I love the internet. I'm an elder millennial, so I was basically raised by computers. But the internet has downsides to it. I couldn't possibly be writing about all the ways that the interconnection of ideas at the click of a button could be. But I am here to talk about the rise of my Arch Nemesis. The Skinfluencer.
The internet created this creature. They're typically good looking (the camera loves them!) They're typically dealing with about 5-10 years of experience in the field - Think makeup counters. They have video production skills the likes of which this old gal could never ever. And they have transfixed the industry.
I've been an Esthetician for almost 25 years. I have worked on literally tens of thousands of faces over the span of my career. I have trained with someone of the best education organizations in my industry, the best doctors in North America, and have led teams of educators and salespeople across the US and Canada. And I will never be a Skinfluencer.
Why? Because they are the human form of a marketing team. They have flashy videos, post a TON of content, and yet, don't manage to say much. Why? Because many of these people are not trained. I watch these videos and wonder how many of my own clients may have been duped by these professional marketers.
They lure you in with entertaining content, collabs with brands and other celebrities, and with misinformation that often times, people like me have to fix. Or in the very least, have to regain trust due to them breaking down people with untruths and flat out ill-intent.
I got my Esthetics license the day I turned 18. I graduated highschool early and was able to take my esthiology program where I cut my teeth on skin basics, hygiene, and sanitation. More than anything, I learned how to properly consult with a customer and sell them product.
Over time I recognized I didn't have enough education and I sought out education for myself. I went to University and studied Pharmacognosy: "the branch of knowledge concerned with medicinal drugs obtained from plants or other natural sources." This basis of knowledge allowed me to better understand how plants and ingredients interact with the skin. And I still wasn't satisfied.
So I went to work for one of the best dermatologists in the country. Learned lasers and injections, skin cancer and the latest technology in product development. I've worked at some of the best spas in the country, trained with some of the best brands in the world. Still not satisfied. Sold to some of the best beauty destinations in the world. I think you get where I'm going here.
I have been in this field a long time. It is my true love, my passion. The sheer joy I get out of helping people find a solution for their face - the most important body part to many of us - is an incredible honor I don't take lightly. It's a huge responsibility. Imagine if someone you trusted wasn't trained enough to work on your face then caused damage? I've seen it happen. A lot.
So what does this have to do with Skinfluencers? These people don't have the skills and knowledge to help people. They've been put into the spotlight because a marketing juggernaut deemed them buzz worthy. They rise and fall with countless opportunities given them when they haven't earned their chops by putting in the hours needed to be called a skin expert.
These people are media personalities. I will say - a lot are makeup artists. But that does not make them a skin expert. Trusting a makeup artist to talk to you about your skin conditions is like trusting me to fix your transmission on your car. That's a big fat nope. I say that while being a multi-award-winning editorial makeup artist trained in both Los Angeles and NYC.
I'm writing this on Christmas evening because I received a tear-filled email from a very special customer of mine who lives out of state who trusted the likes of one of these folks and the products they suggested literally burned through her skin. As someone who has devoted my entire career to the mindful care of other's precious largest organs of their bodies, I was devastated to hear this.
She has been a customer of mine since 2005. I worked damn hard to help her get off of Accutane. To get her confidence built up around her skin. And to normalize for her the fact that skin texture is indeed a thing that happens in nature. And it was blown in the use of one face mask.
I care about my clients. I hurt when they hurt. I'm overjoyed when they are. We share the journey together. Because we are a team. These people, these Skinfluencers, they're not your teammate. They don't know the intimate details of your struggles like I do. They don't put in the work with you to create the results you want and so truly deserve. They won't bat an eyelash when selling you $300+ worth of products that they have zero clue on if they'll work for you or not.
The basis of their relationship with you is transactional. And that's why I will never be a Skinfluencer. You get the same treatment from me whether you come see me for facials or buy products from me, or not. I am here to be a guide and a resource for those in my orbit. I don't oversell people. I don't push buzz products. I deal with integrity 100% of the time. Because I plan on being around doing this for the rest of my working life. Not for 15 minutes of fame and a brand deal with Sephora.
If you find yourself needing an expert. Reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let's set up a complimentary consultation. You deserve a trusted expert in your corner. That's me. Not Skinfluencers.