The importance of a skin consultation & being truthful

Omitting an in-depth consultation has no place in advanced skin care and cosmetology. During a consultation, your skin specialist will examine you and discuss your concern be it skin or hair related. Advice will be given, and a suitable treatment programme will be advised. As skincare professionals, we pride ourselves in our passion and knowledge for all things skin and hair related. We are not doctors, nor dieticians but above all we are not mind readers.

It is impertinent and completely in your best interest that we ask the questions we do, both orally and in the initial consultation firm that we ask you to complete. Rest assured we are not trying to be unnecessarily invasive.

Some questions are included for marketing reasons granted, but often have a double warrant for being included. For example, you will often see ” what is your profession?” Personal questions make many people unsettled. Yes, it is often for market research reasons although it also gives us an indication regarding your lifestyle.

If you are a builder working outdoors on site braving the elements it may very well account for the thread veins you present to us on consultation. Furthermore, if, you work as cabin crew, your dehydrated skin is a no brainier.

What about those post-treatment concerns. Consider this, you have just had an IPL skin rejuvenation treatment and plan to return to working outdoors right after your lunch time appointment in the midday sun, is this the best time to schedule your booking?

Let’s consider your level of honesty when completing a consultation form of any kind. Often we willingly lie to achieve the desired outcome. We also often lie to ourselves striving for a better version of ourselves. I have heard numerous cases of clients who go along to a clinic for a consultation only to discover they are in fact unsuitable for said treatment.

Soon after, they present themselves to a second clinic omitting the reason that prevented them having treatment in the first clinic. Such as being diabetic, so that they could undergo treatment in the second clinic. No one should play Russian roulette with their life. As much as I value the amazing advances in technology and the results our equipment can deliver, no amount of results to skin and hair conditions should be remotely favourable than one’s health and possibly even life.

Reverting to the idea of our desired outcome, we often say we are something that we are not. For example regarding the Fitzpatrick skin type chart we ask clients to choose which skin type they are. Typically Irish skinned clients are either skin type 1 or skin type 2. However, you would be amazed at how often people choose skin type 3 and 4. I have had clients with typically Irish skin state they are skin type 5. To give you a better understanding of this here is a chart explaining the various skin types;

As you can see, many wish to believe they are a darker skin tone, more sallow-skinned and did not burn when, in fact, they are often as white as me. It is important that we as therapists know the various skin types and can assess each skin to choose settings correctly when operating laser and light technologies to avoid the risk of pigmentation and scarring.

What is your level of stress? Are you on any medication? Do you plan on taking a holiday soon? These are all important questions that again may seem very invasive and unnecessary.

The Chinese way of thinking suggests that everything happening inside the body reflects on the face. With this in mind, if you are having a breakout across your forehead it can be an indication of stress.

Some medications may contraindicate you having the treatment at all. Some may act as a caution meaning that we can proceed with caution.

Skin Type for UV sensitivity

Click on the image for larger view or download.

Booking a two week holiday in Spain then your skin consultation is not a good idea. Proceeding would not be an option, you also need to wait several weeks until your skin returns to its natural pigment. Furthermore, hyperpigmentation is a real possibility after sun exposure.

I have had clients who outright lied to me in the past wanting to go ahead with treatment only to realise post treatment and that they had in fact booked a holiday for the following week, or so. At this stage, I cannot prevent them from going on holidays, nor can I undo the treatment. As a professional who takes her industry very seriously, this infuriates and most of all worries me.

So you see, our aim is not to be nosey and not use your data for marketing purposes. Our aim is to provide you with the safest possible treatment, delivering the best possible results without any side effects. It is our ethical duty to probe a little, discuss in detail, make decisions based on the information that you have provided. Although we something may think we know a lot we are not mind readers nor do we work for the CIA. Our questioning skills are not that good!

I speak on behalf of all industry professional when I plead with you, to please provide correct information, and update this information when needed. If you have had surgery since your last visit, we won’t know unless you tell us. Please communicate with us, help us to help you and we can work well together to discover the best version of you without compromising your health and safety.

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Emma Ryall
Educator, Proprietor, Aesthetician at Zest Skin Clinic & Laser Hair Removal
Licenced Aesthetician, CIBTAC, ITEC and CIDESCO accredited professional therapist with over 14 years industry experience, specialising in skincare. Emma is also a master trainer City & Guilds – Accreditation No: 500/5753/4

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The Fitzpatrick Skin Type Chart

Type I Always burns, never tans *
Type II Always burns, sometimes tans *
Type III Sometimes burns, always tans
Type IV Rarely burns, always tans
Type V Moderately pigmented
Type VI Black skin
Fitzpatrick classification of skin types.
* Denotes Irish Skin