The 360-degree Approach To Skin with James Vivian

The 360-degree Approach To Skin with James Vivian

 

Trish

Hey listeners, it’s Trish Hammond here from the Transforming bodies podcast.
And today, I’m at the Nonsurgical Symposium, and I’m talking with James Vivian who’s from Victoria, and he’s a dermal clinician. So we’re gonna talk about, first of all, how he started, what a dermal clinician and a whole bunch of other stuff. So welcome, James.

James

Thank you so much. Great to be chatting to you today and to be at the Nonsurgical Symposium, which is so far so good. It’s been a great day.

Trish

I know, how exciting is it?

James

It’s really great. And as a dermal clinician, as you mentioned, it’s so wonderful to be part of, I’m part of the scientific committee, and I’m sitting amongst a wonderful broad spectrum of different practitioners and it’s the first time they’ve had a dermal clinician as part of the committee so it’s a lovely inclusive event, and I’ve got lots of my colleagues here, and it’s great to be part of the process.

Trish

It’s so funny because I found out about dental clinicians only about a few years ago when I saw that there was a conference on by the ASDC. I know. And then I thought, what is a dermal clinician? I met someone and whatever. So I love it. And I was just talking to the present of setups. And we talked about the same thing, the fact that they can learn something from you, and you get it like it’s just so inclusive. So I love that too. Awesome. But tell us, first of all, you’re doing a couple of talks here at the moment, but I’m gonna ask you how did you even get started doing what you do now? So tell me, so how did you get started in the industry? Like, what did you do before you did this and what made you become a dermal clinician head start?

 

James

So quite by accident, I was a budding musician when I was much younger and to supplement my income, I got a part time job at Aesop as a sales consultant there and my plans were originally to be a famous singer songwriter, but, you know, best laid plans and being a creative is often really, really tough. So on my very first shift at Aesop, I got a facial by a woman called Maria Vovos and I got off the treatment bed and I said to her how the hell do I make someone feel like you’ve just made me feel? It was incredible and I’d had lots of facials before, but it was what I call a life changing facial. Maria said to me, well, you go and study beauty therapy and I was like, well, I’m gonna be a famous singer and songwriter, Maria. But that facial and experience and how she’d made me feel, stayed in the back of my mind, and after a few years of working for Aesop, my passion for skincare and customer service seated my passion for music. I enrolled in beauty therapy, and I guess the rest is history.

Trish

Oh, so you started off as a beauty therapist?

James

I did so when I went to study the Bachelor of Health Science and Dermal Therapies at Victoria University, you had to have had or undertaken a diploma of beauty therapy. It was a prerequisite so it was an extension of beauty therapy and people often ask me, you know, what is a dermal clinician? And I like to sort of refer back to what a beauty therapist is or sort of more so once where we were a bit of a Jack and Jill of all trades. We did manicures, pedicures, and massages, facials, waxing, and also customer service, whereas dermal clinicians have much more of specific interest and passion and skill set in treating the skin. And as the name suggests dermal clinician, we’re focusing more or not more, but we can do great things to that, the deeper levels of the skin.

Trish

So what is the difference between a dermal clinician and a dermal therapist?

James

Good question. So I’m a dermal clinician, which means that I have achieved more than an advanced diploma in dermal therapies, but also I am an active member of the Australian Society of Dermal Clinicians. So to be a dermal clinician, you need to have the training, but also the membership, whereas a dermal therapist if I’m honest, anyone can actually call themselves a dermal therapist. It doesn’t mean that they’re any good at it, but it certainly means that they’re putting themselves out there as a skilled skin practitioner or someone that’s focusing on the skin, but the official title of a dermal therapist is someone that it once again has achieved more than an advanced diploma in a dermal therapy course, but isn’t a member of the ASDC. Does that make sense?

Trish

Yes. And you’ve almost said CD, didn’t you?

James

I had to think about it. I had to think about it. It’s catching.

Trish

No worries. So tell me, can you, like, you spoke today with some other people as well, and you were talking about the three sixty degree approach to skin. Now I don’t know what it is, but it sounds absolutely amazing and right up to my age, I’m all about the skin. Mhmm.
It could be like a million kilos, but I’m all about how good my skin looks. And so tell me, what is the three sixty degree approach to skin? I can barely say it. 

