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Ask the experts

Our beauty experts answer your questions about every aspect of running a salon or spa business

How can I adapt my tanning services for diverse client needs?

To ensure that spray tanning services cater to the diverse needs of all clients, including the elderly, pregnant, and those with reduced mobility, it’s essential to offer a customised and comfortable experience.

Adapting for elderly clients

• Prioritise comfort and safety: Ensure your tanning booth, pop up tent or area is easily accessible, with minimal steps or obstacles. Provide a sturdy chair or seating option for elderly clients who may have difficulty standing for extended periods, and offer a helping hand when the client is entering or exiting the tanning area to prevent slips or falls.

• Temperature control: From experience, elderly clients are more sensitive to temperature fluctuations. Therefore, I always maintain a comfortable room temperature during the tanning session. If performing the treatment in the client’s home, advise them to have some sort of heating system within the room prior to starting. You can also offer a lightweight robe or towel for clients who may feel chilly during the prep process.

• Customise tanning solutions for wrinkled skin: Use a tanning solution with a lighter DHA concentration to create a natural-looking tan for older skin. Pay special attention to skin hydration, as elderly skin tends to be drier. Recommend a moisturising pre-tan treatment to ensure an even application. Spend time buffing and blending at the end to ensure even coverage of solution where skin is slightly looser, making sure to spend some time at the end drying the skin with your tanning gun.

Adapting for pregnant clients

• Safety first: Nowadays, most solutions are pregnancysafe but do check your spray tanning products adhere to regulations and are safe to use on your client before providing the service. I also recommend checking in to see which trimester they are in. Although most products are stated as safe to use during pregnancy it is advised that they are past the first trimester. You may even want them to consult with their own healthcare provider to ensure there are no contraindications.

• Accommodate comfort: It is vital to be patient and flexible, allowing for breaks or adjustments as needed when spray tanning clients who are pregnant, especially in the later stages, so you will want to allow for extra time to perform the service.

• Customisation is key: Pregnant clients may have different skin sensitivities or changes in pigmentation. Tailor the tanning solution to their specific needs and address this at every appointment to manage their expectations.

Adapting for clients with reduced mobility

• Accessibility: If you’re tanning from a salon, ensure your tanning facility is wheelchair accessible, with ramps and wide doorways for easy entry. Have a sturdy, adjustable tanning bed or chair that can accommodate clients with reduced mobility.

• Provide assistance: Be prepared to offer help with transfers or positioning clients comfortably in the tanning area. Train your staff to assist clients with reduced mobility safely and respectfully. It may take two of you to provide the service, so make sure this is OK with the client ahead of time. The client may have a helper that they would prefer to assist with this, so make sure you feel comfortable knowing that you may have to guide and instruct accordingly. Always check in during the treatment to make sure they are comfortable with what you are doing and the different positions you may have to move them in. On occasion, I have had to manually apply sunless solutions and, in this instance, I have used tanning foams; there is a vast array of incredible products on the market.

Kimberley Nkosi has been in the beauty industry for over 10 years, working as a spray tanner, skin-finishing expert, session manicurist and business mentor. She has worked with celebrities including Ryan Gosling, Jennifer Lawrence, and Catherine, Princess of Wales.

How can I help clients with darker skin tones to treat their post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation at home?

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) is a common skin concern characterised by darker patches that stand out against the surrounding skin tone. It arises as a result of inflammation, which can be triggered by factors like acne, burns or sun exposure. When these patches appear as a result of acne, they are often referred to as “dark spots”.

Individuals with darker skin tones possess higher levels of melanin, the pigment responsible for the colour of our skin, eyes and hair. The melanocytes that make the pigment are more active and serve as a defence mechanism, making skin more prone to developing hyperpigmentation in response to inflammation. Even after initial inflammation subsides, the affected area may continue to produce excess melanin.

During consultations, understanding the root cause of these dark spots will help in devising the most effective treatment plan. PIH typically fades naturally over time, but for those actively seeking to diminish PIH, here’s a tailored regimen for your clients to follow at home:

The CAMS code: cleanse, activate, moisturise, sunscreen

1. Cleanse: Begin with a gentle cleanser to get the skin ready for the activation stage. For clients with active acne, opt for a mild cleanser containing exfoliating agents like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. This can help soothe inflammation, reducing the risk of exacerbating PIH.

2. Activate: Ensure the skin is well-hydrated before proceeding with products aimed at brightening the complexion. Consider incorporating hydrating mists and serums enriched with ingredients like glycerin and hyaluronic acid to boost skin hydration.

Tyrosinase inhibitors work to regulate melanin production, aiding in the evening out of skin tone. Look for serums containing niacinamide, vitamin C and azelaic acid with peptides and ceramides. This combination addresses hyperpigmentation, enhances skin texture, stimulates collagen production and builds the skin barrier.

At nighttime, clients can use retinoids, which are proven to accelerate cellular turnover, slowly fading PIH on the skin’s surface, unclogging pores and reducing acne. Begin with a lower concentration and gradually increase frequency to reduce irritation, which can cause further PIH.

3. Moisturise: Seal in moisture with an appropriate moisturiser to manage dryness and irritation. This step is optional but a great one for clients with dry or ageing skin, particularly during the winter months.

4. Sunscreen: Daily application of sunscreen is pivotal in reducing the likelihood of prolonged darkening of acne spots, especially when paired with the right products. Sunscreen also protects against various forms of pigmentation triggered by sun exposure, including the potential risk of skin cancer.

Salon treatments

In the salon, targeted treatments are great for addressing PIH. Chemical peels, especially those containing glycolic, mandelic, lactic or salicylic acid, can expedite the reduction of dark spots. I recommend beginning with a superficial peel, typically spanning four to six sessions, which often yields promising results.

Lola Dansu is an advanced aesthetician with expertise in skincare tailored to diverse skin tones. She is a speaker and trainer, and she won Advanced Aesthetician of the Year at the 2022 Babtac Awards and was a finalist in 2023.

This article appears in November 2023

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November 2023
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