The gorgeously clever Andy Millward, Aesthetician and Beauty Writer wrote about the effects of progressive vs aggressive skin treatments, here he shares his pearls of wisdom:
Primum Non Nocere – it means ‘First do no harm’ in Latin and is a term used by Hippocrates and forms part of the medical doctrine, a guideline used to remind physicians that treatment should not cause harm to their patients.
However, it is definitely relevant to the beauty & aesthetics industry, to remind therapists and aesthetic practitioners that skin rejuvenation should not come at the cost of causing harm to their client. A ‘progressive treatment plan’, is where all skin treatments start light and progress to higher strength, as and only IF needed. There is no point jumping straight in medium depth peels, for example, if a series of superficial treatments can achieve the same result. An important part of treatment is time, allowing the skin regenerate, the way it was intended.
The aim of skin rejuvenation is to restore cell function for optimal skin health, without compromising the barrier function or epidermal integrity.
In reality, with some conditions, some minor trauma is necessary to trigger the skins natural wound healing response and along with it, produce new collagen, however emphasis on minor. There is no value in causing excessive trauma, which only prolongs the inflammatory response in the skin and can lead to scar collagen instead of natural collagen. Add repeated insults (traumas) to the mix and you’re just asking for trouble.
Unfortunately some believe that when it comes to skin treatments, the stronger they are or the deeper they go, the better the results will be, with a ‘no pain, no gain’ mentality. However this is unbelievably wrong!
You do not need to inflict severe pain to achieve dramatic results.
The truth is the stronger the treatment or the deeper you go, the longer the downtime (recovery) and the higher the risk of adverse reaction (usually in the form of sensitised skin or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation).
As if to make matters worse, some therapists and aesthetic practitioners also subscribe to this notion, following a more ‘aggressive treatment plan’. Performing unnecessarily strong or deep treatments is not only unethical, but also professionally irresponsible. Primum Non Nocere.
An important fact to remember is results don’t come from the injury itself, but rather the skins ability to recovery from injury (wound healing response). In order for the skin to recover from injury and therefore produce the desired collagen etc, it has to be supplied with the necessary nutrients to repair. Injury itself is only part of the story.
Next, in order to produce the ‘right’ kind of collagen, you need to limit the amount of inflammation during the repair stage. Excessive trauma, leads to prolonged exposure to inflammation, resulting in scar tissue.
A ‘progressive treatment plan’ has the end goal in sight at all times, rather than focusing on the result of each individual session. Knowing that the first treatment is as important as the last, all playing a role to restore skin to optimal health. A ‘progressive treatment plan’ incorporates ‘extra-treatment activity’; such as an advanced home care plan, using the right topical ingredients to nourish and condition the skin in-between sessions, plus eating the optimum diet and practising an anti-inflammatory lifestyle.
Imagine running a marathon. The end goal is crossing the finishing line, however in order to get there, there are certain things you must do first.
In marathon terms, your home care would be the ‘stretching and warm up’, with superficial treatments being the ‘training sessions’ and medium to deep-depth treatments being the ‘marathon’! Some people may not need to run the full marathon and get great results from the training sessions or even a half marathon.
Unfortunately some people want to run the marathon without adequate training or warm up. What happens if you try and run a marathon without training? You risk injury!
A client wanting an “aggressive treatment plan” believing them to be a ‘quick fix’ approach to skin treatments is the equivalent of following a crash diet for weight loss. Whilst you may lose weight initially and see results quickly, the lack of patience and no change to routine means those results are much less likely to be maintained and may also compromise your health long-term.
Whilst a ‘progressive treatment plan’ may take longer to see results, it is the best process for the skin because it allows time for adjustment and promotes skin health, creating an environment for skin to restore itself naturally, rather than being forced to recover in a hurry.
Remember, beautiful skin is healthy skin, which can’t be rushed and some things are worth waiting for!