Preserving your client’s progress during the hot summer months
Summer is typically a time for vacation and play, and with increased exposure to the sun and the environment, maintaining professional skin care and exfoliation habits are an important part of every client’s healthy skin routine. However, during the summer it is critical to understand which treatments are compatible with the rising temperatures, as well as how to educate clients and encourage them to remain compliant with their healthy skin routines throughout the season.
Exfoliation During Summer
One may think that all exfoliation techniques are applicable year-round, but that is not necessarily the case. During the summer months, it is important to evaluate products and treatment techniques to ensure that they are compatible with the rising temperatures outside. For example, while chemical peels are extremely effective in providing gentle exfoliation if administered correctly, the client is required to remain cool for 48 hours following a peel. There are multiple reasons for this. If an AHA chemical peel is performed, the dermosomal bonds between the keratinocytes are dissolved. This allows the cells to exfoliate easily as they turn over. If a client sweats excessively in the days immediately following this peel, there is a potential for the moisture to be trapped within the imminently shedding cells, creating small water blisters. These usually appear at the hairline, upper lip and other areas of perspiration. Additionally, it is wise to avoid inflammation to minimize the risk of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), regardless of the types of acid used. Unless the client is willing to remain indoors for this period of time, staying cool can be difficult to accomplish in the hot summer months.
An excellent alternative to chemical peels in the summer is the use of proteolytic enzyme masks for treatment. Not only are masks easily removable and require no downtime, but they also offer some specific benefits for hotter times of the year. A papaya mask, for instance, contains the enzyme papain, which primarily acts as a keratolytic agent by digesting the keratin protein built up on the surface of the skin without causing excessive heat or stimulation. These types of enzyme masks provide important benefits without causing the excessive heat or inflammation that should be avoided during summer months.
Superficial, blended chemical peels are not contraindicated at this time of year, but the esthetician must ensure that the client will observe their recommendation to avoid heat for 48 hours. Blended chemical peels do have a myriad of benefits. They gently remove dead cells on the skin’s surface, effectively lighten areas of hyperpigmentation and minimize acne breakouts. Additionally, the application of a chemical peel reduces surface impactions and creates spaces between the keratinocytes to allow active ingredients to penetrate more effectively. Chemical peeling ingredients such as acids and enzymes are able to dissolve impacted surface skin cells, improving barrier function and reducing trans epidermal water loss (TEWL).
Turn Down the Heat
In additional to exfoliation treatments, there are many topical options available to skin professionals to bring about healthy skin in clients despite the challenges of the summer heat. Treatments that are less aggressive, do not require downtime or heat-avoidance and help to minimize the effects of sun exposure will be much appreciated by clients. In addition to daily use of broad-spectrum sun protection with an SPF of 30 or higher, the following treatments are both popular and effective during the summer season:
• Apply topical products containing multiple melanogenesis inhibitors such as kojic acid, phenylethyl resorcinol, licorice and alpha-arbutin to suppress UV-induced hyperpigmentation and help maintain results achieved during cooler months.
• Add a retinoid booster to the end of any summer-friendly treatment protocol to inhibit melanogenesis and increase cellular turnover, moisture content and collagen production- all of which are impacted by hot weather.
• Recommend clay-based masks for at-home use to gently yet thoroughly detoxify the skin and clear pores of excess cell debris, sebum and environmental impurities accumulated from the typical extended outdoor exposure in the summer.
• Perform antioxidant treatments and have clients boost topical antioxidant use at home to reduce free radical damage due to UV exposure and increased environmental pollutants such as car emissions and cooling units.
Following Care Instructions
It is important when working with clients to not only administer their treatments, but also to be an educational resource to them as well. Knowledge is power. Take the extra time to speak with clients about their skin condition, explain why you are choosing specific treatments and the outcome they should expect. Also, treat clients as partners and educate them on the best way to maximize treatment results between appointments. Make sure they understand the crucial role they have in maintaining their skin and how they can ensure the best long-term esthetic results through their own diligence.
One important area where clients can play an active role is in the prevention and reoccurrence of hyperpigmentation during the warmer months. Both UV radiation and heat from the sun can cause discoloration in the skin for those prone to hyperpigmentation. For clients who have worked throughout the year to even their skin tone, it is especially important to take extra precautions to protect the skin in the summer. The best way to do so is to use a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 every day. For optimal results, the sunscreen should be applied at least 30 minutes prior to going outdoors, and reapplied every two hours while outside. Recommend that clients wear hats, sunglasses and seek shade whenever possible, as these are also excellent ways to prevent the recurrence of hyperpigmentation.
Another way to ensure client compliance is to make sure that they have sufficient amounts of daily care product and SPF while away on their summer vacations. It is a good idea to routinely ask clients whether they are planning to travel. Showing interest and care builds the trust relationship between you and your client and allows them ample time to purchase additional product to ensure that their treatment continues uninterrupted. This not only benefits the client, but also preserves the hard work you’ve done all year.
Summer can be a challenging time for maintaining healthy skin. However, with proper attention to the utilization of summer-friendly treatments and client education, clients can maintain the results they earned during the cooler months while enjoying the summer with healthy, protected skin.