treating skin disorders

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Skin conditions like acne, rosacea, melasma, eczema and psoriasis are more than just cosmetic; they can, in fact, have lasting effects on clients. In a 2010 Psychology Today report, sufferers detailed a bevy of negatives, from depression and social withdrawal to lack of confidence and even higher rates of unemployment. It’s no surprise, then, that people with these disorders seek out skincare experts to help them improve the quality of their skin—and lives. Here, we speak with six spa pros who offer targeted treatments with impressive success rates.

Soothing Rosehip Facial (75 min./$135) at Allyu Spa in Chicago
Treats: Acne, Rosaca

Steps: After gentle cleansing, therapists administer a sulphur-based gommage exfoliant— and, if needed, a mild enzyme peel. They then apply Ilike Organic Skin Care’s Rosehip Serum and Gel Mask for a cooling, firming effect. “This treatment allows extra time for targeted facial massage and/or extractions,” explains spa manager Elizabeth Renard. The service ends with Ilike’s Rosehip Whipped Moisturizer, a top seller in Allyu’s retail area.

Standout Soothers: Renard notes that rosehip is a nutritional powerhouse that’s rich in vitamin C, betacarotene and lycopene. “The Rosehip Gel Mask packs a concentrated dose of antioxidants and a touch of peppermint essential oil to deliver antiaging benefits and instant relief for sensitized skin,” she adds. “For rosacea clients, the rosehip oil’s high levels of vitamin C combined with its vascular benefits lead to a more balanced, fortified complexion within a single treatment.”

Spa-cific Strategy: All of the spa’s 75-minute specialty facials are equally priced, and in-room assessments help therapists determine what’s best for clients at the time of service. This inflammation-calming treatment is immensely popular. “Our estheticians upsell the facial by explaining the aforementioned benefits when clients mention sensitive or irritated skin, but it also books like crazy of its own accord,” says the spa manager.

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Redness Treatment (60 min./$ ) Hydralessence(60min./$ 5) and Fragile Skin Treatment Facial (60 min./$50)  at Vital Touch Spa Salon in La Habra, California
Treats: Psoriasis

Steps: For tough-to-treat psoriasis, owner and esthetician Pilar Kantounias often combines protocols from three treatments depending on the skin’s condition. First, a gentle cleansing is followed by light exfoliation with skin-calming Yon-Ka Paris Gommage 305, after which compresses are applied. The service also employs the reparative, hydrating Masque No. 1, and LED light therapy with ultrasound to assist with deep penetration. Massage is performed with a blend of the brand’s Serum Vital, Creme 83 and Creme 11, followed by a final application of a serum, Creme 83 or Hydra No. 1 Creme for a moisture boost.

Standout Soothers: Kantounias raves that Masque No. 1, utilized for both retail and backbar, relieves dryness overnight. Creme 11 calms skin thanks to arnica, chamomile and horse chestnut, while Serum Vital boasts lactic acids, calendula and vitamins A, C and E. Each product contains Quintessence, proprietary to Yon-Ka Paris, which combines lavender, thyme, geranium, rosemary and cypress oils to fight bacteria and reduce redness.

Spa-cific Strategy: Kantounias encourages clients with psoriasis—or simply sensitive or reactive skin—to try this “amazing treatment,” she says. “Psoriasis can’t be cured, only controlled; but I have a 95 percent success rate and many happy clients who keep coming back—and refer us to their friends.” She also recommends that they see a physician to help them quell their symptoms.

Hydra Medic Facial (75 min./$90) at Oasis Day Spa in South Weymouth, Massachusetts
Treats: Acne, Rosacea

Steps: Utilizing the Repêchage Hydra Medic Line, this service consists of seven steps to treat acne and acneic rosacea. After cleansing with a foaming wash, a serum is applied to affected areas. A series of three masks—the Desincrustation Mask, Sea Mud Perfecting Mask and 3 Part Calming Mask—helps remove impurities and calm the skin; following a mattifying moisturizer, the therapist performs a high frequency treatment for three minutes. “We often see clients who have used aggressive cosmeceuticals and continue to suffer from acne,” says owner Julie Mahoney. “This healing facial and the recommended home care (which includes a face wash, astringent, serum and moisturizer) help reduce the inflammation and dramatically promote healing.”

Standout Soothers: The Hydra Medic line relieves irritated skin with anti-inflammatory ingredients such as an antioxidant tea blend, spirulina, zinc, salicylic acid and the brand’s proprietary Porphyridium Complex, which regulates sebaceous retention and increases hydration.

