I’ve never been the girl with perfect skin. Well, let’s be real here, not even close. Similar to most, it started in my teens when puberty arrived but it hasn’t stopped since. Zits, bumps, and full blown acne have been my foes for many years now. No, it’s not a constant battle, I have had periods of time where my skin is fairly clear and my heart is rejoicing, but these are few and far between.
Most days, I’ve got at least one little (or not so little) unwelcome intruder somewhere on my face. It’s very rare for my skin to be completely smooth and clear. Sure, do I wish I woke up with a perfect complexion? Absolutely, who doesn’t!? But, if I wake up to find just one or two spots that aren’t the size of a planet, I’m over the moon. For me, that’s what a good skin day looks like. If you too have suffered from skin care woes or know someone who does, read on. I’ll tell you more about my skin care saga, demystify the experience of getting a facial and peel, and share what I have found has really improved my skin as of late.
Skin Care and Self-Love
Now for some, talking about our skin and appearance is a superficial conversation. Perhaps, but for me the issues with my skin have impacted me far beneath the surface. If you’ve had similar struggles with your skin, you understand the feeling. It’s absolutely detrimental. You may think me to be overly dramatic, but at times it has greatly impacted my daily life. I avoided meeting new people, going to events, and taking photos. I would cancel plans and cry at home because there wasn’t enough make-up in the world to cover up my beard of acne. It affected my confidence and how I looked at myself in the mirror. I felt distressed, overwhelmed and helpless. We all have the little things that we dislike about our bodies and wish we could change. My skin is my single most sensitive issue, and as such is also the reason that I have pushed myself to produce this post. It’s not easy to address this touchy topic for me, but I do so in hopes that at least one person who is struggling with their skin will be able to relate and learn from my story.
Twice in my life I have experienced genuinely horrific acne, outside of the usual expected zits. When I was in my late teens and early 20’s, my chin and cheeks were completely riddled in cystic acne and plentiful pimples (hence why I refer to it as my ‘beard’). Like every other person who has experienced this, I searched for anything and everything that would alleviate the problem. Some things worked, for a little while, or not at all. I found options through my doctor, from my friends, and of course via the internet. Recently, over the last year I experienced a resurgence of this intense acne, and after a few months plummeted back down the spiral towards self-ridicule. I slipped back into those same self-deprecating behaviours, but this time one thing did change. I realized that the one place I didn’t seek help before was from my local esthetician.
No More Solitary Suffering
When you move to a new place (I’ve lived in my town for just over a year now, head to “How Do You Handle Change?” to read more about that) you have to find all new go-to spots for services. A new doctor, dentist, hairstylist, the list goes on and on. In the process, I also searched high and low for the perfect facial as I began to realize I needed professional help with my skin, beyond the occasional appointment. After some trial and error, I felt like I struck gold when I met Jenn of Cove Esthetics.
Jenn is also new in town but arrived in Kingston with years of experience under her belt. She has more education, training and passion for her work than any esthetician I have ever met. This became apparent the moment we sat down to discuss my skin’s history and goals. You read that correctly. Jenn spent a lot of time talking to me, asking me questions and examining my face. She looked carefully at my pores and explained what she saw through her expert lens. She inspected my skin and while doing so, she sounded like a scientist, no joke. That’s because her approach is clinical and holistic, beyond eliminating imperfections or making you feel like your prettiest self. To Jenn, it’s not just about the face; it’s about the skin as the body’s largest organ and your overall health. I knew immediately that I had found more than a person who would just rub various pricy products on my face; I had found an expert skin care consultant. Jackpot!
The Pimple Plan
When we discussed my skin goals I expressed to her that I needed help addressing the never-ending parade of pimples, and I felt as though my skin was generally congested under the surface. I also drew her attention to the scarring on my cheeks, left over from my first bout of acute acne which prevents me from going make-up free most days. We quickly realized that my most significant skin goal was to be able to go ‘naked faced’ should I choose to, and feel comfortable and confident in my own bare skin. With this goal in mind, Jenn dipped into her wealth of knowledge and expertise to formulate a customized series of facials and peels just for me. She outlined a treatment plan that fit my needs, schedule and budget. This clearly wasn’t your typical trip to the spa.
