Changes to your skin means it’s time to change your skin care routine. But there are so many products and choices out there that it’s often hard to know where to start. Changing skin, therefore, also means it’s time to book an appointment with a skin care professional and get expert advice.

A successful consultation is one where the skin care professional examines your skin before making any recommendations. He or she should ask you about your concerns, welcome your questions and answer them all.

And speaking of questions, here are five questions you should always ask a skin care professional before deciding on treatment:

1. What different aesthetic techniques and procedures are appropriate for my specific skin situation?

There are usually various non-surgical treatments for any given skin problem, which differ in terms of cost, efficiency and effectiveness. Your skin care professional should advise you of different options and how they compare. Don’t let anyone “railroad” you into doing a particular treatment. If you feel pressured, hold off and get a second opinion.

2. What are the possible side effects?

It goes without saying that the skin care professional should clearly advise you of possible side effects and risks associated with a procedure or treatment. Make sure you understand. Ask, too, how common side effects are – how often have this professional’s clients reported them?

3. Realistically, what kind of results can I expect from this treatment?

Your skin care professional should be able to tell you what you can realistically expect from any specific treatment.

4. What happens if I don’t see the results you mention?

Ask what happens if you are not satisfied with the results. Some skin care companies offer guarantees on their products; ask your provider about this and how it works.

5. What kind of training do you have, and how long have you been doing this procedure? How many times have you done the procedure you are recommending for me?

Ask straight out how much experience the skin care provider has with any procedure you are considering. Are they licensed or certified to give that particular treatment? Some states don’t require certification or licensing for laser technicians and aestheticians while others do. Find out. If your state does require it, there’s nothing wrong with asking where they went to school and asking to see the certification. “Oh, do you have your certificate on the wall?”

Knowing what to discuss ahead of time will help you feel confident about getting the best results possible when you need a new skin care routine.

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