Like beauty X-ray vision, skin analysis is one of the industry’s most popular procedures. Gone are the days of naked eye assessment; trained therapists can now use nifty modern tools to take a look at what lies beneath your skin’s surface – from pigmentation issues and fungal infections to pre-teen sun damage. But to what effect? WH&F journalist Angelique Tagaroulias and editor Katelyn Swallow investigate.
To be honest, I spent a large portion of my youth out in the sun – from family days at the beach as a child battling the waves to my later years sun-tanning by the pool, lathered up in coconut oil (eek). To top it off, my skincare routine as an adult consists of splashing water on my face and the occasional cleanse on days that I do care enough to wear make-up.
Despite my lack of skin love, I’ve had minimal issues with my complexion over the years (or so I thought). So when WH&F editor Katelyn and I decided to get a skin analysis at the renowned MISS FOX day spa in inner city Melbourne, I wasn’t sure what I’d get out of it. Katelyn, on the other hand – with her many years’ suffering redness and the occasional spots of acne – could barely contain her excitement.
THE ROAD TEST
The waiting room of the MISS FOX day spa, clinic and beauty salon appears more like a Vogue spread than a place to fill out your medical form. With the front entrance located down a hip Melbourne laneway and the steps to the spa sprinkled with rose petals, we were given herbal tea to sip as we scribbled, perched on beautiful red couches and surrounded by Marilyn Monroe paintings. It was luxe meets comfort, and we were instantly at ease.
The initial 10 minutes of my consult was spent informing the therapist of my skin concerns, its general condition and my daily skincare routine (gulp). Once the history was taken, I was escorted
to a darkened room with a daybed for the formal skin analysis and medifacial (which was absolute bliss).
A skin analysis is essentially a time machine for your face, showing damage or underlying issues invisible to the naked eye and that may have occurred as early as childhood. This info is used by a qualified skin therapist, who takes into account your skin’s current condition, skincare routine, skin type, genetics and medical history, to recommend a skin treatment.
“Some form of spectral imaging or photography is used to assess what is happening below the skin surface that’s not visible to the naked eye,” says director of MISS FOX Melbourne Day Spa, Salon & Clinic Victoria Fox (missfox.com.au).
“For example, a hand-held wood lamp that utilises black UVA light is held over an area of skin in a darkened room. The presence of certain bacteria or changes in the pigmentation of your skin will cause affected areas of your skin to change colour under the light, showing skin irregularities such as pigmentation, oil and hydration levels, and can detect bacterial or fungal
Despite not having any obvious skin concerns aside from an oily T-zone and dehydration post-holiday (sun exposure and holiday food were to blame), the wood-lamp light showed white patches and spots across my brow and cheeks – pigmentation issues that had developed from my years out in the sun; I was surprised (and horrified) to find that my lifestyle had showed up years later – and on my face.
I was given a skincare plan, including products (both natural mineral make- ups and clinical strength synthetic versions) to use at different times throughout the day to help with my combination skin.
HOW: Using specialised equipment and skin grading systems, a therapist can analyse your skin’s condition and recommend the appropriate treatments and products for healthy skin.
WHY: With so many items and treatments available in today’s
market, choosing the right skincare products and treatments can be
difficult and overwhelming for the average consumer. Skincare sold at a department store or chemist is rated differently to clinic-only products, containing milder forms of ingredients and lower active percentages for consumer safety, whereas products designed to make physiological changes to the deeper layers of skin must be professionally prescribed.
RESULTS: By consulting a skin professional, you can receive advice that cuts through the hype and is tailored for your skin, its needs and your personal skin goal. You’ll also have access to products with more active ingredients, and will see more effective outcomes.
Following our road test, Katelyn and I agreed that anyone can benefit from a skin analysis – whether you have normal skin and a clear complexion, suffer from acne, or simply want to soak up the excess oil on your snoz.
If you do have a more serious condition such as rosacea, psoriasis, redness, eczema, asthma or liver problems, it’s advisable to seek further assessment from a health professional, says Fox.
“Chronic health conditions and internal imbalances all impact the health and appearance
of the skin, so many skin treatment programs will incorporate internal supplementation and recommend work to address the emotional and mental health of a patient as well, which may require a referral to other professionals,” says Fox.
“In our experience, an initial skin analysis will serve you for approximately three months. As yourskin improves and changes as a result of prescribed treatments and homecare, a follow-up session will show if your routine is still relevant or needs to
The cost of an initial skin analysis at MISS FOX is $150 to $300 and your homecare routine will see you investing in anything from $200 to $800. On average, you’re looking at paying about $150 per month for a clinical skin treatment.
Although I went into the consult thinking it wasn’t worth my time or money, our skin is our largest organ, so the investment in taking good care of it seems well worth it. Even if you don’t have any significant skin issues – like myself – talking to a professional and seeing the damage I had done helped scare me into taking better care of one of my greatest assets. Plus, the procedure is safe provided you are in the hands of a skilled professional.