Build stronger allies within the non-medical communities. Aestheticians, massage therapists and the like have their eyes on a lot of your patient’s bodies and can be a rich source of educated eyes to help detect anomalies patients might not be able to see themselves. Help them understand how to encourage patients to take action if they spot something and help them understand the best processes to follow from your point of view. (ie. encourage to see primary health provided first?)
Ihad the pleasure to interview Rene Serbon. Rene is an International Skin-Expert. She started her education focusing on business studies (marketing) and then moved to aesthetics. She began studying in New Zealand and completed training in Beauty Therapy (called Aesthetics in Canada and the US) as well as Electrolysis through the New Zealand Institute of Electrolysis and Beauty Therapy. Serbon sat for international exams and is a Diplomat of CIBTAC,and a CIDESCO diplomat as well. She completed post graduate training in Laser, IPL, and the Pastiche Method of Advanced Skin Analysis, for which Serbon was later an honoree as a Pastiche recognized educator.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Soon after graduating, I realized that I wanted to focus on corrective skin care, as my area of specialty within the umbrella of aesthetics. I started to seek out education to expand my knowledge in particular about anatomy, physiology and cosmetic chemistry and understand how and why certain ingredients bring results and others don’t. I found myself booked with hours and hours of grooming services (waxing, electrolysis, brow shaping etc) that was not fuelling my desire to help people be comfortable in their own skin. So, after my boss refused again to send me on an advanced educational course, I put in for annual leave and went took the courses anyway.
It was so profoundly awaking, and I never looked back. I searched for products that made sense for skin and diagnostic equipment to measure and document the skin. My crusade was aimed at really helping people understand their skin and giving them the power to improve the health of their skin, which lead to me teaching my industry peers how to do the same for their clients. The rest, as they say, is history.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
Starting my company is itself the story. I knew I had a gift to teach, but never thought it would be in this capacity. My desire to help people live with healthy comfortable skin lead to teaching and coaching others. I could build in clinic systems, and procedures, and protocols and was paid handsomely for it, however I was frustrated when the products continued to fall short in delivering results. In the skin industry in general, clients were not seeing the outcomes that they hoped for, and there was no documented way of tracking results and accountability for professionals, such as a scale and measuring tape holds accountability in a gym. So when I discovered tools (systems) that would allow me to bring really great skin (dermal) into the businesses I was working for and supporting, it was clear what the mission of Dermal Systems Inc would be — bring Skin businesses full Systems to serve their clients in the most individualized way.
Can you tell our readers a bit about why you are an authority in the healthcare field?
Coming from a family of medical professionals, I was always intrigued by the science of skin and amazed at the ability of our skin to self-correct. I am amazed at how it can bring so much discomfort (physically and emotionally) and also fascinated at the impact improvement of the skin can bring the same person who suffered discomfort. I sought education early on to really understand the underlaying causes of skin conditions. Know the cells and systems involved in dealing with different skin conditions and how to apply cosmetic chemistry and clinical services to address the conditions long term. Balanced of course by referring to the right parties when medical assistance is required and where possible supporting that effectively so as to not interfere with medical treatments and its results.
What makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Education has always been our cornerstone. Products, Diagnostic equipment and consulting came as a “side effect,” as we discovered these in our quest to bring the best to our clients and document the skin to learn where a client’s skin health is at a particular point in time, and track the progress as improvement of their skin is the primary goal at all times.
We have a profile of products and equipment that fits into our overall approach to the skin, which for us constitutes protecting the epidermis at all times. We don’t believe ablative or harsh approaches is necessary for healthy beautiful skin, and at the very least it should never be the starting point in a treatment plan.
Can you share with our readers about the innovations that you are bringing to and/or see in the healthcare industry? How do you envision that this might disrupt the status quo? Which “pain point” is this trying to address?
Today consumers are looking for highly effective but clean products. They also desire treatments with little to no downtime.
I believe that, above this, patient or client care should be individualized as no to people are the same. We educate in effective consultation techniques to understand background, genetic predispositions, risk factors, life style choices, medical history and cosmetic history to understand why the client’s skin is where it is today, and from there design treatment plans bespoke to the individual to get lasting results. Our approach and products also allows us to support medically as we use bio-identical components that do not negatively interfere with medical intervention, such as topical prescriptions. In fact, it often supports such measures.
More and more we are allies to the medical world to help side effects from medications, or treatments.
Those, with whom we work in the medical industry, are inclined to support the work of holistic improvement of the overall health of the skin, while stepping in with prescriptions such as topical steroids only when the skin is in need of immediate medical assistance as an example. We see continuously that our medical colleagues more encourage daily protocols of home care to repair the skin barrier so as to decrease the necessity for the individual to use steroids and getting the skin in a better condition long term, with less flares, and less need for topical steroids.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Yes, we continually run programs for our clients to learn, more in-depth, about the anatomy and physiology of the skin and pair cosmetic chemistry to cells and systems of the skin. It is an elevation from what is typically taught in aesthetic schools. We are always looking at ways to improve skin health and one keen point of interest at the moment is speeding up skin recovery after different treatments such as tattoo removal, collagen induction therapy, laser resurfacing and other treatments.
We are also always advocating for and supporting education to the aesthetic industry, in using visual and metric diagnostic equipment. I believe strongly in using such equipment to establish, from a scientific point of view, what the skin in front of you entails and to look ‘beyond the surface’. The technology to see beneath the skin and establish skin type and risk factors are not available, affordable and should be used. It also helps with communication in cases where referral is necessary.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why.
