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Industry • Inspiration

No Shame in Good Skin Care: How to Talk to Your Clients About Acne

A common skin condition shouldn’t be a source of embarrassment.

September kicks off with National Acne Positivity Day, making this the perfect time to revisit how we think about — and talk to our clients about — this all-too-common skin care issue. Acne can be a major source of insecurity for people of all ages, making it an awkward topic even among beauty professionals. Here’s how you can help your clients face acne head-on and love the skin they’re in, zits and all.

Lead with empathy (and a reality check)

Dealing with acne might just be another day at the office for you, but your client may have been struggling with this issue for years or even decades. For many people, skin imperfections go deeper than the physical effects, contributing to low self-esteem, self-imposed isolation, and even depression and anxiety. Keep the emotional toll of acne in mind as you work towards a solution that makes everyone feel better.

It’s important to let them know they’re not alone. Sure, it’s easy to tell clients that acne is incredibly common, but if all they’re seeing is Photoshopped and airbrushed influencers with flawless skin on social media, it’s easy to feel like an outlier. Remind them that Instagram isn’t reality and point them towards more skin-positive influencers who aren’t afraid to show their real skin. The first step toward acne positivity is confronting common beauty ideals and identifying misconceptions about what your skin should really look like. (Hint: Having skin texture is perfectly normal!)

Ask the right questions

When working with a new client, there are probably plenty of questions you’ll ask in order to find the root causes of their acne. How long has it been happening? Is it hormonal? Stress-related? Would changes in diet help? Could it be a side effect of medication? Before completing your assessment, however, there’s one more question you should be asking: “How does your acne make you feel?”

Aside from making your clients feel seen and heard, understanding their emotional relationships with their acne will inform your treatment plan. They might not see it as a big deal, or they might tell you that it’s affecting their careers, relationships, and mental well-being. From there, you can proceed to treatment options while also building the kind of trust that results in repeat visits and long-term relationships.

Focus on self-love and acceptance

Whether it’s medication, skin care treatments, or product recommendations, your goal is to help your client find a solution that fits their comfort level and lifestyle. Be upfront about outcomes and how long it might take to see results, as well as potential side effects. Above all else, you want clients to leave your office feeling better about their skin, no matter what it looks like. That’s the real message behind National Acne Positivity Day: Ending the stigma of imperfect skin by helping those dealing with acne to love the skin they’re in.

Think you know what clients truly want? We surveyed 800+ beauty patrons to discover what matters most to potential clients. Here's what we found

Client Experience Guide

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