56 January 2017 © Skin Inc. www.SkinInc.com
receive nutritional advice, people tend to turn to their
esthetician as a source of information in this area.
ENCOUNTER: DURING INTAKE
During the process of a typical skin evaluation, an
esthetician will ask the client questions about their
lifestyle, including questions on their typical diet, water
consumption, smoking habits, exercise, daily SPF use,
sleep habits and stress levels. Many times, the answers
to these questions are literally written all over the faces
of the clients. Chronic, inflammatory skin conditions are
often tied to poor sleep, stressful lifestyle and poor diet;
It is usually legal for
someone to provide
that do not target an
IS NUTRITION AN ESTHETIC NO-NO?
all of which create a fire bubbling beneath the surface of
the skin. When an esthetician notices these things, they
may offer a recommendation to wear a mineral sunscreen
every day to prevent further photo damage, suggest
getting adequate rest each night, and trying things like
meditation or essential oils to aid in stress relief. These
wellness-related recommendations are all acceptable
suggestions to make and fall within the scope of practice
of the skin care professional as they attempt to evaluate
the client from a holistic perspective (holistic = whole
person: body, mind and spirit).
How do estheticians know where to draw the line
when it comes to offering specific nutritional advice?
Most estheticians have not been trained as clinical
nutritionists or registered dietitians; therefore, giving
nutrition advice falls outside of their scope of practice.
That said, there are so many connections between skin
health, gut health and nutrition. From acne to rosacea
to aging as a result of glycation, there are proven
associations that can be made between nutrition and
skin. What’s the esthetician’s role here?
I was looking at an esthetician’s chat site on Facebook
a few weeks ago, reading a thread about treatment for
a particular acne case for which photos were posted
along with some very basic information about the client.
There was all kinds of specific nutritional advice being
offered, and while a lot of it was good, some was not
so great. I read that to manage acne one should not
chew cinnamon flavored chewing gum, use only basic
toothpaste and avoid eating nuts. This is not sound
advice in my professional opinion. Maybe in a particular
situation for a person with a specific set of circumstances
this made sense, but certainly not as a general guideline
for any person with acne. Many nutritional supplement
recommendations were being made as well. As
well-meaning as these skin care professionals were, they
were not necessarily helping. In some cases, they may
have even caused harm.
It helps to understand what the law says about who
can and cannot offer nutritional counseling to the public.
This is a tricky area because the laws vary from state to
state from extremely restrictive laws regulating nutritional
counseling to absolutely no regulation on the books. It is
not within the scope of practice of an esthetician to ever
prescribe nutritional supplements and treat disease states.
In some states, criminal charges can be brought against a
person who crosses into a nutritionist or doctor’s territory.