At-Home V In-Salon Devices: A SkinMed Pro Discusses

The increase in at-home device usage in the last 24 months has spooked skincare professionals, as has a dip in in-salon treatment bookings and concerns over the resulting condition of their clients’ skin. But according to Founder and National Sales & Training Manager at SkinMed, Sharon Marsh, the trend is certainly not worth the hype. To Sharon, the superiority of professional-use devices will prevail in servicing the industry long-term, Hannah Gay learns.

Hannah Gay: Describe SkinMed’s mission and the importance of remaining an Australian-based company.
Sharon Marsh:SkinMed™’s mission is to introduce, support and provide our customers with advanced anti-ageing device technology and advanced cosmeceutical skincare for their clinics and salons. We aim to help our customers to dramatically increase the profit of their business and provide high quality, guaranteed results for their clients. 

Remaining an Australian-based business is extremely important for us. Our business currently possesses a combined 30-year’s industry and training experience.  We will be celebrating our 10-year anniversary in September this year.  We value our customers and have an amazing team who are genuinely passionate about the industry and supporting those clinics and salons.  We have such incredible results driven products and deal with amazing people daily that we love what we do and wouldn’t want that to change.

Education and training, and being instrumental in supporting the next generation of beauty therapists is also our passion.  It is important for us to be supporting the industry and supporting our local economy.”

HG: Describe the impact COVID has had on all facets of SkinMed’s operations, from creation to distribution, and on the device industry broadly.
SM: “SkinMed has had to make some dramatic changes to its operations as a result of the impact of COVID.  The main change for us was moving our operations from Melbourne to our Hobart office.  As Melbourne had the most severe lockdowns of any other capital city, and with Hobart having minimal cases, and still very much operational over the last couple of years, it made sense for us to make this change.  This meant we have been able to continue to provide our customers with their skincare products with minimal to no disruption.  

Due to COVID disruptions in the transport sector, we were seeing up to six-week delivery delays and custom holdups on our devices, when we normally had stock on hand.  Once we had our stock, we were able to supply interstate without disruption.

The other change for us has been in the education space and how training is delivered.  Education is so important to ensure devices are being used correctly and it can be challenging when you are unable to provide that hands-on practical training.  We went from running monthly face-to-face training sessions in our South Melbourne office to running everything online.  Our monthly training would allow us to cover training for a number of our customers in one session.  It was not only an opportunity for our clients to learn, but an opportunity for clinics and salons to network. Rather than large group training sessions face-to-face, we now provide individual training support one-on-one with our customers via Zoom.  This has put additional strain on resources within the business.  We are hoping to get back to our face-to-face training sometime this year when things settle down.

In relation to the device industry on a broader scale, COVID has meant we haven’t seen the creation and introduction of any new technology in the past two years.  Prior to COVID the industry was very creative, with new devices and cutting-edge technology being developed frequently.  Overseas trade expos were run every year and they were a great avenue to discover new devices.  

What I’ve observed is that clinics and salons are looking to devices that may have been in the industry for some time.  Treatments like HydraFace™ which includes microdermabrasion, hydro/hydradermabrasion and oxygen treatments have been extremely popular.  Radio Frequency skin tightening machines have also had a resurgence.  Our 5D Radio Frequency FaceShape™ is very popular right now.  Clinicians want results for their clients and greater return on investment, and these types of devices deliver that for them.”

SkinMed's Sharon Marsh talks at-home devices
SkinMed’s Sharon Marsh

HG: List some of the key differences in capability between an in-salon device and an at-home device.
SM: “With people being put into lockdowns across the country there has been an influx to the market of at-home devices making all sorts of claims.  At-home devices are generally lower capability versions of any professional in-salon device, and you will not get anywhere near the same result as you would having the same treatment in-clinic/salon using a professional device.

I think it is important to make the point that in-salon devices deliver a stronger treatment as the devices are more powerful and are operated by trained professionals.  Skin clinicians have undergone years of training and understand the skin, they are able to assess a client’s skin, and provide the best treatment possible to get the optimal results and safest outcome.  Other than 0.3mm derma rollers which aid in the penetration of product, I don’t believe there is any merit for at-home devices in the industry.  

The lack of regulation around at-home devices also means people are taking a risk with their skin.  We are given one face: why risk its condition and look by using an unregulated, at home device that the consumer is not trained to operate?”

HG: Given ongoing closures and staff shortages faced by Australian salons in 2022, how will continued investment in in-salon devices remain beneficial to the salon owner? How does this investment compare to the potential profit generated for a retailer selling an at-home device?
SM: “I agree, the industry does face some challenges in the coming months, however it won’t be forever.  It is important that salon/clinic owners use this downtime to work on their business and learn about technology and products that can improve the profitability of their business.  Professional in-salon devices provide clinic and salon owners the opportunity to increase profit margins. Each advanced device treatment has a higher margin than traditional facial treatments.   

I would also recommend salon owners look at their skincare retail offering and where possible, either move to or add an Australian-owned and made brand to your business.  One of the things that has become evident from COVID is that we all want and need to support local business and Australian made where possible.  

We need to consider, if a skin clinician has sold an at-home device to their client, this is a recommendation from a professional that the at-home device will give them results.  The client may think they can perform their treatments at home and won’t need to come into the salon for future treatments.  You may generate some income from an at-home device in the short-term but think about the long-term income loss and implications for your business.”

HG: What are SkinMed’s business goals for 2022?
SM: “SkinMed’s business goals for 2022 are centred around sustainability and education. Our main goal will be re-packaging our professional and retail skin care into environmentally sustainable, compostable, recycled packaging. We will also be working through several other strategies to allow SkinMed to achieve net zero by 2024. Another important goal will be to deliver to our customers advanced marketing packages and updated education material through the provision of a range of new training videos.

We will continue to research and engage with new technologies in the industry in order to provide the highest quality affordable anti-ageing devices and skincare products in our range.  We will continue to deliver those to new and existing customers.”

To learn more on SkinMed devices, visit SkinMed Australia or call 1300 535 675.

A cut-down version of this article appears in the January/February 2022 issue of Professional Beauty.

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