The last decade has seen the grooming, boarding and pet retail industry well into an upward trend towards providing a better client experience and customer service in every aspect of our businesses. The grooming side of our businesses have seen a turn towards a more lush & relaxing spa atmosphere and spa type services that offer what I term, “encompassing grooming”- or added services in addition to the staple grooming for our clients. In all, these raised expectations and individual endeavors have brought with them a sense of much needed professionalism from ourselves and our business fronts like never before.
These changes have brought with them not only the chance at higher revenues, but the opportunity to reinvent ourselves and our salons and shops. Whether we are mobile, home based, strip-mall, freestanding or corporate located, the advantages that total client care brings to our table in terms of profitability, personal growth potential, and business sustainability and growth- cannot be ignored. Our businesses’ adaptability is singularly designated by us- the owners. Our potential for personal education and professional growth is just as singularly important to achieve longevity. Not to mention that overcoming individual challenges and making and meeting goals are the cornerstone of inner happiness and sense of pride.
So, with that outlook on furthering our education and professional skills as groomers, I have added many supportive services for my clients from my salon & spa; and I have had much positive response and a great sense of accomplishment from those changes. In what I feel is deeply rooted in the needs of our pet clients- to address and help care for- not just ears, nails, baths & haircuts- but the overall quality of life of our clients, and their interactive roles as part of their human families, these services came into focus. I believe many other groomers who yearn for broadening their horizons, your inner voice will not be ignored, and it can be greatly rewarded. From that need, I comprised skin & coat care services, supportive & alternative services, and networking abilities for the services that I could not provide. Thereby assuring that my business could be a greater source of the care options for my clients’ pets. Of course, grooming is always the cornerstone of my salon, and most any salon in our industry, but we can add the services I will describe in this series of articles without any substantial change to our existing business in terms of monetary investment or build out. These changes come from educating one’s self, and being open minded to the fact that we can make MORE money and groom fewer dogs, and still leave work each day less stressed, and more rewarded.
For this series of supportive care & spa type services, the first installment of these articles will cover adding sugar scrubs and will cover the what and why of offering this service.
The skin is the
largest organ of the body, and keeping it cleansed, moisturized and healthy
assures that it can perform the task it was designed to do- to protect the body
and maintain a level of defense against environmental pathogens. After all, the pets’ skin & coat are the
canvas on which we do our work, and without healthy skin & ample coat, we
cannot achieve a quality groom or style.
So, in line with keeping things simple and using the products and ingredients that have offered relief and benefits for hundreds of years , I chose to implement many herbals and whole, raw ingredients to address the pet skin & coat issues that I saw many times over in my salon.
The first simple and whole ingredient is:
Sugar is a simple, edible, crystalline carbohydrate. Sugar comes in many different forms, however, all types have a sweet flavor. The main types of sugar are sucrose, lactose and fructose. Common table sugar is typically sucrose which is extracted from cane or beets. Sugars can go through multiple refining processes, such as our white table sugar, or be kept at a more complex & whole state such as with raw and some brown sugars.
Another form of sugar is honey- one with complex additional micronutrients & minerals.
Honey is composed of sugars like glucose and fructose and minerals like magnesium, potassium, calcium, sodium chlorine, sulphur, iron and phosphate. Honey also contains vitamins B1, B2, C, B6, B5 and B3 all of which change according to the qualities of the nectar and pollen taken in by the bees in the area from which it is collected. Bees use the pollen from local plants and eventually it ends up in your honey. This is why using locally grown or harvested honey topically on skin of a dog exhibiting skin allergies can be beneficial. It can help the pet’s immune response to local or area allergens and can actually help build a better tolerance for the pet. Besides the above, copper, iodine, and zinc exist in it in small quantities. Several kinds of hormones are also present in honey.
What positive properties does honey lend to the skin?
The micronutrients in honey are water soluble. Meaning that they readily dissolve in water and can be carried by water to disperse them onto and superficially into the skin layers. Water-soluble minerals will absorb sublingually and, through cell osmosis, be transported throughout the body if the particle size of the mineral small enough. You not only get the mineral into the body (absorption), but you also accomplish cell assimilation, which is the key to fully utilizing the benefits of mineral nutrients.
Honey also has the ability to attract water- so it lends itself as a moisturizer in its most simple & pure form.
Honey is also a natural antiseptic. Medical journals cite more than 600 cases in which honey was employed to treat wounds. Honey contains antimicrobial agents, which prevents infections by killing the bacteria in and around wounds. Many types of bacteria can’t survive in honey, so wounds heal faster, swelling eases, and tissue can grow back which can be applicable with issues such as hot spots, severe eczema or atopic dermatitis.
It is important to mention that while we cannot treat the dog’s problems from within, but we can give relief and provide positive change to skin & coat within the timeframe that the dog visits us in the salon. We can also provide complimentary relief and help support turning around a pet’s quality of life from ongoing medical issues by educating the owner, networking & referring
What properties does sugar lend to the skin?
Sugars have the ability to Mechanically Exfoliate.
The most obvious benefit of using a sugar scrub comes in the form of exfoliation.
Mechanical exfoliation means how the sugar or other abrasive product or ingredient acts upon the skin surface in a direct manner resulting from coming in contact with it, hence creating a change in the skin’s layers. The granulated particles of sugar- whether coarse or finely graded in the sugar body scrub serve as tiny scrubbing beads that slough off dead surface skin cells and smooth over rough patches of skin. More coarse sugars such as raw will have a much more aggressive exfoliating ability due to their granule or crystal size. Whereas refined white sugar or fine brown sugar will have a softer exfoliating action on the skin. The sugar beads glide over the dried and dead layers of skin cells, removing them- to reveal the soft, fresh skin cells underneath.
Applying the scrub in gentle circular motions, will result in removing as much of the dead skin cells as possible while also helping to unclog skin pores. Pet skin follicles can become clogged or impacted with dirt, dead hair, saebum & waxeous oils that cause the follicle to become constricted & therefor unable to cleanse itself and maintain the healthy flora environment within & on the skin’s dermal layers. Follicular clogging also cause the skin difficulty in its hair shed & growth phases.
Follicular occlusions can result in many secondary skin symptoms such as oily or waxy coat, hot spots, acne, lackluster & patchy coat production, and also creates a breeding ground for yeasts & secondary bacteria to actively grow and create even more serious infections.
In my opinion, I have on hand both types of sugar scrubs and will use finer grades for smooth coated dogs or on skin which is tender. I will use the raw sugar scrubs on heavily coated dogs and oily/greasy dogs to get the most benefit from this sugar’s sloughing ability.
The sugar scrub we use for bathing dogs and addressing their skin issues should be applied by hand damp and freshly cleaned skin for best exfoliation results. You can also add it to your diluted shampoo mix and use it immediately to help aid in exfoliation, but remember that applying any scrub should always be done to a pet’s clean skin so as to not rub open the skin to its fresh cellular layer and then possibly introduce dirt particles in the coat to that freshly opened skin.