1. What inspired you to create this blog?
In the words of the great Danielle LaPorte, “What are people asking you for, right now?” I noticed that over the years as an Aesthetician and Massage Therapist, family, friends and clients would come to me with their most pressing skincare and spa questions- sometimes even complete with photos of a breakout or a rash asking “What do I do?” I found that about 70% of my job is hands-on, and the rest is all about consulting regarding the most appropriate products, treatment plan, or even just answering questions about what my favorite mascara is! (And who doesn’t love to talk about makeup?!) I felt inspired to create a space where I could answer these questions, and interview other professionals such as Dermatologists, Master Injectors, Plastic Surgeons and other licensed professionals with expertise in skin, spa and health to bring my readers the most salient and up to date information!
2. What is the most frequent question you get asked regarding skin?
It’s always, ALWAYS about anti-aging. What kind of treatments can I get to make my skin look younger and what products should I use? You might be surprised, but my very first answer is always: SUNSCREEN. 90% of superficial aging of the dermis comes from UVA and UVB exposure. 90%!!!!! We can’t control the other 10% which includes genetics, but think of how much power you have to preserve your skin! The best option for sunscreen? A mineral sunscreen in which the active ingredients are either Titanium Dioxide or Zinc Oxide, with an SPF of at least 30. The jury is still out on chemical sunscreens and whether or not they are carcinogenic, so it’s best to go with the minerals. One caveat is that if you are spending a day in the sun, you need to reapply every 2 hours. (Also- wear a hat and sit in the shade! I can’t stress this enough!)
3. What are your absolute favorite product lines?
SkinCeuticals. Hands-down. I am a results and actives kind of a gal. The products work because they are based on science, created actually at Duke University by physicians (and maybe I’m a little biased because my husband is soon to be a Cardiology Fellow there!) I also love Neocutis, another medical-grade skincare line developed by physicians. Beauty products that come in great packaging that smell nice are great, but to me, at the end of the day the evidence and science-based products are going to yield you the best results. I’m a clinician and I’m a science nerd. I am results-oriented. I like things that can be measured and proven (which is very important in the practice of medicine!) There are a LOT of products on the shelves that you can choose from. It’s my job on this blog to separate fact from fiction for you! The plural of anecdote is not data…. I’m going to give you the proven products again and again!
4. Have you ever gotten Botox or another injectable? What do you think of Botox? Is it safe?
Well, first of all, I’m kind of biased. I’m about to name-drop big time, so forgive me. A distant and removed, but still, childhood friend of mine named Brent’s dad invented Botox. (Brent is actually a physician himself now in, in Maine.) His father’s name is Dr. Gary Borodic, and he is a Surgeon in Ophthalmology at Mass Eye and Ear here in Boston. He discovered it by using an unconventional method of treating amblyopia (also known as “lazy eye”) as well as primary pain syndromes and headaches by injecting the substance into the affected facial muscles. This was in 1991 when Brent and I were in 2nd grade! Now it has been studied and tested even further for safety as well as efficacy. So, do I trust Botox? Absolutely. One of my good friends is a Board Certified Dermatologist and so I get “baby injections” with her! It’s great for prevention! I will go more in depth about Botox in a later post!
5. How often should a person receive a facial?
Once a month is ideal. Some of my clients have standing appointments every 6 weeks on the dot, some see me once per week! Within 4-6 weeks is great. If budget is a constraint, coming in once per season for a good, stimulating, active facial will benefit your skin immensely!
6. What is your skincare philosophy?
A proper, nutritious diet rich in essential vitamins and minerals and fatty acids (A paleolithic diet is ideal); appropriate water intake (you should be drinking 1/2 your body weight in ounces of H2O per day and eating at least 6 servings of water based vegetables); limiting sugar intake; limiting sun exposure and wearing effective mineral sunscreen; regular, monthly facials with intermittent peels; and using products that are appropriate for your skin type (preferably recommended by a professional and not purchased with an unlicensed vendor)
7. You said your husband is about to do a Fellowship? So he is a Dr? Have you ever thought about becoming a Dr. or an RN? We’ve heard that your nickname from some of your clients and colleagues is “Doc”!
He is- he is training to be a Cardiologist. (I tried to convince him to go into Plastics but no such luck!!!) I have absolutely thought of becoming an MD, and I’ve thought about becoming a PA-C instead as the schooling is much shorter. But right now, my husband is very busy and my girls are very young. I am extremely focused on my family and I believe they deserve all of my time and attention when I am not at work seeing my clients! So, possibly someday I will go back to school but for now I am focused on my role as a Medical Aesthetician and raising my family.
8. What is your favorite facial treatment modality? What is your favorite type of facial?
Oh God… what a tough question. This is sort of like asking me which of my children is my favorite! I’ll start with traditional European aesthetics- I love to give a nice, long facial with steam, an effective enzyme exfoliant and lots of massage! For medical aesthetics Dermaplaning is by far my most favorite treatment and even better if it is combined with a peel! I’ve worked with the Clear and Brilliant laser which is essentially a baby Fraxel laser-it performs Collagen Induction therapy similarly to MicroNeedling but without the needles and the superficial puncturing of the skin! I’m a huge fan of peels- AHA and BHA in particular. Like I said… I really can’t narrow it down to one favorite! I love it all!
9. You became a Massage Therapist before you became an Aesthetician. Can you tell us how this has influenced the way you treat the skin?
Studying Massage Therapy was such a blessing- I truly believe that the field chose me. When I enrolled in school, I was a recent graduate of The Boston Conservatory with my Bachelor’s Degree in Vocal Performance. Receiving massage impacted my singing in such a positive way (and also what Diva is complete without her trunk full of stage makeup?!) I enrolled in school because my husband came home one day and told me he wanted to become a Physician (he also has his Bachelor’s from Berklee College of Music). I strategically chose a career in which I could go to a cost-effective training program, complete it in under a year and be up and running with 3 years experience before he entered Medical School as a way to support us. I knew that my time to further my education as a PA would come later, and I took the time of his Med School and Residency to work and to have our children. Studying Massage Therapy has been my gateway to the healthcare field, as well as an incredibly rewarding career! As a Massage Therapist I have a more global understanding of all systems of the body- and in doing body treatments such as scrubs and wraps I am treating the largest organ of the body- the skin! This has enhanced my practice as an Aesthetician because my massage techniques are more detailed and specific, and I have a deeper understanding of different pathologies and how they can affect the skin. Before I became an Aesthetician I had performed 6,000 massages! That’s an education in itself- just working on people one on one. I will never forget one of my teacher’s sayings, “The body speaks to those who listen.” This has been particularly helpful to me when someone has a recurrent skin condition such as a rash in one specific region of the face- I go into detective mode just like in massage therapy and I think about what my client does on a daily basis to see if I can re-trace her steps and find the root cause of the problem. (And I’ll give you a hint! A lot of people get breakouts from either leave-in conditioners or oils they put in their hair or hand cream at night because they sleep on their hands!)
10. Wow… Well now we have to ask… what IS your favorite mascara?
Hypnose Drama from Lancome. And sometimes Diorshow. 😉