Logically, I knew you can be the Jack of all trades and the master of none. I think that the aesthetic industry can learn from the medical industry in their model of specialization. I am lucky that I realized I am a strong overall aesthetician early on, and that if I wanted to make a real difference in skin, I had to seek out higher education, decide on my specialty and pursue that relentlessly. I made that decision on a day I walked into the clinic and was booked back to back with 12 hours of waxing and felt deflated. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with waxing 12 hours a day, it was just not what I was destined to do. So I think there should be waxing, nail, skin, brow etc ‘specialist’ and it is great to niche into what you are called to.
Even though I have many medical professionals in my family, I wish I voiced my opinion related to my zone of expertise to the medical people I worked with much earlier on. I have deep knowledge about the skin, and my opinion has tremendous value. I now work with the most amazing dermatologists, cosmetic physicians, nurses, and aestheticians who value my opinions, and I value theirs. Fear of speaking up, gets you nowhere, we all have something to learn and something to teach.
Being an aesthetician is a more privileged career than I ever imaged. Clients trust me with very, very personal information, and I am often a bridge to help point them to the help they need. I learned that, because I am privy to such sensitive information, it is my professional obligation to surround myself with a network of professionals; ranging from doctors to hairdressers, massage therapists to psychologists and understand when to make connections for my clients.
Business in general, is a beast! While we are here to serve and love what we do, we also have right to be paid for our expertise. I don’t have to give my expertise for free, nor should I.
Let’s jump to the main focus of our interview. According to this studycited by Newsweek, the US healthcare system is ranked as the worst among high income nations. This seems shocking. Can you share with us 3–5 reasons why you think the US is ranked so poorly?
I think the reasons are too many to summarize into a few short sentences, but I do think that there is in my opinion a disconnect between the healthcare system and the wants and desires of the public. I also believe that the medical industry at large can liaison better and more efficiently with non-medical but complimentary professions to open up the limited resources. I don’t think that is happening because the focus seems to be on Benjamin’s, instead of the patient, or client.
You are a “healthcare insider”. If you had the power to make a change, can you share 5 changes that need to be made to improve the overall US healthcare system? Please share a story or example for each.
1.Strongly promote self-care beyond exercise. What do I mean? Many skin disorders can be prevented by practicing healthy home care protocols. Just like we brush our teeth, routine skin care regimes can prevent conditions beyond sunscreen and skin cancer.
2. Build stronger allies within the non-medical communities. Aestheticians, massage therapists and the like have their eyes on a lot of your patient’s bodies and can be a rich source of educated eyes to help detect anomalies patients might not be able to see themselves. Help them understand how to encourage patients to take action if they spot something and help them understand the best processes to follow from your point of view. (ie. encourage to see primary health provided first?)
The massage and aesthetic community are already great with cross-referring like this.
3. Seek out educated professionals who may have advanced education to help patients once they have been discharged from your service. For example; Aestheticians qualified in Oncology Aesthetics can be hugely beneficial to a patient who has just completed chemotherapy or radiation therapy. They have skin knowledge and body handling skills to properly care for your patient and your patient might just love the mental boost that comes along with clinical treatment of this nature as it is also quite relaxing.
4. Use the non-medical but complimentary communities to help champion your message. May is melanoma awareness month, and everyone involved in the skin industry will be talking about it. That naturally includes discussion about sun protection — which of a big point of discussion all summer long. What topics would you as a health care leader love help spreading the word about.
5. This might not sound popular but learn about the skills of professionals outside but related to the health industry. Once our local dermatologist understood the level of assistance I could give a patient with rosacea or acne and understood that I know my limitations and adhere to my scope of practice and refer out accordingly, he referred those cased back to me to open his calendar and to deal with more severe and potentially life-threatening diseases.
There is much more room for professional collaboration, if we all choose to work together for the greater benefit of patients/clients. Nothing fuels me more than to have a strong network of cutting-edge professionals I know can help my clients, when the time comes for assistance outside my zone. In return, it builds a deeper trust that my clients have in me as they know I will voice to them if there are concerns, I have about their skin health that needs medical intervention.
Thank you! It’s great to suggest changes, but what specific steps would need to be taken to implement your ideas? What can individuals, corporations, communities and leaders do to help?
I think the main actions are to communicate with each other and collaborate. We are all here to serve the individual on the receiving end to the best of our collective abilities. How much better care would it be if we stood together and worked toward a common goal.
What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to be a better healthcare leader? Can you explain why you like them?
I love any books about skin. My favourite all time book is Advanced Skin Analysis by Florence Barrett-Hill. I love it, because it is focuses on keeping the epidermis in tact at all times which is in line with the principles of Corneotherapy — skin treatment methodology that I strongly believe in. She also has a book called Cosmetic Chemistry, which I love and reference frequently. I love whitepapers by Dr. Hans Lautenschlager, it is filled with information relevant to my daily work. I do love podcasts too. I lean toward podcasts that are self-care, self-help even mental health related like, Michelle Broad’s Well Women Healthy Lifestyle Podcast, Dr. Kristina Hallet’s Be Awesome Podcast, Dr. Ashley Hampton’s Work Smart Live More Podcast. They are packed with great ideas around personal growth, mindset, health, with a variety of amazing guests from different fields and backgrounds.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Thank you so much for these insights! This was so inspiring!