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How to Build a Skin Care Program for Your Triathlete Clientelem

With more than 500,000 people competing in triathlons annually (and that number continues to grow), chances are many of your clients are triathletes. Why does this matter? Endurance athletes who train intensively put their bodies and their skin through the rigors for the love of the sport, and require special diets and skin care regimens to be sure they aren’t depleting themselves.

Endurance or triathletes will naturally have more free radicals in their body – a result of their high-intense workouts and hours spent outdoors sweating and soaking in UV rays. For this reason, it’s incredibly important they nourish, replenish and protect during and between workouts. Aesthetic professionals have a unique opportunity to educate clients about caring for the skin, as they do their bodies, as well as outlining a skin care program to guide them.

The Life of an Ironman (or Woman) Athlete

This topic is actually very close to us, as our very own Frank Chiuppi here at headquarters recently competed in Ironman (we are very proud of him!). As the race neared, Frank dedicated nearly 20 hours per week to training. He would bike for two hours prior to work, come into the office and work a full day, then workout for several hours after. On weekends he said Saturdays entailed 7-hour bike rides starting at sunrise followed by a run.

For Frank, caring for his skin between workouts was essential to maintaining his skin’s health. Many studies have shown rigorous exercise like this can cause oxidative stress, as significantly higher levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) are produced. This exceeds the body’s natural antioxidant defenses and as a result the body pulls antioxidants from tissues stores, depleting the body’s reserve of antioxidants. Over time cell and tissue damage occur.

Luckily Frank knows this, product of the trade, but many athletes overlook this, thinking sun protection just during training times is enough. This is why skin care professionals have an opportunity not only to educate clients about proper skin nutrition and care, but also build a regimen of antioxidants, amino acids and essential fatty acids.

Building a Regimen Fit for an Ironman

For triathletes, they need a program that will put back into the skin as much as they may be taking out, if not more. The focus will be on infusing the skin with antioxidants, amino acids and essential fatty acids to reduce that free radical damage as much as possible.

In the treatment room, utilize ingredients like ascorbic acid, tocopherols, superoxide dismutase, goji berry, retinoids, and L-Lactic acid to name a few. For men, the RA for Men Leverage or RA for Men Gentleman's Facial are great for rejuvenation and infusing the skin with antioxidants, minerals and vitamins.

The UpLift Facial also delivers antioxidants, while exfoliating the skin and stimulating facial muscles. It also includes a soothing massage, which athletes will appreciate. With professional treatments, use caution not to peel clients who are intensively training or are close to race day. Too deep of an exfoliation will leave their skin vulnerable to the elements they encounter during outdoor training.

At home, follow a regimen of cleanse, rebuild, and protect will help keep their skin at optimal health.

  1. Cleanse daily – With strenuous workouts or excessive heat the body naturally produces sweat and oil. For men, Blue Agave will keep skin clear of impurities and allow other nutrients to penetrate. Depending on skin type, the Foaming Peptide and Citrus Gel Cleanser will provide good cleanse while delivering vital nutrients. For quick clean ups, the cleansing padsare always great to have on hand as well.
  2. Rebuild and hydrate – Antioxidants, peptides, sodium hyaluronate, and minerals, like those in the Stone Power, Complex VI, ReCharge, Amino Peptide Serum, and Growth Factor Serum Plus, to name a few will replenish depleted skin.
  3. Protect, protect, protect – Natural mineral blockers like zinc and titanium dioxide provide minerals and good protection. Look to the EnviroProtect, Daytime Defense SPF30 and eZinc Protection Cream to shield the skin from toxins and pollutants.

Starting the Conversation

How do you find out who among your clientele may be an endurance or triathletes or get the conversation going? Here are a few ideas:

  • Listen with intent – clients will often talk about their training, as these races often represent major milestones in their lives. Be attune to talk of endurance training.
  • Counter cards – create triathlon-themed counter cards or posters with proper skin care tips and product suggestions.
  • Build an Ironman program – create a series of facial treatments (incorporate massage) and home care kits specifically for endurance athletes. Depending on demand, you might consider adding this to your menu and marketing it via email, on your website and in your spa.
  • Partner up – consider partnering with a gym known for working with triathletes, a physical therapist or organizations that put on triathlons in your area.

Just be sure to start talking to clients about the importance of extra care when they are training intensively, whatever the sport may be. The goal is to get them to treat their skin like they do their bodies – training, replenishing, nourishing and allowing it to recover.

Question: Have you developed a specific program for athletes? If so, what were the results?

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