Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to Dru Pattan. We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.
Alright, Dru thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. Is your team able to work remotely? If so, how have you made it work? What, if any, have been the pitfalls? What have been the non-obvious benefits?
Estheticians and other skincare professionals have traditionally been tied exclusively to in person treatments of the skin. In fact, when I began taking a remote approach with clients pre pandemic, it resulted in quite a bit of side eye and backlash within the industry. It wasn’t something in-person estheticians could wrap their heads around for the most part, but I noticed a need in the industry, an entire demographic of people whose needs simply weren’t being met. You had those who were told they were doing it right and “cared” about their skin, going in to see professionals and you had the people who simply “must not care” about their skin staying home and using over the counter skincare – there really was no in between. As a new mom myself back in 2015, I quickly went from the first person to the latter, and through new developing relationships with other new moms I recognized that there were people who wanted to take care of their skin without getting overly involved. Whether they didn’t have the time, the finances or the motivation, they weren’t making it into a treatment room. And more important, a good deal of them, at least where the new moms were concerned, had completely changed skin they were unfamiliar with and had no clue where to start.
I set out to bridge this gap and come April of 2020, the idea of simply helping some people remotely turned into a full blown business without any pushback. I was able to develop a business model where I intensively support clients by monitoring their skin closely and effecting change over an extended period of time rather than in the quick course of an hour. This approach has actually yielded better and most importantly more sustainable results so that now when I actually do see a client in person we are able to focus more on minor issues like aging rather than combatting issues of sensitivities, acne or rosacea – all of which we primarily tackle remotely. This approach has been so successful that I have begun to also mentor estheticians who wish to take a more hands off approach with their clients and support them outside of the treatment room.
Great, appreciate you sharing that with us. Before we ask you to share more of your insights, can you take a moment to introduce yourself and how you got to where you are today to our readers
I am a licensed esthetician and while my main specialty is acne, I help support clients suffering from a wide range of skin issues from Rosacea to severe sensitivities. I was never drawn to the beauty industry but in my 20s I found myself where most of my clients do – dealing with sudden and severe acne which seemingly showed up out of nowhere. Determined to clear my own skin and witnessing first hand how many inconsistencies there are in the industry and just how much misinformation is spread, I took the leap into becoming an esthetician. A journey which oddly enough made things considerably worse. It took me several years to even begin clearing my acne and to weed through the abundance of treatments, protocols, products and experts out there.
I now offer my clients what was missing on my own journey and struggle with my skin – support and education. I do not believe we can fix what we do not understand so I attempt to help my clients understand what they are dealing with and the many variables with affect it. I have an education and support based skincare group on Facebook called Skin & Bare It where clients are able to turn to for support and advice from the community I’ve built. I also offer inexpensive remote consultations to help start clients on their skincare journey and follow it up with unlimited support as we tailor that journey to their individual and highly specific needs. Basically we monitor the skin to see what it needs and don’t just make recommendations based upon an algorithm or a product’s suggested functionality.
What do you think helped you build your reputation within your market?
Honestly, it’s taken me a bit to get use to the idea that I even have a reputation. Skincare is such a passion of mine and the more I learn the more I am able to help. I never stop learning and as much as I enjoy helping people with their skin, I also enjoy helping estheticians in this complex and oftentimes confusing industry. I have always been happy to share what I learn and the education aspect of it all has made more of an impact than I ever expected it to. I have been told before to not educate clients, it’ll just confuse them, but I have seen the exact opposite as I continue to empower both client and professionals alike.
We often hear about learning lessons – but just as important is unlearning lessons. Have you ever had to unlearn a lesson?
This tends to anger a good deal of people within the industry but I had to unlearn almost every single thing I knew about acne – and most of what is regularly taught about skincare to become the esthetician I am today. Often whether it is at a consumer or professional level people seek to over-simplify the skin, equating it to no more difficult to care for than a common houseplant. It’s much easier than the alternative of diving into the complexities of the body’s largest organ, but the reality is that doing so is often at the expense of those struggling with uncomfortable skin issues – or developing them as a result.
Acne in particular is a really difficult and multifaceted condition with a lot to take into consideration. We are often taught things like “it’s bacteria” or that it “requires exfoliation and chemical peels.” Aggressive use of benzoyl peroxide or antibiotics are often quickly utilized without consideration for other factors which could all easily manage the acne in a healthier manner. In fact, benzoyl peroxide is inflammatory and acne is an inflammatory condition. It is one of the treatments I see trade in today’s problems for tomorrow’s regularly, with unhealthy skin, dehydration, impaired skin barrier function, arrested skin and ultimately a severe purging of underlying acne as we correct the overall health of the skin down the road. I don’t offer peels in my practice, and on rare occasions will have my clients use an infrequent gentle alpha hydroxy acid at home but only when supported by strong hydration and bioidentical lipid based support. The widely promoted approach of beating the skin into submission rather than working with it to understand its needs is something which I am really hoping to see changed in the years to come.