It’s probably a fact that you’ve come across someone who has Diabetes whether a family member or a friend. As sad as it is, some people actually believe its solely because people made bad choices when it came to eating. That is not the case. For some, its genetic which individuals are just predisposed to and it throws a wrench in their lives in several aspects. As an esthetician it is one of things that we can actually look at and give it the middle finger to because we can still help them achieve their beauty goals and expectations we just need to be more mindful about it.
When doing any skin treatment (facial or otherwise) make sure they’ve filled out a Client/Patient history form. This is the most important step because you cover your ass and you then have a better understanding of their skin status.
Avoid extractions (if possible). Because a diabetic patient has a weakened immune system and their have different variations of neuropathy (numbness) extractions can be very risky to perform on a diabetic patient/client. They will not heal as fast as someone without diabetes and neuropathy may prevent them from knowing how much pressure you’re applying when doing extractions. Not to say that they can not receive them. Just be very mindful of your own pressure because you wont be able to rely on their feedback. If you’re uncomfortable doing extractions. Advise them that you will do any visable, extractable blemishes but do not what to risk opening the top layer of skin due to their skin condition. Products will work, the client just needs to be patient. If they insist you do them, document that they requested a thorough extraction session after you advised them about the contraindications. IF IT’S NOT WRITTEN DOWN, IT DIDN’T HAPPEN!!! Aside from that, this is your reputation and you are well within your right as a professional to refuse to do that because it’s a risk to their health. No one should fault you for that.
Treating their skin with products is important. With a Diabetic client their skin may be more dehydrated then most. This can be due to the disease or the medications they are taking to control their type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Hyaluronic acid is super beneficial for dry skin and our body naturally produces it. It hold 1600 times its own weight in water. Bilberry oil and Jojoba oil are also extremely beneficial for hydrating the skin. It protects their skin and assists on the repair process of skin.
Antioxidants are super important as well. One other thing to consider is their inflammation. Carnosine-L-benfotiamine is a free radical hunter which will also help with collagen and create a less inflamed status of their skin. Most products will have on their box, “anti-oxidant blah-blah”. Be aware that some products can claim to do one thing but actually don’t even touch on the promise written on the box. Do your own research of which products have the ingredients do achieve what you’re recommending. If you don’t know the answer to a product they suggest, its ok. A client will be more then appreciative that you’re genuinely trying to help get the right answer and product for her skincare needs. Take a minute and look it up.
Finish off with SPF, because most of their meds may make them photosensitive they will need an SPF. Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide are the best physical sunscreen ingredients on the market. Recommend them something within their price range that works. I always recommend EltaMD SPF’s. They’re great and they are not super expensive.
When doing any kind of massage on the face. A little more gentle pressure. Again, neuropathy….they may not be able to tell if something is actually hurting their body. So be mindful when applying pressure to face and body massage. Now, they’re not a baby. They can take some pressure. But for my heavy handed skin therapist (you know who you are) just remember that communication and self awareness are integral for these clients.
Aside from that, if they seem to have any kind of open lesions on their body, especially their feet, inform them right away and advise them to see their family physician or their endocrinologist. Never give them medical advice about their meds or symptoms. If they ask what may happen if they don’t go see their doctor right away???….how I loathe this question, but unless you’re someone (like me) who has a medical background and has seen the condition in it’s many forms, simply say “I don’t know, but I know enough about the skin that this will not heal up on its own. This looks to need medical professional attention “. That should end the conversation.
All in all, this should still be a pleasant experience for the client/patient. They’re there for help and guidance so give them that where you can and take the opportunity to learn more when you don’t know enough. Skincare is fun and you’re helping them feel like disease isn’t going to take that away from them either. I always recommend following Dermatologists or Plastic Surgeons for medical knowledge. Instagram or Twitter are excellent ways to stay in touch with doctors all over the world and get their view points on skincare and handling these tricky topics. Get out there and make people feel beautiful!!