James

I get it. I get it. It is a bit of a mouthful. So if I think about a three hundred and sixty degree approach to skin management or caring for clients, it’s kind of twofold. The main thing we touched on today was whilst a huge part of what we do as an industry or more specifically as a dermal clinician is that we administer treatments to our clients. We recommend home care. We care for our clients. But to get a great result and to have a long lasting relationship with clients. It’s so much more. It’s about the way we communicate with our clients before they’ve even arrived for their treatment. But most importantly, after they leave because as practitioners we set in motion a chain of events when they’re in the treatment room with us, and we’ve got no idea. Is that treatment working? Is our client okay? Are they happy?
So the way we communicate with the treatment oh, sorry, the way we communicate with the client after treatment, I often say, is just as important if not more than the treatment itself. We were talking today about the importance of photography when it comes to ensuring that we’re getting the right results, we’re moving in the right direction. If you don’t take photographs, how do you know?

Trish

How do you know the patient? Because the patient, like, we don’t remember. You know, you think, oh, you know, when I see them before and I saw, oh, wow.

James

And our clients are looking at their skin each and every day. It can often be hard for them to see the improvements or lack thereof. We also had a great talk about how even within a business different practitioners are collaborating because as dermal clinicians and as a lot of practitioners in this industry, we cannot be everything to everybody. So ensuring that we’re staying in our lane, we’re becoming specialists at what we do and what we’re passionate about. And then the other, when I think of the three sixty approaches to skin care too. It’s about a holistic approach with a client. Once again, there’s treatments, there’s home care, but that just affects change on a very strict part of the skin and more so or more specifically the person. So more important than ever is the way we tap into what client is actually looking for what they need? What’s their budget? What’s their ability to commit to x amount of treatments? Are they going to go home with a whole lot of products and not use them? So we don’t just ask about what the clients’ concerns are with their skin. We need to find out what that client is actually looking for and how we can create long standing relationships with them through communicating with their needs as a person, not just about their skin.

Trish

You know, and that is so important because like me as a patient because I have no qualifications in this interview except that I’m a bit of a junky patient. Not really. I just wanna look good for as long as I get it. It cost a lot, but it was worth it. But I was gonna ask you so as a patient, I think it’s really important to find someone that they wanna align with and actually, you can’t just go here and have this and here and have that here of this. She actually got to speak to someone at the at the not the you know, the base level kind of thing, not that I mean that you’re at the base level, but someone to actually start from the beginning and kind of, like, you need to align up with that person and actually have treatments that you need to get the best outcome from your skin.

James

I agree with you. I was talking today about how a lot of our clients think of skin care or skin care treatment. It’s like the gateway skin drug. Right? You know, that’s where they start.
Build a healthy canvas, build an interest or a passion around looking after themselves and after their skin, and then they can start to build out. Actually, I think I wanna focus a little bit more on a bit of volume or wrinkle reduction or tightening up some laxity. But of course, as a dermal clinician, we always encourage our clients to start there. What often happens is a client will come in with a very, very long list of concerns and I will sort of pick the eyes out of the ones that I think are gonna yield the most satisfactory and efficient result to begin with.
And so even just as an example, this week, I had a client and we’re working on her perioral dermatitis, her post inflammatory hyperpigmentation and congestion and she’s on the bed and she’s but that she’s saying to me, but what about my eyes? What about my eyes? And I’m saying, will get to your eyes at the moment. You’ve got so many different concerns and you’re really hyper focused on all of them. Let’s just focus on a few and then you might find that you don’t care so much about your eyes because everything’s looking and feeling so much better. You’re really, really taking more control over your skin and how it’s responding. And we often find that people like, you know what? I don’t care about my eyes anymore because I got my skin looking really good.

Trish

Yeah. That’s so true because I just recently went and had some treatments and I said to the doctor, I said, oh, just cast down all this crap that’s going on around my jaw and I wouldn’t he goes, don’t worry. It’s a process, we’re gonna start by doing this. And then down the track, we’re gonna do this so it was really good that I wasn’t gonna go there and just get everything fixed at once. It was a process and I think that’s what people need to get used to when it comes to skin. You can’t just go and have some skin treatment and then not look after your skin. You’ve got to actually may have a little of maintains what put in and what you put what you put in your mouth and what you put on your skin as well as got a lot to do with, you know, you can’t just go and have I mean, you can if you want, but it’s not gonna have as much effect if you do do it like that. 

