New research conducted by the Global Wellness Institute (GWI) confirms wellness as one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing industries. The results of the research indicate that wellness is now a $3.4 trillion market, and one of the biggest, fastest-growing industries on earth. The wellness industry is 3.4 times the size of the $1 trillion, global pharmaceutical industry.

The wellness industry includes: beauty and anti-aging; healthy eating and weight loss; wellness tourism, fitness and mind-body therapies; preventive and personalized medicine; complementary and alternative medicine; the spa industry; thermal and mineral springs; workplace wellness; and wellness lifestyle real estate. At one time, golfing communities were the trend, but now real estate developers are adding spas, and the financial choices for residents include full ownership, fractional ownership, residence clubs, and condo hotel resorts.

As an important part of several components of the wellness industry, the field of esthetics (skin care) continues to grow and change, expanding the types of treatments that clients expect their estheticians to provide. To meet their clients’ and employers’ expectations, estheticians need to be knowledgeable and skilled in a multitude of skin care services.

To enhance the health and appearance of the skin, and to provide a relaxing, soothing experience for the client, estheticians regularly perform the following treatments.

  • Facials, including makeup removal and skin cleansing, steaming, facial massage, a treatment mask, a toner, and a moisturizer. Additions to facials:
    • Exfoliation, the removal of dead skin cells manually by scrubbing, brushing, or using a microdermabrasion machine (described below).
    • Chemical peels, another treatment for exfoliation, which causes dead skin cells to shed. Dead skin cells can also be removed by the use of an enzyme peel. All types of peels can improve skin affected by aging, sun damage, acne and mild scarring. Other benefits of peels include improving overall skin brightness and evening skin tone. Peels can be light, moderate or deep, depending upon the acidity of the product.
    • Extraction for deep cleansing of clogged pores, performed either manually or with the use of a metal implement.
    • Galvanic equipment is used during facials to improve the skin in two ways: (1) cleansing through a process called desincrustation, and (2) nourishing the skin, through an electro-chemical process called iontophoresis, by penetrating active substances into the subcutaneous tissues, where they improve circulation to bring about an improvement in the vascular and lymphatic interchange in the area.
    • High frequency equipment uses low-current, high-frequency alternating currents, delivered via a glass electrode. Because the high frequency current converts some of the oxygen in the air into ozone, the treatment has a germicidal action, and is also drying and warming. The treatment is used to aid healing, help the skin’s natural exfoliation and stimulate sweat and sebaceous glands.
  • Treatments for the back, feet and hands – similar to facials, using products like cleanser, toner, mask and moisturizer, and providing relaxation with massage techniques. Hands and feet also receive a paraffin treatment, which promotes softer, firmer skin and increased hydration.
  • Treatments for the eyes and lips – also similar to a facial, but with the addition of specially formulated creams or serums to smooth, lift, and brighten the skin in these areas. Over time, the products can reduce dark circles, puffiness, fine lines, and wrinkles.
  • Body wraps and scrubs using oil, salt, sugar, mud, seaweed, and a wide variety of herbal preparations to give the entire body the benefits of skin care treatment.
  • Microdermabrasion using a machine to resurface the skin by sanding the skin’s outer layer. The process requires either a wand tipped with crushed diamonds, or a spray of special crystals. Benefits include an improvement in skin texture, removing fine lines and enhancing the penetration of products that clients use in their home care regimens.
  • Hair removal with the application of hard or soft wax, or sugar, or with a process known as threading. The demand for hair removal is increasing significantly, and clients may choose any part of the body, including brow, above the lips, chin, the entire face, underarm, chest, back, arms, legs and the pubic, buttock and groin areas.
  • Makeup application and consultations include careful analysis of skin type, skin tone and facial contours. The esthetician practices makeup artistry when selecting and applying makeup for the client’s daily use, evenings, and special events such as weddings. The client receives specific recommendations for products and techniques to improve her ability to skillfully apply makeup at home.

In addition to working in a spa or in private practice, estheticians may choose to work in a medical setting. Dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons employ estheticians to provide pre- and post-surgery care, as well as assistance with many medical skin care treatments, just a few of which are:

Laser skin resurfacing removes the outer layers of the skin that are damaged. The laser resurfacing procedure stimulates the production of collagen and new skin cells in the underlying layers of the skin. Laser resurfacing is used to eliminate or reduce wrinkles and fine lines on the face and neck.

Laser skin treatment is an advanced wrinkle removal treatment that uses infrared light to tighten the skin without surgery. The laser light delivers heat to layers beneath the skin’s surface, stimulating collagen production and making the skin look tighter. Many patients consider the procedure a good alternative to the traditional face lift, as it requires no anesthesia, no scalpel, and no downtime.

Acne blue light therapy works by targeting the bacteria that causes acne. Moderate acne that has not responded to other facial skin care treatments can be treated with this light-based therapy, which is administered over a span of several weeks. Acne blue light therapy rarely causes side effects, and does not damage skin.

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL™) is a facial rejuvenation treatment that can be used to address the effects of sun damage, heredity, and aging on facial skin. Skin imperfections such as wrinkles, uneven pigmentation, freckles, rosacea, facial veins, brown spots, and enlarged pores can be eliminated or greatly improved withIPL™ Photofacial treatments.

Thermage is a non-exfoliating facial rejuvenation technique designed to tighten and improve the contours of the face and neck. These aesthetic improvements are achieved with a radio frequency device that is passed over face, with the tip in contact with the skin’s surface. Controlled radio waves from the device heat the deeper layers of the skin, stimulating new collagen development. The result is tighter and often smoother skin. Unlike laser treatments, Thermage can treat all skin types and requires no downtime.

The field of esthetics is continually evolving, and the variety of skin care treatments and products continues to increase. With training that is up-to-date and comprehensive, estheticians can provide clients with improvement of conditions such as acne, rosacea, eczema, hyperpigmentation, and dry skin, in addition to providing treatments that are wonderfully relaxing and rejuvenating.

If helping people obtain beautiful, healthy skin is your goal, then becoming a skin care professional may be the right choice for you. To learn more about the esthetics program at Health Works Institute, click here.

Health Works Institute
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