Yes, I mean exactly what it sounds like. Today I want to talk about what I’ve had “done” as an esthetician as well as what I haven’t and why. People ask me this all the time because they want to know if I have a big secret to my skin’s success. I’ve been taking care of my skin for a long time and given the perks of being in the industry I’ve been able to try a lot of things. There are things I also haven’t tried but performed on others. It’s sort of a mixed bag but I’m very excited to share this once and for all.
So let’s start with what I’ve had done:
Chemical Peels; My first peel was when I was 18 and in beauty school. One of my instructors worked for a dermatologist and she asked for a volunteer to demonstrate the peel. It was what I expected, a little tingly but tolerable. She had a glycolic peel on me for about 2 minutes before neutralizing it with a mix of water and baking soda. A couple of weeks later I had to take a new driver’s license photo and my skin never looked better. I’ve never done a major peel on myself (like where I have to go into major hidden for a few weeks), but I’ve done glycolic, salicylic, lactic, and Jessner peels. I also have done peels that are plant-based high in coral content which is rich in vitamin A. Peels work well for my skin type because I am a super oily skin type with the previous scarring from my acne as a teenager (I was a picker!). I am also classified as a 1/2 on the Fitzpatrick scale which measures how your skin does well with sun and heat. Being on the pale side actually is more ideal for peels because I’m less likely to pigment if I watch my heat and sun. I typically burn pretty quickly from the excess sun so I am great with sun care where I either avoid the excess sun or am completely covered. The set back from the peels I have done is that it increased my sensitivity to heat where if I work out really hard and get super hot, you can actually see where I’ve had peels done in the past. It’s been about 3 years since my last peel and I find that I keep up with my skin with watching the homeostasis of my system by cooling myself off with alkaline foods and lots of water. If I get too heated that puts me at risk for hyperpigmentation.
Dermaplaning; If you don’t know what dermaplaning it’s one of my favorite forms of exfoliation because it’s a physical form of removing build up on the skin and the little vellus hairs that can contribute to follicle clogging. I remember the first time I had it done 4 years ago my face felt so exposed and wasn’t sure if it was a good fit for me. I did it another time a few months later and noticed that my skin started breaking out way less. Since I’m so sebaceous I end up getting lots of little follicle clogs where the hair and sebum in my pores get stuck together and an infection can occur. Dermaplaning is great to just remove the build-up without compromising my barrier too much or messing with my natural PH. It’s definitely not for everyone but is a safe way to just get a glow without damaging the integrity of your barrier. I don’t recommend this on a client with active breakouts or infections as it can compromise your healing time. It’s also important to remember that the hair and skin do all come back but, unless you have a hormonal imbalance, nothing should grow back darker, thicker, or much different. So if your hormones are a bit out of whack, to begin with, keep that in mind before committing to this treatment. It’s also important to remember that you must avoid excess actives on your skin afterward because your skin is a little more exposed than usual. Try to calm and soothe your skin as your products will permeate much more now that you don’t have excess build up. Choose what you feed your skin mindfully here! I go for the simple oil-rich treatments like Marie Veronique’s barrier restore or Pai’s Rosehip oil. Again, dermaplaning is definitely not for everyone and if you feel at all resistant to trying this type of exfoliation, listen to your gut but in my experience, it’s all in the technician.
Lasers; I have had really simple lasers done in the past that range from laser hair removal to skin rejuvenation. Honestly, I loved getting these done but the results vary for everyone. Especially if you don’t follow post care instructions. With laser hair removal I ended up getting a huge reaction to because I was living in Austin (so hot and sunny!) at the time which has left me with a giant hyperpigmentation mark. It’s fascinating to get lasers done because of you essentially it’s a self-inflicted wound to the skin in order to create a healing response. This is done through heat and light pulses so the heat will burn your vellus hairs a little bit which sort of stink up the room. You also are incredibly photosensitized so there is no option to go out into the sun after any type of laser. I haven’t had a laser done in years and my skin is still sensitive to the sun so I have to wear zinc oxide and a hat. If I don’t my face stays red and I react in a rash. Just like peels, I am a good candidate for this type of resurfacing because I am a low Fitzpatrick. Different ethnicities react differently and since we’re all such a mix nowadays it’s best to consult with a nurse prior to making an investment in this type of treatment.
Prescription topicals; Where do I start here??? As a teen, I was on Tazorac and Retin-A. Both didn’t do much for me other than compromise my barrier tremendously. I was so sensitized because I overused the product. These types of prescription topicals tend to work really quickly on the skin and often types leave the skin feeling flaky and scaly to the touch. You also can’t get anything done such as waxing or a facial without having to back off of these treatments for at least 2 weeks. The skin thins so much that with the wrong protocol, your skin could actually lift and tear. It’s scary and unnecessary. These actives also travel on the skin so if you use it on your cheek it can travel as close to your eye! Be very, very careful and try not to commit to these products long term as your skin can start to develop a dependency.
What I haven’t had done…
Microneedling; Even though I’m trained in this type of procedure I have never had it done myself. The reason being is that I never had enough time off for the recovery time. You sincerely look like you’ve been needled all over your face. It’s a bit alarming and I would not recommend if you have kids that will be seeing you, it could traumatize them (seriously). Similar to lasers you essentially create a controlled wound with the skin in order to create a self-healing response that creates new collagen. That new collagen smoothes out wrinkles, enlarged pores, and can even soften the look of scars. It’s ideal for someone with pitted scars from severe acne. The differences with this and lasers are that the needles inject a solution into the skin to promote that effect. The solutions range from a high-quality hyaluronic acid to your own platelets separated from your blood which is rich in your own stem cells. This is a really intense treatment that often times requires multiple treatments. In my opinion, I can resurface my skin enough with gentle exfoliations done more often. Avoiding inflammatory foods like sugars that cause glycation in the skin, to begin with, can keep you from needing such an invasive service. The only people I talk to about it are those who have intense scarring.
Injections; People seem to be fascinated with my stance on injections but at the end of the day, regardless of how much training I have had on them, I’ve never had them done. I don’t really believe that they are necessary at the end of the day. It’s great to be able to have a full and flawless complexion but most of the time those fine lines or sallowness in the skin are indicators of a greater need. For instance, my forehead communicates my digestive needs and if I take that communication away I could be missing some important signals. My fat pads on my face are also dropping due to gravity as our bone structure degrades. If we implement natural calcium-rich foods in our diets we maintain a lot of the integrity of our skin. If you’ve lost a ton of weight, it could also make you look a little saggiest but that’s simply because the excess fat is gone. Supportive and lifting techniques such as gua sha and microcurrent are great alternatives before considering injections.
What I’ve done instead…