 

James

Of course, the work that a client often has to do at home can be just as important if not more than the treatments. I mean, we’re often sending clients home with no treatment in order for them to really prep their skin or be able to under be able to get the results they’re looking for just with skin care alone, particularly with things like perioral dermatitis and hypersensitivity, there is — and the treatments are just going to make the situation worse. And then you touched on before about going from here to there. Sometimes there’s merit in that if you’re seeing specialists that are focusing on different things, but you want to find someone that, as you said, resonates with you. You wanna go on that journey. But you need to be impressed with the meeting every time because the thing I say is that dermal therapists are in a lot of this industry. It’s not an exact science. What works on one skin, it doesn’t work on another. And you don’t know that until you give it a go so the trust that a client has to put in puts in with us. It is quite extraordinary, but you have to use your intuition and your gut instinct to pick the right treatments and if it hasn’t gone to plan, then we always say it’s about how you deal with it that is actually the most important thing.

Trish

That’s so true. It’s the after stuff that’s really important. So true. And so tell me, what’s your favourite skin concern with that has the most dynamic outcome when you’re treating it? Like, what do you love treating? Because, you know, someone it gives them a real wow factor.

James

It’s a tricky question to answer, if I’m honest, because there’s a lot. Well, it’s yes. There’s a lot, but you treat the skin in front of you, you treat the person in front of you, and they all might all have a very similar skin condition, but they certainly can’t all be treated in the same way. You can move very quickly with some people and some people you have to move much slower. Some people can invest a lot more and some people need to be much more conservative. So I have to provide a very diplomatic answer in that respect, but the big focus for us and our clients is the glow, is that fresh, bright, hydrated, makeup free skin. So a lot of people come to us for that. So we put a big focus on being able to create a treatment that can do that I’m proud to say pretty quickly and pretty easily, or it’s our signature treatment. And within that, it’s so personalised so if you were coming for a signature treatment today, the signature treatment you have next month if you were returning would be different because your skin will be different, your needs will be different so a big emphasis on that for our clients. A lot of our clients come to us because they don’t wanna go and have injectables. They don’t wanna go and have more invasive treatments. So we have to make sure that we’ve got treatments that really pack a punch in that respect, but also at the same time, there’s no point in us delivering that signature treatment if we know that that’s not gonna make that client happy at the end of the day. But just like I said before with skin care, you can start off with something like a signature treatment and you can really see a pretty quick transformation in the skin.

Trish

So tell me, so what advice would you give well, actually, first of all, what age could because I know myself and look, I’m 59 and I’ve been wearing, well, it was cleanser, toner, moisturiser, all my life from the age of twelve. Right? Because I am just that person. But how old should someone be before they start to kind of look after their skin even if that’s just cleansing or washing properly or using the right products? How old do you reckon?

James

Look, everyone’s gonna develop an interest or a passion for anything at a different time and more specifically to the skin. When they’re ready. You know, for me, my mom got me into it when I was much younger and then more so when I started working for Aesop, it’s really where my passion exploded. But I often tell people to say things to me like, oh, you know, I should’ve I should’ve come here four years ago or, you know, they’re wanting to come for a long time and I’m here now and I say, you just weren’t ready and when people come to us and they’re not ready, they fall off the wagon. They don’t return. So it’s when you start when you’re ready or when you need to. Okay, and of course, prevention is so much better than cure. So when you’re talking about sort of age management and those sorts of things, the sooner you get onto it, the better, but so many people don’t care about the skin. And I actually always find that really kind of one thing. Well well, no, I actually find it quite liberating for them because it’s one less thing for them to worry about. Yeah. And I always make sure, you know, if I’m at a party, I don’t go around preaching skin care. Yeah. If someone wants to talk to me about skin, I will talk all night long and I always love it because I don’t have much else to talk about. So I love talking about skin, but if someone doesn’t open up the door, I don’t talk about it. It’s the same thing when I go home, I don’t talk about skin. I love it, but I do know that there are much more important things out there and then skin. 

Trish

And I was talking about age because I was just thinking of my nephew. He started getting acne at 14, but he was too scared to go anywhere or whatever and thinking. So if they’re ready at that age, they can actually start and go and get their skin looked at and made better from their age.

