Chapter 4

Achieving excellent treatment results – The profile of aprofessional cosmetologist

In recent years, cosmetology has made leaps and bounds toward professionalization. Now, more than ever, the cosmetologist can achieve a noticeable improvement in conditions such as acne, hyperpigmentation, and skin texture problems. Our clients’ expectations have also gotten higher. To achieve excellent treatment results, the cosmetologist must master several degrees of knowledge.

Professional excellence, when it comes to a cosmetologist, manifests first and foremost in excellent treatment outcomes. In the ability to cure acne, clear or control hyperpigmentation, and noticeably change the appearance of aging skin. Skin texture problems such as enlarged pores, acne scars, dull and lackluster skin, etc. Nowadays it’s more possible than ever. Many cosmetologists have achieved excellence in their ability to achieve the treatment goal they set, in allmost 100% of the cases. When the emphasis is on “the treatment goal they set for themselves”: The professional cosmetologist can diagnose the skin’s condition, and estimate the percentage or degree of improvement that’s possible in this specific case. And then, for example, when the cosmetologist estimates that it’s possible to achieve around a 30% improvement in a specific case and she does in fact achieve it – the result is 100%. The professional cosmetologist achieves all of her goals – not because she set the bar low for herself. On the contrary, she sets the highest bar she can under the specific circumstances, and sometimes it’s a very challenging goal. But she has the knowledge that makes it possible to achieve this goal.

Cosmetology is rooted in science

The skin is a living organ. It contains 3 types of tissues: epithelial tissue, connective tissue, and fatty tissue. It’s a very lively organ where cells divide, blood flows and oxygen is delivered to all the cells, vitamins and minerals are transported to cells and to the intercellular matix, waste is collected and drained, neurons transmit neural responses, and thousands of signals are constantly being sent and received. A sophisticated immune system is constantly scanning its environment and responding to ensure the integrity of the entire tissue. The knowledge pertaining to a change in the composition, structure, and behavior of living tissue is rooted in science. Just as the doctor specialized in specific tissue or the various tissues in the body, according to his chosen area of expertise, the cosmetologist is also an expert in skin tissue changes. Cosmetology, from its therapeutic aspect (unlike the aspect of pampering and giving more superficial treatments), is a scientific profession. Science is constantly researching the different ways to affect living tissues – using products (for topical or oral use), technologies, and also additional interventions. It’s important to understand that unlike a mechanical profession like carpentry or mechanics, our area of expertise is scientific to the same degree as medicine. And the cosmetologist must view her job similar to that of a doctor’s. A doctor is very familiar with the tissue he specializes in – the variety of active ingredients and the concentrations that can affect the functionality of this tissue. This knowledge is what makes it possible for him to improve or cure a condition. To achieve similar results to a doctor, we must be just as knowledgeable about the tissue we specialized in, and remember: We are dealing with the science of changing the appearance and functionality of the skin.

Goals are achieved first and foremost with knowledge.

Many cosmetologists try to do everything they can to give proper treatment, and as part of these efforts, they purchase the most prestigious and expensive products, a wide variety of products, and sometimes also several types of expensive devices. Many have been disappointed to discover that the expensive devices and products did not change the treatment outcomes, and that the condition stays pretty much the same. The reason for this is that the key to excellent results is having the right knowledge. Excellent results are first and foremost achieved with the right knowledge and only then by using products or devices. This knowledge is not acquired at cosmetology school. This is knowledge rooted in science, and it pertains to: the correct diagnosis of the different skin conditions (types of hyperpigmentation, various acne conditions, etc.) – what the appropriate treatment is for each condition with regard to the active ingredient and concentration – at the skincare clinic and at home; the processes occurring as the skin ages – what they are, which of them we can affect and to what degree, what are the ingredients and concentrations, and what are the procedures that can change any presentation and to what degree; the doctrine of active ingredients – the main cosmetic ingredients that are used in products – what is the range of effects for each one. Certain ingredients have a different effect at each concentration, and the cosmetologist must know what these different effects are. The structure of the dermis and its components – What changes with age and with different pathologies and what we can affect and how; the penetrability of active ingredients to the skin and what affects it; the degree of hydration in the skin – diagnosis, ways to intervene, and the consequences of dehydration. The technologies that were scientifically documented and proven to be able to change the skin’s appearance – each technology and its indications. This is the bulk of the knowledge that the professional cosmetologist must have, and which enables her to achieve the treatment goals. Every doctor understands the tissue he treats at this level, and thanks to this knowledge he can properly treat a variety of clinical conditions in his area of expertise.

