This is the time of the year to think about investing in those serious skin treatments to smooth and improve your complexion. But how do you find a great therapist who knows their stuff? Editor Trudi Brewer shares her tips on how to shop for high tech skin treatments and a top-flight clinic.
Experience counts for everything when it comes to putting your face in the hands of experts to perform high tech skin treatments. One trailblazer, registered nurse, Jackie Hendy from About Face has 40 years experience as an advanced treatment trainer and believes skill is everything when it comes to results. We asked Hendy to share her insights into how a buyer can beware when it comes to beauty services.
Here’s how to find a well-trained therapist and a top-flight treatment
When is the best time start serious skin treatments?
Post summer. Planning your treatment schedule is essential, we start in April and continue until August, early spring. This is essential to ensure UV rays are less damaging to the skin, you don’t want to be spending money for no return.
Clinics selling large numbers of vouchers through discount websites, or a grab one deal often means operators are pushed for time. They generally skip important procedures such as consultation, medical details, and patch tests to meet the demands of the discounted rates - this is where you need to beware. Editor Trudi Brewer says if the deal looks to-good-to-be-true, it generally is.
How do I know if the therapist is skilled?
Ask the question. Is the therapist well-trained? Laser settings vary from person to person depending on the skin and hair colour, so without the necessary training, therapists can misuse machinery that can lead to permanent skin damage, such as burns, skin discoloration, and scarring.
“Our therapists are continually upskilled and maintain a high level of practice, which I audit regularly. You will not find a new graduate behind a laser at our clinics," says Hendy. It's up to you to undergo research on high tech skin procedures, by doing this it can potentially help you avoid the pitfalls of cheap deal advertising.
How do I know which treatment to choose?
You don’t, says Hendy. "That’s our job. We are the skin experts, and by doing a thorough skin consultation focusing on your main skin concern and what troubles you the most about it, we can select from our large “toolbox” of treatments to create a bespoke plan.
“You wouldn’t go to the dentist and tell them what tool to use to fix your tooth; they make that choice based on their knowledge and experience. Well, the same applies to us. Taking into consideration your time, resources and health should be done during the consultation process,” says Hendy. Your therapist should offer home care to use during the course of your high tech skin treatments and some advice on nutrition, after all, your skin is the bodies largest organ. Invest in your skin it’s the only complexion you have, so it’s worth it.
How many sessions will you need?
The average number of visits varies again consultation is key. This is why a “package deal” offered for laser as a one off is often more advantageous for the doctor or technician than for the patient.
About Face pioneered skin rejuvenation lasers in New Zealand, first with Fraxel, and later with Clear + Brilliant. If you’re concerned about wrinkles and fine lines, lack of skin firmness, dull skin, or sun damage, Hendy says "Laser treatments re-establish the contours of the face, reduce wrinkles and fine lines, and improve your skin firmness and texture." Consultations help you understand how many treatments you may need. With most high tech treatments the best results are seen taken as a course of treatments, and this may need to be up to eight treatments for you to get the desired result.
Can you treat me if I have a tan?
We have had a great New Zealand summer this year, and while most of us are still enjoying time outside, having a tan is not the ideal time to commit to having laser treatments. Planning your treatment schedule is essential we like to start in April and continue to August, early spring.
The only way to treat tanned skin (including fake tan) without causing burns is to use low settings and this means the treatment wouldn’t be effective. The best results are on skin that is not tanned or sporting a faux glow this way the light from the laser is not confused by pigment that is not permanent.
Does the machine matter?
Yes. Machine maintenance and new innovation is expensive, but being treated by the best technology available will make or break your treatment results.
If the clinic you choose is using outdated or counterfeit laser machines don’t expect great results.
One of the most important procedures is the patch test, which is compulsory for people undergoing laser or IPL hair removal treatment in reputable clinics. The idea of this test is that a small area on your body is treated before the main treatment. It is usually carried out about at least 24 hours before starting the treatment in order to see if your skin will have any reaction to the treatment.
What about the results?
“With Fraxel laser initially you will see improvement in the clarity and colour of your skin, however, significant results continue to improve as your new collagen and elastin establishes over the next four to six months once you have finished the course of treatments. Whereas with IPL (intense pulse light) for sun damage, (brown spots) this is a very satisfying treatment, in that you will see results straight away,” says Hendy.
Lasers work by creating tiny "columns of thermal destruction" in the skin, this is a wound, which stimulates the growth of new, healthy skin cells to replace old, damaged cells. Lasers work from the inside out, to improve skin turnover and collagen production, which is actually just the body's natural healing process accelerated, so in terms of results, these are accumulative, which means your skin improves day by day, and month by month.
Check out 'Let’s Fix your skin” at About Face, running from 1st April – end of June get a free skin consults for the whole time April – June. And when you book you can receive 20 percent off Laser treatments from 1st April – 12th May.