Reading your patients’ minds

Have you ever wondered what someone is really thinking when you speak to them?  Unfortunately, we can’t always know what someone is thinking, but there are a few words that are regularly used in the aesthetic industry that can create different pictures in our patients’ minds that are completely different from what we are trying to explain to them……

Chemical Peel – We as professionals have a good idea of what this means, but think about what is going on in the patient’s mind.  Just the word “chemical” conjures up all kinds of images from rusty drums of who-knows-what oozing into a river; swimming pool chemicals, or a cupboard full of hazardous cleaning supplies.  What scary thoughts when you’re trying to explain what you may be putting on someone’s face.  Be sure to explain what you are truly speaking about (ingredients, application method, etc.) and remind your patient that water is also a “chemical.”

Peel – Now add the word “peel” to the word “chemical,” and you have a whole other picture going on in patients’ minds – anything from “peeling like a banana” to “peeling like a snake” or the image of Samantha from the Sex in the City episode that appeared to be more of a phenol-like peel versus the lunchtime peel that she was expecting.  Be sure to keep plenty of “before,” “during” and “after” photos of your previous patients’ treatments on hand to give an exact idea of what your patient can expect.

Oil – Yipes!  This one is a big trouble-maker, especially when you are speaking with acne patients.  When they see that word as an ingredient in the products you are recommending for them, all they see is a cup of vegetable oil, and the thought of putting that on their skin is NOT an option.  Be sure to educate your acneic patients on the properties of many types of oils that are good for the skin, such as borage seed oil, jojoba seed oil, grape seed oil, etc.  Remind them also, that their own sebum is comedogenic, and by applying products that are formulated with these beneficial oils, it will assist in reducing the amount of sebum produced by their own skin.

Burning or stinging – These two words are used often when applying peels and products to the patients’ skin.  Both of these words can be daunting, since both a “burn” and a “sting” are not pleasant.  Try using the words “active,” “tingling” or even “stimulating.”  Instead, these words have a more pleasant meaning to them that may make the difference in how the patient views what they are really feeling from an active ingredient or treatment.

Just by paying attention to what we say in our industry combined with the awareness of what the patient may be thinking can make a difference in their entire experience.  Have you had an experience similar to those mentioned above?  Please feel free to share them with us!


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