During my first facial appointment with Jenn I asked a lot of questions. I asked about the products she was using, what they were for, how they work, and why she chose them for me. As Jenn addressed my queries, I began to comprehend just how much thought had gone into my treatment. She didn’t respond with the standard rhetoric you often hear in these situations, things like “oh it’s just to remove your dead skin cells”. On the contrary, Jenn is able to speak very technically about the science behind her services and her products of choice. She was happy to delve into details when I asked for them, or let me relax in silence when I chose to. This was especially easy to do as it became strikingly apparent that I was in good hands.
After one of my sessions with Jenn, I got back in my car and headed home. My windows were down as it as a beautiful summer evening and I was rocking out to a great tune that came on the radio (you all do it, admit it). At that moment, I realized just how fresh and clean my face felt as the summer breeze grazed my bare cheek. It was like my skin was taking a huge sigh of relief; I couldn’t believe how refreshing it felt. Yes I’ve had facials before, but this was different. It felt deeply penetrating and clean as can be. The next morning when I woke up and looked in the mirror, a huge smile crossed my face. I had been in to see Jenn just a few times, and yet I was starting to see major changes in my skin. The bumps that resided underneath the surface were disappearing and my existing pimples were healing faster than ever. My skin looked smooth and I was glowing! For the first time in my life, I truly felt like my skin was radiating from the inside out.
One Saturday morning a few weeks later while my husband and I were lying in bed, he turned to look at me and exclaimed that it really looked as though the scarring on my cheeks had faded. Like a bolt, I leapt out of bed and headed to the nearest mirror. To my delight, he was right! (I’m still so excited, I’m rhyming). The scars I have lived with for almost a decade had started to diminish. This has been the most significant part of the process for me, as in the past I had tried everything to fade these marks. Even on those magical clear skin days I felt more comfortable wearing make-up simply because I felt so self-conscious about my scars. Jenn’s customized series of peels were the first to impact these well-worn battle scars in a significant way. Although the word ‘peel’ scared me when she first mentioned it, her ability to explain the process put me at ease. She allowed me to familiarize myself with the products, testing them on my hands and wrists while demonstrating how they would help alleviate the problem. ‘Peel’ conjures up imagery of redness and irritation, but this was definitely not the case. I never experienced anything but beautiful results as Jenn ensured that the process was right for me and my skin, then adjusted accordingly as we progressed.
I’ve also had my new favourite face guru shape and tint my untouched eyebrows, and lift and tint my eyelashes. These are all services I have never tried before! Correct: I have never had my brows done, ever. Shocking I know, but as a fair blonde I worried this would too dramatically change my appearance (and I would hate it). I wasn’t sure what brow shape would look best, so I spent some time experimenting with make-up before anything was plucked, waxed and tinted. But, I bit the bullet and asked Jenn to help with my virgin brows for the first time ever (here’s the before & after). Now, if that doesn’t speak volumes about the trusting relationship we have developed, I don’t know what does! This is what we should all be looking for from our esthetician, an ongoing relationship that’s built on trust, not a one-time service.
The Saga Continues
As I write this post and reflect on the journey so far, I would be lying to you if I said that my skin is now perfect and I’ve ditched all of my make-up. Not quite, but I have done what I never would in the past and gone make-up free some days, which is especially easy when your brows and lashes are done perfectly too! As you can see in the photos throughout this post, my skin is definitely improving and I couldn’t be happier (these shots were taken mid-treatment). I am making a habit out of making regular appointments with my local expert esthetician, and using the products she recommends while at home.
Yep, I went from being the girl who relied on no one and tried everything on her own to getting facials, peels, lifts and tints galore! All because I have found an expert who I trust. If you live here in Kingston, Canada I wholeheartedly recommend Jenn of Cove Esthetics as I am confident that she can address whatever your beauty needs are, just as she has mine.
No matter where you live in the world, skin care issues know no boarders. Seek help from an experienced and knowledgeable esthetician who will take the time and make you feel comfortable and cared for on a continuous basis. Now that you’ve seen what goes on behind that closed door at the spa, don’t fear it! Find someone who can demystify the science behind skin care, you’re not alone.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored in collaboration with Cove Esthetics, photography by the amazing Red Lemon Art & Photography. All opinions, and comments are my own of course.
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