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Skin Analysis and Digital Imaging: Getting under your clients skin

Posted on the 21 July 2011 at 13:49

How do you prove to yourself and clients that what you are recommending to them and treating them with actually works?

With treatments like dermal fillers and botulinum toxins results are often obvious, but what about “complexion improving” light based treatments, peels and those expensive topical products you recommend, how do you demonstrate their effectiveness?

We have all seen before and after pictures supporting various miracle products in the press, where the lighting is different, the angles changed, the “before” photo without make- up and the after the client is fully made up, with new hair style and even new teeth!. The worst cases may even be of different people (yes, we’ve seen this happen). Even at various medical conferences presenters often use poor quality, non-standardised images to support their case.

Occasionally we need to remind ourselves that we are working in the medical aesthetic industry. The reality is not that often put forward by the media where a client can be transformed in 10 days and be voted 20 years younger looking than she was before.

Often many of the popular non-surgical treatments offered produce subtle results that appear and improve over time, giving the opportunity for the client/patient to forget what they were like before.

In some cases this may lead clients to claim that the treatment or product used does not work. In addition an increase in litigation linked to the media actively searching for cosmetic “horror stories” plus a clients right to complain (supported by Care Quality Commission regulation and other industry guidelines) has meant that clinical treatments records need to be more carefully completed than ever before.

The Consulting Room™ has long supported the need for practitioners to at least take photographs of all of their clients before and after any treatment. It protects you, the client, and importantly gives you a baseline level to compare with, and show progression over time. If you intend to use these for marketing or presenting purposes, please remember to get their written permission for this.

Over the last few years clinics have been utilising the newer image and analysis devices available to provide not only quality images but also data and information about clients that can be used as more objective baseline measurements and help with the consultation process. In depth analysis of the skin can enable you and the client to make a more informed decision about; what is important to them, what combination of treatments to offer, what order to do them in and what products (if any) will support treatment.

Skin Analysis can be undertaken in several ways from a basic woods lamp to digital surface analysis which produces printed reports and stores each image in a database.

A number of devices have been used to measure the skin’s  pigmentation from as early as the 1920’s when it was recognised that “ the more melanin present, the lower the percentage of light reflected from the surface of the skin and the lower the brilliance”.

Developments in technology have meant that today many different parameters including pigmented and vascular lesions, wrinkles, pore size and porphyrins can be more objectively measured and recorded for a particular client’s skin.

With clinics looking to differentiate themselves from the competition, and as more patients/clients  become aware of what can be achieved in medical aesthetic clinics, the use of these types of skin imaging devices is expected to considerably grow over the next few years. Some systems provide morphing capabilities allowing you to more realistically simulate the potential results achievable with different treatment programs - this can help to manage expectations if clients can actually visualize the likely outcome of any procedure.

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Blog Comment(s) [1]

I’ve tried the visia skin analysis, and I must say I was amazed by what the photos can show. It is a great tool for both the patient and the doctor in findig out the skin’s condition in the underlying layers. I would recommend it to anywone. You can read about my experience here: I was really impressed with the analysis, and am glad to see that you also offer it!