James

Definitely. So the thing about that is and this is the same for, like, people ask me when I should start injectables? When should I start a laser? And I have this philosophy that you don’t treat age. You treat the symptom or the concern. So, you know, we have some clients that look like a thirty year old and they’re fifty. We have some clients that look like a fifty year old and they’re thirty. So everyone’s face ages or develops issues at different stages in their lives. So rather than having a face full of Botox, because you’re like, I’m planning on of course, I’ll get wrinkles. Some people don’t like it. I’m very, very lucky. I don’t have a wrinkle here and I don’t get any Botox through there. I know a lot of people are having Botox through them. They probably don’t even need it. Yeah. And when it comes to the kids, we were talking about this just last night. Yes, a lot of kids need to be on some exfoliants and some retinols and obviously good cleaning and hygiene and sun protection but they don’t do it. It’s just not a high priority, although they don’t like the look of their skin and they certainly don’t want their skin to be scarring later. So we often say come get your clients just for teen facials. We do teen facials, so we see them once a month, we clean their skin out, then they can go home, and they can kinda ravage it. Yeah. And then they come back, that’s better than nothing. You know what I mean?
And then we’ve just had the conversation with the kids too many times. Please do this. Morning and night and they just don’t do it. So you’ve got to adapt to what the kids or what the adults or anyone at any age is really doing.

Trish

That’s so true. My son’s twenty six and he’s like, I just use soap because I don’t need it, you know, but…

James

How’s his skin?

Trish 

Well, he’s actually eating really well at the moment, so he is looking really good. But he’s got these like I can see those lines happening because he’s not using anything. But anyway, that’s another story. I was gonna ask you, what advice would you give to someone who was starting out on wanting to care for their skin but easily? Because, like, I’m one of those, like, you know, my skin care regime is five different things in the morning and then four at night and, you know, look, I’m intense. What about someone who just wants something really simple that they’re gonna stick to?

James

Definitely. It’s always very, very easy for me to say this so I’m biassed because I’m a dermal clinician, but speaking to a professional about your skin and them advising you on what’s appropriate, I think is always the best because then you don’t need to so many people gone by this brand and that range and then try that product and they’re just disappointed and quite often, then they just decide off stuff that I’m not doing any skincare at all. So I always think talking to a professional to partner your skin with the right products is great. We actually have a I don’t know if I’m allowed to say this, but we have an online skincare consulting business.

Trish 

I was actually gonna say, like, it’d be really good to know where people can go.

James

So we have an online skincare consulting service called Dial-A-Dermal, where a client pays a redeemable consultation fee. We do either Zoom or FaceTime chat, they send photos. They send in all their information beforehand. We had a really good chat with them. What they’ve been doing, where they wanna take their skin and then they have access to our online store and they can shop away and we follow-up with them very much in real time. How’s it all travelling? You know, it’s one thing to sell someone’s skincare, but it’s another thing to know that it’s working so the follow-up is really important. A lot of people don’t want to do that. They don’t have access to a dermal clinician. So my advice is always start with your basics. I know they’re not very sexy, but it’s a cleanser, moisturiser, and sunscreen. And obviously, ones that are appropriate to their skin type or skin concerns and then from there, you partner your skin concerns with serums and ideally, it’s an antioxidant serum for during the day, and it’s some form of exfoliating retinol serum at night time.

Trish 

Yeah. That’s not hard and even because I always say, if you’re not gonna do anything, just use sunblock for goodness sake, especially my son.

James

Sunblock yes, but a cleanser too, you know, because you gotta wash that stuff off.

Trish 

Get that stuff off. Yeah. So tell me, can you share your personal skin care routine and the treatments that you like for yourself?

James

Of course. So I’m a big advocate of cleansing, and I do a two minute cleanse morning and night. What? Yeah. Give it a go.

Trish 

What do you usually use, fingers?

James

I do. So I’ll be honest, I didn’t know that I cleansed for two minutes. And over lockdown when our business was closed, I did a lot of work on social media every morning and every evening for a very long time. I did my routine live, and people could come and do it with me or ask me questions and people were saying, you cleanse for a very long time. And I was like, do I?
And I timed it and it was about two minutes. Now what I love about a two minute cleanse is, well, let me go back. Even the best cleanser in the world, if you’re someone that puts it on the skin for fifteen seconds, it’s not doing anything. It’s just going down the sink. No.
You need to give even the best cleanser in the world enough time to work its magic on the skin. Now by working the cleanser across your skin for two minutes, you’re stimulating circulation. You’re removing a lymphatic buildup. You’re stimulating and plumping up the tissues. You’re focusing on areas of tech skin, roughness, and concern. And the skin just looks really fabulous after you do that and it’s so receptive to everything you’re gonna put on subsequently. I’m not a fan of washcloths. I’m not a fan of cleansing brushes. I’m not a fan of those electric cleansing brushes. A good cleanser. Enough time and a pair of hands is all you need. And then from there, I mean, I’m a dental clinician. I have so much skin care. I’m obsessed so I put on my StemFactor Serum by Osmosis, which is my key anti-aging serum. I then complex a Vitamin B3, a hydrating serum and a Vitamin C serum.

