I may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post. All opinions expressed are my own.


In today’s post, I’m going to walk you through the things your skincare professional looks for in a thorough skin analysis. If it’s your first visit with your Aesthetician, she should ask you what your skin concerns are, and then thoroughly evaluate the state of your skin to customize your regimen and treatment plan!

Step One: The Consultation

As I walk into the room once my client is comfortable under the table linens, I wash my hands and ask, “Are you having any concerns about your skin today?” This is key. I need to hear what you have going on, as this will clue me in as to why you are on my table and what I can do to best serve you! Sometimes, the answer is “Oh nothing, I just came here to relax,” which is fine too, because then I know to spend extra time on facial and extremity massage and to keep the talking to a minimum! However, most often, I hear things such as, “My skin has really broken out a lot this year…” or, “My skin is SO dry right now during this winter season…” or “I just turned {insert age} and I want to start taking better care of my skin…” I love to know! Maybe you just had a baby, or maybe you are going through fertility treatments and your skin has gone whacko! Maybe you just finished up chemo and feel like your skin is super dry… whatever it is, I’m all ears! (and eyes!)

Step Two: Cleansing and Analysis

Under the steam, I will cleanse your skin thoroughly and dry it with a gauze. I place cotton rounds over the eyes and then put goggles on top, as the magnifying lamp is very bright and squinting causes wrinkles! This part is so fun for me- I get a closer look at your skin and get ready for it to tell me its story!

Every Aesthetician is trained a little bit differently on what to look for. Certain training programs even have patented skin analysis methods. I’m just going to give you the basics for today.

First, I look at your oil activity. 

Are your pores small, medium, or large? This clues me in as to your skin type. There are four basic skin types; Dry, Oily, Normal, and Combination. Knowing your skin type is the foundation to good skin care. The proper products for your skincare regimen will ensure your skin is well hydrated, protected, preserved and that any skin conditions will eventually heal. Knowing your skin type also helps me to customize the facial and use the proper treatment products and modalities.

Skin types; the basics:

Dry skin lacks oil. If I were to examine your pores under the mag light, they would be barely visible. If I ran my finger across your cheek it may feel rough or even papery. Oily skin has visible pores, sometimes on the larger side, and you can feel the oil on the surface of the skin. True oily skin has larger pores all over the face and not just in the T-zone (Chin, Nose, and Forehead),  Normal Skin has an evenly dispersed pore size throughout the face and feels balanced between excessively oily and dry. Combination skin is the most common skin type- Larger pores in the T zone and normal to dry everywhere else (cheeks).

I can also see where some of the oil is because this is where the comedones (clogged pores) are. An oily nose almost always has blackheads.

Everyone wants to shrink their pores (and your esthetician should recommend the right products to refine your pores!) but just know that I do not assign a moral value to your pore size. Every size is great in my book and it’s unique to your skin!

Next, I look at your skin’s condition.

This is different from your skin’s type. For example, a lot of people believe that they have dry skin, but they actually just have dehydrated skin. Dry skin, as I said above, lacks oil. Dehydrated skin lacks water. If the skin is dehydrated it may look like it has tiny train tracks in a criss cross pattern on the surface, it may feel rough to the touch and it may appear dull or sallow.

In looking at your skin’s condition, this tells me many things. Is your skin sun damaged-for example, covered in lentigos or “age spots”? Is it aging-do you have visible fine lines or wrinkles? Is acne present? Are you sunburnt? (Believe me, this actually happens! I don’t recommend a facial after a day at the beach y’all, and I DEFINITELY don’t recommend being burnt!) Do you have rosacea? Do you have a history of skin cancer or precancerous lesions? Etc. This helps me to assess the level of wear and tear on your skin and will most likely support the concerns you are having.

Third, I look at your skin’s type on the Fitzpatrick Scale. 

Your skin’s Fitzpatrick score assess how much pigment or melanin is in your skin. This is very important for several reasons. The first is that the strength of the treatment is very much determined by your Fitzpatrick Skin Type. When you heal from a cut or a pimple, your skin may redden, darken, discolor (called hyper pigmentation) or even lighten (called hypopigmentation) depending upon the melanin activity that you have. If I know that you are prone to either of these states of discoloration upon healing, it’s going to guide the strength of my treatment and possibly even the modality! For example, chemical peels are really not a great idea on skin that is Fitzpatrick IV or higher, due to the risk of something called post inflammatory hypopigmentation. I want you to leave my table looking and feeling better, and so I want to avoid this at all costs!

Another reason to assess your Fitzpatrick Type is so that I may ensure you are using the proper SPF each and every day. I know the guide below says SPF 15 at least, but I always say at least 30 and for every day! It’s better to protect more, no matter how deep your skin’s pigment may be!

Taken from Pinterest <3


Next, I do the “pinch test”. 

I promise you this doesn’t hurt a bit! I lightly pinch the skin between my fingers to see how quickly it bounces back. This helps me to measure your skin’s elasticity. If the skin is loose, saggy and does not bounce back quickly, this indicates a loss in collagen. This is another clue to help me recommend the proper products for you and to refer you for interventions if indicated.

And, if it’s your first visit….

If it’s your first visit with me, I usually bust out the Wood Lamp. Similar to a black light, this lamp allows me to truly see what’s going on under the surface of your skin as well as what your oil glands are doing. I can see freckles that may not be present to the naked eye, which helps me to assess your sun damage on a deeper level (as well as check on your progress if we have been doing a series of peels to lift said sun damage!) Dehydrated skin appears bright violet under the lamp (a very important thing to check for if you are about to get a peel because dehydrated skin does not always react very well!) Oil looks bright orange in your pores under this light, so I can see your oil activity even more clearly! All of this pleases my nerdy heart to no end- and it benefits you as the client greatly!

A proper skin analysis by a licensed professional is the foundation for great skin! See your Aesthetician for a customized facial and skincare regimen!

1 Comment

  1. Thank you so much for sharing all this information!

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