When most people think of professional esthetic skin care, they think of facials. But we know the face is not the only place on the body where clients have problems and come to us with questions. Here are a few frequently seen bodycare issues and some solutions.
Especially during cold winter months, dry skin on the hands can lead to cracks, and even bleeding and pain.
Solution: The regular and frequent use of a good hand cream that contains a mix of humectants and emollients (such as shea butter or petrolatum) can create a faux moisture block while the skin has time to heal. Suggest using low-foaming, fragrance-free hand soaps and wearing gloves in cold, dry, winter air. The frequency of cream applications is very important here. Offer small or travel-size tubes of cream so clients can have several to keep in their purse, desk drawer, etc., so they are always available. Another great tip: before bedtime, apply a thick coat of cream and put on a pair of soft cotton gloves and sleep in them. You won’t believe how much that helps!
Keratosis pilaris (KP) is the scientific name for the bumpy skin condition that many people have on their upper arms. KP is a genetic disorder caused by a buildup of keratin protein that blocks tiny hair follicles. It feels like sandpaper and can also have redness associated with it, but it does not hurt. Children often have it on their lower face cheeks, but this usually clears as the child ages.
Solution: KP on the body can be treated and controlled, but not cured. Daily application of a glycolic or lactic acid lotion that contains a good hydrator (applied after bathing) can significantly improve this condition. It is important that the skin is still wet when the treatment lotion is applied. Use of a granular exfoliating shower wash may also help.
In the spa, you can treat KP with light alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) peels, ultrasonic spatulas to gently mechanically remove the buildup, or gommage-type peels. Be careful not to use products that dry the skin surface. Drying products used for acne can irritate the condition and worsen inflammation and redness.
Both women and men suffer from dry skin on the legs. Besides the ashy and crepey look, dry leg skin can also be itchy and have redness from inflammation. Chronic inflammation can lead to hyperpigmentation of the legs, and untreated dry skin can lead to flare-ups for those who have eczema.
Solution: The daily use of a good moisturizing body lotion, applied every day immediately after a bath or shower while the skin is still damp, is a must. Although many clients are drawn to lotions that smell good, it’s best to choose a fragrance-free formula, particularly if the skin is itchy or eczema-prone. Suggest lotions that contain ceramides, which help to patch barrier function in dry skin, or AHAs such as glycolic or lactic acid, which can help to make skin produce more moisture-binding lipids. Also recommend the use of a mild body wash instead of soap and an exfoliating cloth to help rid dry skin of those ashy dead cells and stimulate cell renewal.
DRY FEET AND CALLOUSES
Foot issues are most often caused by neglect and can lead to painful skin fissures and bleeding.
Solution: Regular pedicures and salon foot treatments can help, but home care is also important—again, it’s all about educating your clients. In the bath, or just after, suggest a pumice stone or terra cotta foot scrubber on presoaked feet. It is much more effective to exfoliate feet that have just been soaked in the bath. You can also use special peels for the feet that usually contain an AHA or plant enzyme complex to help shed dead cell buildup (this makes a unique add-on to a signature facial). Using a good, heavy foot cream each day helps soften the thick layer of cell buildup so it can be removed more easily in or after a bath or foot soak. Find one with an AHA like glycolic or lactic acid, which will help accelerate dead cell shedding. Offer a foot and hand cream along with the tip to keep it on the bedside table as a reminder to apply it nightly.
Let your clients know you can help with body-care issues. Offer add-on treatments such as a KP arm treatment or hand conditioning treatment that can easily be done during your client’s mask time. Make sure your client knows you have top-quality products to help with these common body beauty issues.