Trish 

Do you use different brands in all these?

James

I do. Yes. Yes. So I cocktail all three of them in my hand. It’s just you, you haven’t met me yet. To say that every brand can be everything for everyone is just not possible and everyone’s skin is so very different and it changes from visit to visit. So we have about fifteen different brands and we cherry pick across them to create you, the skincare routine that you need today. And then when you’re when one of those products runs out, we’re gonna review that. Ideally, your skin’s always changing for the better. So you want to take every opportunity that when a serum runs out to replace it either with something that’s working extremely well or something that’s gonna work only better and then the skin can also change in the other direction. You know, we can dry out in winter time asking you to become sensitised. We get ill. We travel. We fell off the wagon. So constantly adapting your skin care to your skin’s changing needs, I think, is really important and that becomes tricky if you’re only using the one brand.

Trish 

Mhmm. That’s true. Actually, because now that I think about it, like, my skin does change, like, on a constant basis and I’m using the same stuff that I’ve used for years, but I’ve actually heard a lot of people say, you should change up every so often because your skin likes a bit of change. I don’t know if that’s true, but

James

Yeah. I struggle with that one a bit because the skin’s, you know, doesn’t have a personality. It’s not saying I’m sick of this. It’s not saying I’m bored. You change your skin care as your skin changes. That said, you can encourage change by changing up skin care. But I think a lot of people just think I’m gonna change up my skin care for the sake of it. The hardest part of this industry is finding the right skincare for you. So I always say to people, if you’re happy, don’t change a thing. But if you’re not happy, now is the time to do something.

Trish 

That makes so much sense. And tell me, so last question for today. So what do you love the most about being a dermal therapist?

James

So I, about three years ago, just before the pandemic, I got out of the treatment room. I was once upon a time, a full time dermal therapist, I had a small little team, and then we moved to a bigger premises. Remember, I told you I had an amazing facial by Maria Vovos. What was it, eleven years later, I actually bought her business. From her, which is such a lovely full circle moment so I’m able to sort of continue her legacy and we continue to stay in very close touch. So when I bought her business, it just was very obvious that if I wanted this to succeed because it was definitely getting a bigger version of becoming a bigger version of itself to get out of the treatment room. So I move from full time dermal therapist to really directing a team or leading a team. And I’ve really loved that because we’re now a team of eight dermal clinicians, dermal therapists and dermal clinicians. And I’m so proud of them and watching them work is such an honour because they’ve now sort of superseded me in terms of what I used to be able to do. There are some devices at the clinic that I wouldn’t even know how to turn on. Right? But I have to admit I was missing it and I also was feeling that I was becoming disconnected from my colleagues. You know, and when you lead a team, you really need to know what you’re talking about. So I recently got back in the treatment room about four months ago. I just see new clients only. And I missed it so much connecting with a client. You get this instant satisfaction and gratification from giving a client what they want. And I say in our business, we’re actually a customer service business first and foremost. We just happen to know a thing or two about the skin. It’s caring for the clients that we just absolutely adore and giving them an amazing experience, and then also making the skin glow too just as nice.

Trish 

I love it. I wanna come, but unfortunately, I’m in Byron Bay. So tell me so tell me, tell us where we can find you?

James

So our clinic in Melbourne is called James Vivian. We’re in Toorak. You can follow us on Instagram at @jamesvivian. I also have a skincare brand with a door beauty. It’s called Viviology, and you can buy that at Viviology. It’s a great accessible, low priced, easy to follow but effective cosmaceutical range of skin care.

Trish 

Amazing. Look, thank you so much for talking with me today. It’s been so great and so much fun.

James

Thank you. I loved it too.

Trish 

Lovely. Listen, so if you do wanna look James up. It’s jamesvivian.com.au. So check him out. Thank you so much for joining us today.

James

Thank you.

 

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