The history of the beauty therapy industry began as part of hairdressing and it was traditionally hairdressers who undertook the work, which was known as beauty culture work. This work initially covered areas such as facial massage, make up, manicuring and eyebrow treatments. This now represents only a small part of the work performed by beauty therapists, whose work has developed into an industry in its own right as the demand for services has grown.
Today there is a big difference in the type of services offered compared to 25 years ago. Mostly the clients were people with extremely bad acne, people with excess hair problems that needed electrolysis. They never heard of bikini wax, and most of them wouldn’t have leg waxing. There was a lot of treatment they didn’t know about. To even get to have a facial was something. Electrolysis – they would sneak in without telling anybody because as far as their friends were concerned they were hairless, nobody talked about it. Now everybody talks about everything. It has become more open and more popular.
Cosmetic surgery and small procedures have impacted beauty therapy. Once it was believed that cream could not penetrate the skin, but advances in science have pushed this barrier, with the line between cosmetics and pharmaceuticals now well blurred. Many new formulations are now capable of absorption between the lower layers of the epidermis and in some cases the bloodstream; hence the new term “cosmeceutical.”
The liaison between the beauty therapy industry and other professions such as dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons, is becoming significantly more important. A new role has emerged for paramedical aestheticians, who work side by side with doctors to offer the most elite skin care and beauty treatments.