Those Pesky Patient Profiles
So it's the day of your first facial! Or waxing! Or a massage! Or eyelash extensions! What's THIS? Paperwork??? Double-sided paperwork?!? Just to lay down? Seems silly!!! But it's NOT. It's not silly at all. It's actually VERY important. Each service has what we call "contraindications", what are contraindications?. A contraindication is a specific situation in which a drug, a procedure (like a facial, chemical peel, waxing etc), or surgery should not be used or performed because it may be harmful to the person. Patient Profile Paperwork is how we compile a profile on you and your background, just as when you visit the doctor... and the paperwork tells us things we need to know in order to ensure that you are provided with the best service possible for YOU. This is the same whether you are seeing me, another Aesthetician elsewhere, or your favorite Massage Therapist. Today, I'm going to review a few of the questions that are most often skipped by new clients on my intake forms, and explain their importance... Date of birth... ahhhhhhhh... the eternally dreaded question by women worldwide... "How old are you?" and why is it any of my d*mn business, right? Well, it is. Women of different ages have completely different skin issues, most aren't even aware of it until we start discussing their skin during the consultation. As we age, we experience barrier function issues, TEWL, increase of vellus, hormonal fluctuations and more. I need to know your age because it lets me know where you've been, where you are, and where you're going. And before we continue on, let me make it very clear - THE INFORMATION YOU SHARE WITH ME, WHETHER ON YOUR INTAKE PAPERWORK OR THRU DISCUSSION STAYS WITH ME. WHAT IS SAID IN MY TREATMENT ROOM STAYS IN MY TREATMENT ROOM. So, if you are one of those lovely ladies that does not like to disclose her age, don't worry, it stays between us, but it is most certainly as important to me as it is to your doctor. The next most frequently purposely ignored question on the intake forms is: "What is your hereditary background?" Now, I know that people tend to feel like this is silly as well, or that it is something that is a 'census' type of question, but it a legitimate question and has to do with contraindications for various treatments that we perform. We use this information to gauge your Fitzpatrick type. There is no way to know a persons Fitzpatrick type simply by looking at them, well, there is, but only to an extent. Fitzpatrick levels are I thru VI, If I lay it out in the most laymen of terms, you would think of a Fitzpatrick I as being the blondest of blond, pale skin, burns very easily, probably Scandinavian decent, maybe Irish. Whereas a Fitzpatrick VI would be very dark, dark hair, dark skin tone, never burns, think Sudanese. Now, here is where it gets tricky, and WHY I can't just look at you and go "Oh! She's blonde, she's blue eyed, she's a Fitz 1!" without knowing your hereditary background: Meet "Susan". "Susan" was one of my regular clients about 4 years ago. Gorgeous Red curly hair (we love redheads in my family). Beautiful blue eyes. Freckles. Burns easily. If I were to look at her, I would've automatically catagorized her into Fitz 1. But what you could tell by looking at "Susan", she was half Mexican.... and being half Mexican bumped her up to a Fitz IV and changed some things in her treatment plans. Fitz IV's can be more likely to hyperpigmentation. They can be more likely to scar. They can be more sensitive to certain ingredients, and there are some products and some protocols that simply shouldn't be used on them. It's just something that as Professionals, we MUST be aware of. So, ANSWER the questions about your hereditary background. I'm not turning it into the Census Bureau. I'm simply trying to do right by YOU & YOUR skin.
For my final most frequently purposely ignored question, I'm going to lump several into one... Medications (oral, topicals), Fillers & Injectables (& facial surgeries), Allergies. When you come see me, when you come to see any Aesthetician, please know that it is a JUDGEMENT FREE ZONE. Truly. And while it is possible that you have gone some place before where you didn't feel that way, know that when you see me - I MEAN IT - IT IS A JUDGEMENT FREE ZONE. I need you to be completely & totally honest with me and I don't care what those answers are, I just need to know. I NEED to know what medications you are on. When it comes to your medications - the simplest way for me to put it, I need to know what you are putting in you and on you so that I don't melt your face off (either during a skin treatment or during waxing). There are many medications, both oral & topical, that are "skin thinners", or cause skin sensitivity, acne, compromised barrier function etc. so it is crucial that I know. Fillers & injectables & surgeries, I need to know for various reasons - and again, these things are all in confidence and no judgement. Allergies, the fact that I even need to say "Hey, if you're allergic to something, to anything, you should tell me" - I find it boggling, but, this is also a commonly skipped over question on the form. I use a wide variety of products. Some are cosmecueticals, some are botanicals, some are a combination of such. People who are allergic to aspirin, for example, might also be allergic to salicylic acid - which is commonly used to treat acne. People who are allergic to milk, may also be allergic to Lactic Acid. There are MANY "sister" allergies like this, and it's part of our extensive training to understand them and know what to look for. In the end, when you skip over those questions when you are given the paperwork to complete, we can't continue with your service until they are answered. By skipping them, it puts your Aesthetician in the position where he/she has to put the service on hold and seek out the answers before continuing the service, which takes away from time spent treating you, pampering you, working on areas that you want to improve. So go ahead, be bold. Your secrets are safe with me. Share them with me so that I can give you the safest, 'bestest', most amazing treatment that is customized for YOU.