It's not commonplace for clients to readily admit some of the horrible and unsafe things that they do to their skin. But when they do — or when you have a suspicion that they do — it's important to encourage clear and honest communication about it.

After all, if we do not have a complete understanding of our spa and medical spa clients' habits and lifestyle choices, then we cannot recommend and perform safe treatments.

They pick at their skin regularly.

This bad habit is a pretty obvious one to spot. Though we can't blame a client who occasionally pops a mature whitehead after a hot shower, we can see the damage that can be caused by chronic, unclean, at-home extractions of the skin.

Sadly, some clients are utterly obsessed with squeezing, popping, scraping and scratching at any bump that appears on their skin. Many even use magnified mirrors fanatically to peer and excavate on a nightly basis with dirty fingernails, cotton swabs or metal extractor tools.

On the flip side, some clients pick at their skin more passively — zoned out watching TV on the couch or when they are reading or studying. Either way, it's important to call out these habits during your skin consultations.

When you see a client consistently showing up at your spa or medical spa with scabs, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and scarring, then it's time to have a serious chat.

They sleep without washing their face.

This skin care sin is a bit harder to spot, but very common. Clients hate to admit it, but they often go to bed without cleansing their skin. Sometimes they will come right out and tell you, and sometimes they will lie about it when you ask.

Some of the tell-tale signs of skin that is being compromised by inconsistent nightly washing are: clogged pores that rarely improve, chronic pustules and inflammation, makeup and foundation products that seem to have settled deep into the skin, and puffiness (especially in the eye area).

The irony is that these clients — the non-washers — may be your most demanding clients. Maybe they know that they aren't doing their part at home to clean their skin, so they will most likely demand the most aggressive forms of exfoliation and the most thorough extractions.

Be sure to counsel these clients about the necessity of thorough, nightly cleansing. It's important, as we know, to come in for facials once a month to maintain the skin, but the other 29 days of the month are even more important. Not to mention, at-home extractions are usually unhygienic and cause injury to the skin.

They abuse skin care products.

It's no surprise that clients are frequently heading to the internet to purchase skin care products and skipping spas and retail centers. In many ways, it seems like Amazon has become our clients’ personal shopping tool for cosmetics, skin care, toiletries and hair care, just to name a few.

However, two distinct problems arise from this phenomenon: clients are not sticking to professional skin care regimens by buying and trying new products constantly and clients are procuring professional grade acid peels and other harsh chemicals to use unsupervised at home.

I often find that when I ask clients about their home care products and they are using so many things that they can't even keep track, then it's time to streamline their routine and cut out the product experiments going on at home.

Remind them that an esthetician, doctor, or other trained skin care professional should be the one making product recommendations for them. Moreover, as we know, the life cycle of a skin cell is about 30-40 days for most adults, and products should be used properly for at least four to six months to determine efficacy.

In essence, we need to advise them that though it may be enticing to fill their virtual shopping cart with the latest, trending serum it's not advisable to make sudden detours from their professional skin care programs.

The other threat that the online shopping poses is that clients have access to many professional and medical grade products that can be dangerous and cause skin injuries. Some clients have proudly admitted to me in the treatment room that they perform their own chemical peels at home with a "bottle of acid that I bought on Amazon."

Others say that they buy prescription retinoids and lash growing products online, too. This is a problem, to say the least.

Not only are online sales of prescription and medical-grade products untrustworthy, they are also dangerous because they are in use by untrained consumers. If you become aware that your client is seeking out and purchasing professional and prescription-grade products online, then warn them of the risks so that they think twice in the future.

We have state and federal regulations that monitor and control the dispensing of these types of products for our safety and protection.

Clients go to multiple medical spas for procedures.

The other skin care sin that clients will normally hide is that they are shopping around for spa and medical spa services at other establishments. This isn't a big deal if the client wants to check out other basic facials, massages or a new eyebrow waxing technician.

We need to be concerned, however, when they are going to multiple places for aggressive and invasive procedures and hiding it. Laser resurfacing, injectables and chemical exfoliation treatments need to be closely monitored and performed with discretion.

Some clients, unfortunately, are not always satisfied with a professional and conservative plan and will "double dip" at other spas. When clients obtain treatments too soon or too close together there can be dire consequences, including infections, scabbing, vascular damage, muscle paralysis, skin injury, hyperpigmentation, and more.

Use your trained eye and instincts to ascertain if your clients may be going to multiple spa facilities for their treatments and have a frank conversation about the possible risks. And if you feel that this behavior will not cease, then it may be time to part ways with that client.

There is a fine line between a curious client and one that becomes a liability — train yourself and your staff to know the difference.

Follow my expert advice and keep your eyes open for skin care sins that your clients may be committing. It's our job as spa practitioners to advise them on safe practices, and even protect them from their own bad habits!