The photo of my face accompanying this article generated riotous laughter from some of my Georgia Straight colleagues.
One of my coworkers recommended that it go on the cover for a Halloween issue. Another wondered if I need a Botox treatment.
Hey, it's not that bad—and later in this article, you'll discover why.
The image was taken with a new BS-3500 facial skin scanner and analyzer system at Finlandia Pharmacy & Natural Health Centre (1111 West Broadway). All I had to do was put my head on a chin rest and close my eyes. A Canon camera inside the machine took images under standard white light, polarized light, and ultraviolet light.
Finlandia’s operations and purchasing manager, Markus Guggenberger, explained that the BS-3500 enables consumers to learn how their skin can improve over time. That’s because the system offers precise measurements of moisture levels, pore sizes, wrinkles, skin roughness, spots, sensitivity, and acne.
“We save your scores,” Guggenberger said. “You can come back next time and everything will be graphed. We’ll see exactly where you were and where you are after.”
Within a few minutes of the images being taken, a software program attached to the system provides data in the form of percentages. Based on this, Finlandia’s health and beauty specialist, Tanja Salewski, will recommend products designed to address problematic areas identified by this system.
Guggenberger said that this service is being offered free of charge until the end of October.
Salewski plots the results on a chart coloured in green, yellow, and red, similar to the colours on a traffic light. When I had my skin tested, the results weren’t nearly as dreadful as my colleagues suspected.
Green ratings are “absolutely normal”, according to Salewski, and I achieved these results for my pores, roughness, skin sensitivity, and acne levels. The skin sensitivity had the lowest rating at 13.24 percent, with pores coming second at 20 percent.
My skin registered in the yellow zone for wrinkles, moisture, and ultraviolet and other spots. The worst rating was for UV spots, at 65 percent. Finlandia’s written material states that UV spots “occur when melanin coagulates below the skin surface as a result of skin damage”.
“It’s in the normal range,” Salewski advised. “You have nothing in the red here.”
After completing the analysis, she suggested I use sunscreen to prevent the spots from getting worse and perhaps a serum to enhance skin renewal.
Salewksi has been involved in skin care for 25 years, including 15 years working for a large cosmetics company in Germany. During her career, she has learned a great deal about the harmful effects of chemicals—knowledge that she’s happy to pass along to visitors to the store.
“Most customers are not even aware of what they’ve put on their skin,” she said. “For myself, I want healthy choices. I want to keep my family healthy by not putting ingredients on the skin that could potentially be harmful.”
Salewski emphasized that she’s not a dermatologist, so if she sees any inflammation of the skin or other medical issues, the person will be referred to a doctor.