolutely no sun exposure, however I am suggesting that, as often as possible, to not let direct sunlight hit the face. Actually the face, neck, and hands. All three are the most frequently exposed, therefore the most overexposed areas of the body. And in turn they are the parts that will show the signs of aging most readily.

Sunlight is essential to our health and well-being. As the sun hits the skin, it triggers certain vitamins to synthesize, namely vitamin D, which is important to help sustain life. Our bodies depend on sunlight for nutrition, and besides—it feels good to be out in the sun. But spend your time wisely and cautiously and keep your face, neck, and hands covered, always using ample sunscreen. As for your clients, my advice is the same.
The American Cancer Society (ASC) puts out an informative pamphlet called, “Fry Now, Pay Later.” I highly recommend handing these out to your clients and especially to the clients that are overexposing themselves. The booklet is free of charge, simply write to your local ACS. [OK, the 1990 date is showing: “Write” to the ACS? You can easily go on the Internet now for free information.]

I touched on the importance of water, and now you can ask your client directly, How much water do you drink—a lot, not enough, or none? I cant always tell if a client is drinking a lot of water. I dont see the internal hydration water provides—necessarily—with a noticeable, well-hydrated quality to the outer skin. Realistically, drinking water is for the benefit of the inside of you, not the outer, dead skin. No matter, praise those who are drinking a lot, and encourage those who are not to drink more water. 

Next, Do you take vitamins? If so, Which ones? I find many people take some sort of multivitamin, although some take no supplements at all. Other than the water-soluble vitamins, namely B-complex and C, I actually think people are better off staying away from “vitamin therapy.” Vitamin pills are usually synthetic concentrations of valuable ingredients found in organic foods. I prefer recommending a client adding higher quality foods to her diet instead of the quick-fix vitamin pill.

Like other medications taken orally, vitamins can have an adverse effect on the system. Because of their high concentrations, the vitamin content most likely goes through the body undigested. These pills also require more water for their digestion and elimination. Certain people feel better with vitamins, some feel no difference. Our job as as their aesthetician is not to preach nor prescribe, but to educate and advise. You may simply want to suggest that it would be preferable to obtain all vitamins through the daily diet, and if further vitamin intake is desired, then take them in good health!

Last and surely not least on this questionnaire is the subject of exercise. Do you exercise frequently, infrequently, or not at all? Oxygen is paramount to health. Without water and oxygen we would die rather quickly. It is the oxygen and nutrients carried in the blood that feed and nourish all the cells of the body—including the skin—which is why exercise is so crucial to our long-term health.

Some form of exercise is important to the overall health of the body. Whether it is simply walking a few miles several times a week or a more rigorous routine, the importance of frequent (even if it’s moderate) exercise should be encouraged.

Exercise also gives you a higher body consciousness. You become more aware of how your body feels and are more in-tune with what your body needs. You can better regulate your body weight, and you become stronger and more vital. The benefits are endless and we have all heard them endless times. We must set good examples by practicing the regimes we are advocating as well as educating our clients through our words.

As you have read, there are many reasons why I ask the questions I ask. They all are geared to help me better understand you, my client. If you have a facial and the aesthetician doesnt ask some or all of these types of questions, I wouldnt necessarily discount the service provider; perhaps she will go over things during the facial or perhaps she doesnt approach skin care the same way I do. I have actually never had a facial where the aesthetician asked many and sometimes any questions like this. We all have our individual ways of providing facial treatments. You will decide whether your facialist is someone to keep going to or not.

For more information, see: