Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Professional Products

Before investing money and time into a new home skincare routine, I have noticed that most of my clients want to know why they should make the change.

There are three things that set a professional skincare regimen (and specifically, the customized institut' DERMed professional skincare regimen recommended for you at the Skin Studio) apart from something purchased in a drugstore, at a cosmetics counter, through a multi-level marketing company, at a mall kiosk, or online:
  • Active formulations
  • Manufacturing techniques
  • Instructions for use
I will refer to your professionally recommended skincare routine as "professional skincare" and the other types of skincare as "mass market skincare" for the purpose of this blog.

Active formulation:
The first important distinction is that when a professional skincare company is researching and developing a new product, the chemists understand that the product will be professionally recommended and monitored by a licensed skincare specialist. A mass market company, on the other hand, knows that individual consumers will come to their own conclusions about whether the product is suitable for them, meaning that if they formulate a product with strong anti-acne or anti-aging ingredients, there will be a certain percentage of consumers who will miscategorize their own sensitive or rosacea skin, apply the product, and have an adverse reaction. Formulation efforts, therefore, are fundamentally different between professional and mass market skincare companies. While professional companies want to put the highest available concentrations of the most potent available ingredients to target specific skin problems and get results, mass market companies want to minimize their risk by making all of their formulations relatively bland and harmless if used incorrectly, which means that, despite some very expensive advertising efforts, these products are much less likely to produce results.

Manufacturing techniques:
The life of a skincare product begins with research and development, and ends with the application on your face, but the in-between steps may vary greatly. While professional skincare companies that deliver their products directly to the estheticians using them will generally formulate in smaller batches that must be used in 2 years, mass market skincare (due to a much larger distribution infrastructure) must be formulated to last 7 years: 2 years in a vat in the factory, 2 years bottled on a distribution shelf, 2 years bottled on a retail shelf, and 1 year in your bathroom. This means that mass market products will contain a much greater proportion of potentially irritating preservatives, and that the level of activity of skin-correcting ingredients will be greatly diminished by the time the product lands on your skin.

Instructions for use:
Because professional skincare is so much more potent than mass market skincare for reasons of formulation and distribution procedures described above, professional skincare companies also rely on licensed skincare specialists to provide clients with specific instructions on how to use their products. In the case of an institut' DERMed home routine, this means that the amount of product used will be much less in many cases than most clients are used to using. Pea-sized drops of cleanser, 2-3 pumps of toner, and 1/4 pump of eye cream mean that an initial skincare routine purchase will last much, much longer than a traditional mass market skincare purchase. It also means that your skincare specialist's instructions are of prime importance. A once-weekly manual exfoliator or acne drying mask will become problematic if used twice daily. A hydroxy acid toner that is to be diluted on a damp cotton pad and wiped gently over the whole face will cause irritation if you decide to apply it full-strength and rub and grind it into your skin. An intensive vitamin A product applied 2 hours after microdermabrasion when your esthetician told you not to use it for 2 days will burn!

In conclusion, since I don't run across too many people who are willing to invest in professional treatments but don't want the best, most accelerated results, I am willing to go as far as to say that the success of your treatment plan does depend on investing in a professional home skincare regimen and following your skincare specialist's instructions to the letter. I think you will find that it is an investment whose returns will shine beautifully!

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