When was the last time someone closely examined your skin? For many of us, we rely on what we THINK we know about our skin. Perhaps when getting your makeup done one time, you were told you had “dehydrated” skin, or that department-store lady trying to sell you a fancy cream insisted something totally different. Maybe you battled acne when you were younger and havn’t really taken into account that your skin, over time has in fact, changed.
The truth is, most of us rely on our own analysis, knowledge gleaned from our own experiences, trial and error and things we have learnt along the way. Wading through all the jargon and rhetoric marketing company’s use to sell you the latest “must-have product” can be very difficult to navigate.
Unless you actually know your skin type and exactly what it needs at any given time, it can be all too easy to fall into the trap of purchasing something purely because it promised the skin of your dreams. Who hasn’t been lured in by the dream of Instagram filter-like skin, only to be disappointed when that product didn’t work for our skin type?
The reality is ANY skincare regime or product is going to take time to work so bouncing from one new thing to the next too quickly wont yield results. Likewise, trying too many products at a time will also make it difficult to identify which, if any is working.
So then, where to from here…and who can we really trust when it comes to our skin? It sounds simple but really a professional is your best bet. Whether it be a dermatologist, an aesthetician or a dermal therapist – all will have undergone training and will have attained an extensive understanding of not only skin physiology, structure, and function, but also knowledge of various skin conditions and how to best treat them.
They are likely to recommend treatments and products for you to try – the key difference is that they have the knowledge to back up it up. In my experience skin professionals also tend to love skin and love what they do and most seem to genuinely rejoice in being able to improve a client’s confidence, by improving their skin.
The first step to great skin is a professional skin analysis as this will help a clinician determine your true skin type. Although not all problematic, each individual skin type can benefit from being matched with the correct treatments and skincare for that type. Your treatment provider can cater towards your individual skin needs and design a treatment program along with skincare products and/or recommendations based off your unique skin requirements.
Talking about your skin goals is highly encouraged as is actively getting involved in your skin journey. Because it is a journey, a process. A proper skin assessment with will allow you to engage in the process, as well as allowing your provider to get a deeper understanding of your underlying skin conditions and needs, rather than just treating the symptoms caused by it.
Most professional skin analyses will be made up of several components, the first using a skin analysis machine to identify factors not readily seen with the naked eye. This will help give you a true visual representation and understanding of your skin as well as providing a benchmark that allows both you and you clinician to revisit and re-assess your skin’s progress at a future point.
Some of the key things that can be identified are: hydration and skin lipid levels, underlying inflammation, melanin levels, UV exposure history, pigmentation (including sun-damage, melasma, liver spots, age spots and sunspots), phototype, erythema (redness and flushing), vascular damage, surface texture (i.e. pores, wrinkles and fine lines), skin colour, burn time, cellular damage and loss of structural integrity.
Aside from using a skin analyzer, a clinician is also likely to gather valuable information by discussing things like genetic history/inherited characteristics, lifestyle and diet factors, medical and cosmetic history, skin type, triggers and contributing factors, related symptoms and/or effects of that particular condition.
They will discuss the primary cause of the condition and devise a suitable treatment plan as well as protocols for at-home skincare or product recommendations. Making these determinations is crucial to the success of treating your skin. Quite often your skin might require a multi-pronged approach with several different treatments working in tandem towards a common goal. Sometimes there may be several concerns that need to be addressed – in which case you can discuss what your priorities are with your treatment provider.
Armed with the correct knowledge, together you and your chosen skin therapist can work wonders for your skin – making achieving your skin goals 100% possible. Starting with a professional skin assessment sets you on the path for success and allows for the development of an accurate and detailed skin plan, one that is tailored to your individual needs. Together, armed with the correct knowledge, you and your chosen skin therapist can work towards making your skin goals a reality.