An in-depth knowledge of the products

The professional cosmetologist is familiar with the products she works with, at the level of active ingredient and concentration. This is actually the only way to achieve the precise results she aimed for. This is also the degree to which the doctor is familiar with the medication he prescribes. No one would ever think to seek treatment at a doctor who doesn’t know what the medications he prescribes contain. What the composition is, how it’s compatible with the patient with regards to weight, age, stage of the disease, other underlying diseases, and other medication he takes. The doctor works with a full body of knowledge to illuminate his path. In contrast, numerous cosmetologists work in the dark without knowing what the products they use actually contain. So, the question is – how are we expected to achieve precise and rapid results (under the constraints of the skin’s given condition), similar to a doctor, if we work on autopilot? Working without a precise knowledge of the product ingredients requires us to stick to protocols and to dictated procedures that we do not have a professional understanding of. A very limited degree of results can be achieved when working in such darkness. This resembles playing Bullseye blindfolded. True, if we throw enough darts, some will land near the target, others will land even closer, and we may even be able to hit the Bullseye 2-3 times. We’ll also throw darts that will land very far from the target, and some that won’t land on the board at all. The cosmetologist who has mastered the products at her disposal hits the Bullseye each time. She’s working with her eyes wide open.

Working intelligently

The professional cosmetologist knows how to use one product for a variety of purposes, since a product is first of all a formula, and then a brand. A formula, for example, is: 8% glycolic acid, 5% lactic acid, 2% salicylic acid. This is a formula, which the professional cosmetologist knows what indications it is suited to – a variety of applications and skin conditions that do not always resemble each other but that react to the same formula. Such a cosmetologist does not need to be told what the purpose of the product is and how to work with it. This is exactly how a new drug is presented to a doctor – an active ingredient and concentration (and with a new compound – also mechanism of action). The doctor will know what to do with it. When it comes to knowing the formula of the products, remember that this information is not important for every kind of product. There is no point in delving into the formulas of moisturizing creams, for example. A moisturizing cream is meant to be suited to the skin type. We can always get an impression of its texture, and let’s be honest, most skin therapists don’t know what ingredients are in moisturizing creams and what each ingredient does. It’s also not critical. Sometimes moisturizers do contain special ingredients, which give them additional properties, beyond keeping the skin moist. Here, there is room to be interested in the nature of the ingredients, but not necessarily in their concentration. With some kinds of products – knowing their function is sufficient. For example, a product containing soothing ingredients – a calming gel/cream. If someone wants to, they can ask what the soothing ingredients are. The concentration of each will generally not add information that cosmetologists understand enough about, and it will be less critical to their ability to use it properly. However, in products containing ingredients such as alpha and beta hydroxy acids, retinoids, azelaic acid and more – it’s very important to know the ingredients and the concentrations. This is the knowledge that makes the cosmetologist a magician… The knowledge enables precision in treating and receiving a perfect result.

Freedom of action and correct use of ingredients

The professional cosmetologist does not buy kits or sets when the aim is to cure skin conditions or bring about a visible improvement in the appearance of the skin. This is because she knows that problems are not solved with a kit. Problems are solved with the right knowledge, the right diagnosis, the right active ingredient and concentration, the right procedures and instructions for use. All these may change greatly between clients, since each one has a unique set of characteristics and circumstances, even if they all have hyperpigmentation, or they all have acne. Have you ever seen a doctor who gives a “series for eczema” or a “kit for arrhythmias”? The doctor works like a scientist, and with knowledge rooted in science. In science there are no series or kits. There is an active ingredient and concentration. A procedure and its compatibility with the skin’s pathology. A technology and how it changes the tissue. There’s the knowledge that makes it possible to precisely match any treatment to a client. A kit is a generic and unprecise solution for a client. It’s like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. Matching three products that were packaged together to the hundreds of clients who differ from each other in all possible parameters. The professional cosmetologist, similar to a doctor, understands the condition of the given tissue and matches the right ingredient/s procedure for each client individually. This is her way of getting quick and noticeable results in any given skin condition.

Adhering to treatment protocols

The professional cosmetologist does not need a dictated treatment protocol. She develops her own treatment protocol. She isn’t intentionally ignoring the protocol in the booklet. But she has in-depth understanding of the goal she wants to achieve and the right way to achieve it. The cosmetologist can read the suggested protocol intelligently. She’ll ask how each stage is supposed to achieve the goal, and what ingredients will achieve that goal. If she doesn’t understand the necessity of a stage, she’ll ask. If she believes a stage is missing, she’ll add it. If she thinks a stage is superfluous, she’ll leave it out. She’ll be able to replace certain products that are included in the protocol, which she understands what their purpose is, with other products she has, instead of buying unnecessary products. She also knows how to combine brands from the different companies, since it’s often necessary and always possible. The synergy is not between brands but between active ingredients. And when these, as well as the concentration are known, the intelligent cosmetologist will know what combining them means.

Achieving results that are just as good as a doctor’s

The cosmetologist who will consistently work in a manner similar to a doctor – using her comprehensive knowledge – can often achieve better results than the doctor. After all, skin and its esthetics are her area of expertise. It’s what she does each and every day – improving the skin’s appearance. She has a wide variety of products at her disposal, a variety that is much richer than the medical preparations the doctors use to treat skin. She has extensive experience and in-depth knowledge, which she enriches and expands through on-the-job training and by consulting with colleagues and continuously learning. This enables her to truly understand the skin conditions she treats, the finer intricacies involved in matching products, addressing the client’s lifestyle and habits, her guidance and changing the products’ instructions for use as the skin’s condition progresses, as befitting for the professional treatment required to achieve the goal.

 

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