Women (and more often men as well) have been taking good care of their faces for years And with the constant barrage of skin creams, lotions, and potions that promise youth in a bottle, who could blame them?

For years, the focus was mostly on the face, but that’s quickly starting to change. In recent years, both man­ufacturers and salons have caught on to the fact that taking care of other parts of the body — especially the hands — is just as crucial. After all, hands, just like the face, are a dead giveaway to a woman’s age.

“We spend tons of money on sunscreen for the face, yet we hang our hands out of the car window,” says John Moroney, vice president of marketing for Dermanew Personal Microdermabrasion System. “Most people don’t think about protecting their hands.”

Today, there’s a multitude of products and systems available to help make the hands look as clear and fresh as a teenager’s.

Personal-use microdermabrasion systems in particular have recently emerged in full force as potent foes in the wax against aging. (In feet, they’re becoming so popular that Dermanew is even in the process of registering the term Personal Microdermbrasion as a trademark.) Although they may share the same name as the microdermabrasion treatments traditionally offered in high-end spas and doctors’ offices, these smaller systems work a bit differently—but are just as effective.

That can mean big business for salons looking for ways to attract new clients and spice up their service menus and profits.

High-Powered Exfoliation

The microdermabrasion treatments you hear about in spas and doctors’ offices are literally a superficial sanding of the skin. Microdermabrasion employs the use of a professional machine, which gently blasts the skin with tiny sand crystals, buffing away the external dermal layer. That results in smoother, more even skin texture and tone.

According to Audrey Kunin, M.D, president of DERMAdoctor.com, a skin care website, the use of microdermabrasion dates back to the mid-1980s, where it began in Europe.

Professional microdermabrasion has gained a newfound appreciation in recent years, especially since it can be less expensive than other anti-aging treat­ments such as chemical and acid peels.

Personal-use microdermabrasion systems also resurface and polish the skin, albeit in a different way. These systems use a resurfacing tool to exfoliate and buff the skin, along with creams that help exfoliate and moisturize.

But unlike professional treatments, you don’t need to be a doctor to use these handy systems. In feet, there fairly simple to use and even easier to maintain.

Most systems come equipped with a resurfacing tool, facial sponge and brush attachments, as well as creams containing moisturizing and exfoliating agents. After applying the cream, simply massage the skin with the resurfacing tool for a few minutes, using minimal pressure.

The benefits are plentiful. Besides exfoliating the skin, most systems claim to smooth rough areas around the feet and elbows, minimize the appearance of age spots, and even out pigmentation irregularities. Another plus is these systems can be used on most skin types — from dry or normal to young or old. Of course, it’s important to ask about any skin disorders or other conditions prior to using one of these systems on a client.

In Your Hands — and on Your Clients’

“The salon industry is the place women and men turn to for image, so microdermabrasion is a perfect fit,” says Dixie Eklund, vice president of sales for FPO.

According to Melinda Minton, owner of Minton Business Solutions in Fort Collins, Colo., incorporating one of these systems into your existing manicure and pedicure services can mean actually doubling the price of your services.

“I would market the treatment as a deluxe spa service and add other perks to truly make it out of this world,” says Minton, She suggests wrapping the hands or feet in steamy towels prior to the treatment and applying a glycolic product on the cuticles.

Jill Sherman, advertising and public relations manager for American International, says nail techs can charge up to $10 per hand if they incorporate a system into their menus. “Nail techs could add the system to a manicure service prior to a hand massage or offer it alone as a 10-minute hand renewal treatment,” says Sherman.

To get clients familiarized with the system, think about offering free demos. Educate them on the benefits of using the system, and mention it in a newsletter or marketing piece. That way, once clients try it and know a little more about it, they’ll be more apt to ask for it during their next appointment.

Tamara Aruj, owner of Aruj Salon & Spa in Coconut Grove, Fla., has been using Dermanew’s Personal Microdermabrasion System in her salon for a few years, and says she’s had great success with it.

Although Aruj includes the system in all of her manicures, she says she’s chosen not to raise her prices.

“I’ve convinced my nail techs that there’s very little time involved and that they’d make the same money or more by selling the unit directly to the client for home use,” she says. “I think that’s more effective. You’re giving a value added to an existing service and bringing in repeat business when clients come in to buy more cream and foam applicators.”

So far, the system has been selling well, at a rate of eight to 10 per week, to be exact. Nail techs explain the system in detail as there using it on the hands. “It’s a natural lead-in,” says Aruj. “Clients then usually ask if they can use it on other parts of the body, and we tell them yes.”

During the holidays, Aruj and her staff gift wrap the systems. That, combined with the “wow” factor Aruj says comes with viewing the display in the retail area, has helped increase retail sales — and boosted her nail techs’ self- esteem when it comes to selling.

Incorporating a personal-use microdermabrasion system into your services is a quick, easy way to give clients the glowing skin they’ve always wanted. And since they can be used at home to maintain that silky softness, they make for excellent retail items. Not only that, they’re a great way to revitalize your services — and your profits.

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