Face Skin Scanner
I went to a spa conference last year – International Esthetics, Cosmetics and Spa Conference in Las Vegas – and was all excited when one of the booths had a Skin Scanner (sometimes called a Wood’s Lamp or Wood’s Light). You stick your face in the Skin Scanner machine and it will reveal what your skin looks like in the deeper layers, thus revealing sun damage, dry areas, and clogged pores. When I stuck my head in the machine, I realized it was just a glorified blacklight in a box. There’s also a mirror in the box so that you can see yourself, and your esthetician can see your face by looking through the back side of the box. I’ve seen other, more “sophisticated” Skin Scanners, but most are simply boxes with a blacklight.
For some reason I’ve always loved blacklights, so I’ve been holding them up to my face for years, just to see how freaky I look under them. And I had always noticed sooo many freckles – thousands of freckles all over my face – aka sun damage:( Even though I don’t have that many visible freckles, they are all there, since I spent so much time in the sun (without sunscreen) when I was a kid growing up in Hawaii. I remember seeing an article about Wood’s Lamps in a beauty magazine, and there was a picture of Kate Moss, photographed under a blacklight. I felt better, since Kate is just as freckly as me! If you want to see what lies beneath the surface, and you don’t have access to a Skin Scanner at a Medical Spa, just buy a purple blacklight. Take off all your makeup and sunscreen, turn out the lights, hold it close to your face, take a deep breath, and look at your face. Here’s a quick guide to what you might see:
Dark purple spots all over your face – this is pigmentation or sun damage. It may or may not manifest itself later in your life as freckles or age spots
White dots – dry areas of surface skin, or possibly just tiny pieces of dust/lint that you can swipe away
Orange dots – oily, congested pores or blackheads
Light purple skin – healthy skin
Blueish/purple areas – dehydration
Large areas of dark purple – if you wear sunscreen or high coverage makeup, it will look like a mask of dark purple
At the Medical Spa I worked at, we also had a Skin Scanner, so I would try out various different sunscreens and then stick my face in the scanner to see how well the sunscreen masked my sun damage/freckles. It’s amazing how some sunscreens really don’t do give you much sun protection at all. I will make separate posts about how you can “repair” your skin after you view your problem areas under a blacklight or Skin Scanner.