Spa-cific Strategy: To maximize treatment results, Mahoney addresses her clients’ overall health. “Diet, stress, medications and hormones can cause intrinsic inflammation of the gut, which affects the organs,” she explains. “We educate guests about the role that inflammation plays in acne, and we’ve partnered with a nutritional kinesiologist in order to properly advise them about changes they can make to reduce that response.”

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Depigmentation Treatment (65 min./$165) at KUR Skin Lab in New York City
Treats: Melasma

Steps: This customized service aims to control some of the underlying causes of hyperpigmentation and even out the complexion based on skin type and ethnicity. It typically involves therapeutic masks, treatment serum infusions, retinols and chemical peels. “We tailor peeling solutions to address a wide variety of concerns,” says spa director Kevin Oh. “Alpha hydroxy acids, beta hydroxy acids, trichloroacetic acid and retinoids are strategically formulated to treat conditions such as melasma by exfoliating and lifting pigmentation.”

Standout Soothers: Clients with melasma are advised to use retail products from PCA Skin, including the brand’s Pigment Bar, Pigment Gel and Intensive Brightening Treatment: 0.5% Pure Retinol Night. Actives that prevent melanin production include hydroquinone, kojic acid, licorice extract and arbutin.

Spa-cific Strategy: In addition to encouraging client referrals, KUR markets these services through its website, Google, Yelp and Facebook. The spa uses low-dose, progressive approaches, and clients appreciate the effective, predictable outcomes—without the downtime typically associated with chemical peels. “A common misconception is that more is better, especially when it comes to skincare solutions,” says Oh. “But overly aggressive treatments and products can cause irritation and inflammation, which worsen rather than improve skin disorders.”

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Water Lily Treatment (40 min./$150) at The Salon at Warren in Warren, New Jersey
Treats: Eczema, Psoriasis

Steps: This body wrap service starts with cold compresses followed by an application of the Pevonia Water Lily Mask, which is left on the skin as the client is loosely wrapped in foil. After 20 minutes, the mask is removed with cool cloths and an anti-inflammatory mist is sprayed onto the skin, helping to calm and hydrate. “We treated a bride-to-be once a week, and her skin looked flawless within a month,” says Suzelia Viana, lead esthetician. “We’ve also had clients with issues around the hairline and have successfully targeted just those spots.”

Standout Soothers: The mask contains an anti-inflammatory blend of water lily, green tea and chamomile. The mist boasts rose extract, hyaluronic acid and aloe vera extract to remove heat from the skin while hydrating—ideal for both psoriasis and eczema. And Pevonia After-Sun Soothing Gel (which is sent home with the client as part of the treatment price) offers a lower concentration of hyaluronic acid, water lily, aloe and chamomile for daily at-home care, applied to affected areas on damp post-shower skin.

Spa-cific Strategy: When the Water Lily Treatment was unveiled, the spa highlighted it as a post-sunburn remedy in mass mailers during the summer. But some sunburned clients also showed signs of psoriasis, or knew someone who had the condition, so word of mouth about the calming wrap quickly spread. “We’ve performed the service for other inflammatory conditions and even on pregnant clients to prevent stretch marks,” adds Viana. “This is only one part of a complete treatment plan, however, so we also recommend that clients follow their doctors’ advice, as well as track flare-up triggers, from sun exposure to alcohol consumption. It empowers them, as they’re facing a chronic condition with no known cure.”

VitaSkin Clear Skin Facial (60 min./$ ) at Natural Body International in Atlanta
Treats: Acne

Steps: This treatment incorporates a probiotic cleanser and probiotic mask from Éminence to help remove surface impurities and calm inflamed skin. After the cleanser and mask, the esthetician applies Éminence’s Willow Bark Booster-Serum to subdue irritation, followed by a skin-protecting moisturizer.

Standout Soothers: Director of communications Peter Plishka’s go-tos for blemish-prone clients include the Éminence Clear Skin Probiotic Masque and Clear Skin Targeted Treatment, both for professional use and retail. Ingredients such as calming willow bark and salicylic acid are additional key defenders in the fight against acne.

Spa-cific Strategy: A discounted package of four facials entices guests, but the cold hard facts drive popularity. “We report typical results to clients considering the service: a reduction in number of acne scars, fewer blemishes and less oil production,” details Plishka. “This is what matters to our guests.”

–by Tracy Morin

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