No one has ever walked into my studio and asked for a UV skin analysis. They’ve just told me their experiences with them, often in tears.
These evil machines have existed for years. You stick your face in; the UV light flashes a few times, making every flaw pop out. A couple of seconds later, and you’re standing there looking at every flaw on your face. Flaws you never knew you had. Every pore, acne scar, melasma pigmentation, age spots, wrinkle, you name it. If it’s on your face (even deep below the surface), you’ll get to see it.
The last time I used one on myself was about ten years ago. Considering these machines also compare your skin to others your age (because that’s what we all want, to compare), I was both impressed and nervous. I’ve invested so much into taking care of my skin, and I was left looking at all the sun damage I had most likely accumulated before the age of 18. It wasn’t as much as someone who doesn’t care for their skin, but it was enough to make me feel discouraged.
Guess what? Ten years later and I have yet to see that pigmentation surface. Why? Because I CHOOSE to take care of my skin.
Here’s the thing: Either someone wants to invest in their skin, or they don’t. My job is not to make someone feel vulnerable or feel bad. Sure, I can purchase one of these machines for as little as $150 and increase my treatment and product sales. I choose not to for many reasons.
One reason I prefer to do consults for product choices rather than actual in-studio sessions is that I’m much better at helping someone choose the correct skincare products than convincing someone they should come in for an appointment. Usually, people who want a consult for treatment don’t actually want to come in. They want me to convince them to come in or to give them free advice. I’m just not a good salesperson, and people do what they want. If someone wants to be my client, they schedule an appointment. I don’t have to convince them to do so.
In my opinion, these UV Skin Analyzers are to sell. Many spas focus all of their efforts on converting consults to paying customers. These machines come in handy.
People are horrified by the prospect that these lurking age spots will surface into disfiguring liver spots and will sign up for any treatment or product that will make these terrible time bombs go away.
The skin analyzers could help prevent further damage IF seeing the underlying damage convinces someone to start taking care of their skin, but it’s not necessary to use a machine that judges you. It’s cruel and mean-spirited, and it’s usually to make a sell rather than help the client.
As horrified as you may be by those lurking little time bombs, your first instinct may be to buy a series of treatments to make them go away. But no treatment will eliminate all of those age spots below the surface of your skin. Yes, I said it.
Again, here’s the thing: You can’t pay for a series of sessions and expect your skin to be flawless. You have to do some of the work. You have to use the right home care, keep up on sunscreen, stop tanning, etc. And even then, you will be SUPPRESSING the pigmentation, not making the underlying pigmentation disappear. All of the damage you see in the scanner can be managed, but no magical treatment will make it disappear. You may be loyal to your homecare and treatments and never see the pigmentation surface. However, perform another skin scan, and you’ll possibly see more underlying damage from merely being a human being with skin. Your skin’s appearance would depend on many factors, including the time of year, how much water you drink, if you were drinking alcohol or smoking. Here’s a great example: If you were not using moisturizers regularly before the first test, any liquid you put on your face before the follow-up test would reduce the depth of wrinkles.
I’ve never seen skin imaging devices in a practice where the staff was well trained. You don’t need a skin imaging device to tell them what anti-aging treatments would be right for you. If you’ve studied skin and treat skin every day, you wouldn’t need a UV photo to assess sun damage, solar lentigines, and color deposits. The human eye is better than any imaging system for determining aging skin. You can detect slight laxity along the brow of the eye and jawline; see gravity pulling down on the mid-cheeks, which causes some wrinkling around the mouth and jawline. You can also detect subtle color variations and pigment deposits.
Lastly, I’m here to show people how to have healthy, clear complexions and age gracefully. One of the most important things I do for others is educating them on the need to rejuvenate their skin.
When clients walk in, they’re coming to me so I can solve a problem with their skin, relax, learn, escape, or leave with a glow.
They aren’t coming to me so that I can point out their every flaw. Flaws they may have never even noticed. Flaws NO ONE else can see. People know they have wrinkles, laxity, and dilated pores. They don’t need a machine to compare their pores and wrinkles to a database of other people their age.
What people truly want is someone they can trust with improving their skin. An imaging device cannot do that.
People should leave a skin session feeling beautiful, rejuvenated, and optimistic. Not panicked about a series of sessions or products they can’t afford and the possibility of damage someday surfacing.
All this to say, I don’t believe it does anyone any good worrying about something surfacing that MAY NEVER EVEN SURFACE. Take care of your skin and keep your flaws from surfacing if it’s important to you but don’t worry about something no one else can see.