Pampering the Way to Healthy, Glowing Skin
Day spas and skin care sources in the Sandhills
By Lesley Berkshire Bradley
Skin care is a big business. Over $135 billion worth of products and services. That means a lot of choices. And lots of choices lead to lots of confusion.
Going to a local drug store or even a large makeup specialty store and trying to find the ‘right’ skin care products can be overwhelming. Googling ‘skin care’ creates more questions than answers.
So how do you find out the best way to care for your skin? A good place to start is a consultation with a licensed aesthetician. They have been trained to evaluate your skin’s specific needs and to develop a skin care program designed for you. Aestheticians are trained in the science of skin care and understand how and when to use specific skin care products and services.
Fortunately, the Sandhills has excellent aestheticians that can answer your questions.
“An aesthetician is a life coach for your skin”, explains Nicole Murray, owner of Venus Spa and Salon, “We guide our clients and take the guess work out of the process.”
“Clients come to us when they see early signs of aging and want to get ahead of it,” adds Deidra Wells, Spa Lead and Aesthetician at Karma Spa and Beauty Bar.
Usually a consultation will start with cleansing and evaluating your skin as well as a discussion about what areas you might want to improve.
“I like to know what products the client is already using, what steps the client takes in their current skin care process, if they have any allergies and how educated they are about skin care,” says Wells.
Then an aesthetician will suggest a plan targeted at your personal skin needs.
“Skin Care is not a one size fits all. Everyone’s skin is different and your skin changes overtime. Even over a short period of time. The weather, stress, hormones, illness, all impact your skin”, says Michelle Yow-Shaw, owner of Donna Lane Day Spa.
Aging and maturing skin often has sunspots, fine lines, uneven texture, redness and dullness. And may have lost some of its youthful plumpness.
“Healthy skin should be glowing, hydrated, clear and have a nice bright texture” explains Holly Orth, aesthetician at Mercier Skin Care and Aesthetics of Southern Pines.
Day-to-day skin care is crucial to achieve healthy skin. Like exercise, a work out with a trainer must be followed up with individual work.
“I tell my clients that skin care starts with what you do at home. Your morning affirmations, staying hydrated, exercising and eating healthy foods,” says Wells.
Orth agrees, “Your skin is what you eat, as well. Eating too much sugar will age your skin just as the sun will.”
Heather Schille, Operations Manager at The Spa at Pinehurst, further explained that sugars reduce collagen and make you age faster.
And it is never too late to start a serious skin care effort.
“I have clients who come to me in their 70’s and we are still able to make improvements to their skin health,”
At-home skin care regimens have four basic steps: Cleansing, exfoliating, hydrating and sun protection. The products you use will differ based on your skin type, but you do not need 20 different bottles of product. In fact, using fewer products, but the right products for your skin, typically work best and makes it much easier to stick with a skin care regimen.
“Simplifying skin care is very helpful.” notes Orth, “Using too many products and too many steps are two of the biggest mistakes women make with their skin care. And by simplifying and using the optimal products, you will find that you actually save money.”
Schille agrees, “Making your skin care process minimal and easy to understand is crucial. As a first step, get a good cleanser. And remove your make-up every night.”
And your skin care regimen will change with the seasons, as the air becomes drier in the winter or more humid in the heat of the summer. And your routine will change if you travel to other parts of the country or world.
“Many of my military clients actually have deployment skin care kits,” notes Wells.
Getting a facial is a simple and affordable way to kick-off a new skin care regimen.
“A facial is a great starting point, then you can learn to maintain your skin. A large part of an aesthetician’s role is education,” adds Yow-Shaw.
Before a facial, an aesthetician will evaluate your skin and determine the best facial for your skin’s needs. A customized facial will cleanse, exfoliate, massage and hydrate the skin, leaving the skin glowing. A top-end hydrating facial penetrates deeper into the skin providing nourishment and even plumping the skin.
Plus, a facial is very relaxing.
“Women like to multi-task. With a facial they get skin care education, a skin care treatment, a skin care plan and they get to relax at the same time,” Wells adds with a smile.
Facials are often perceived as a luxury, but they can make an important difference in the skin’s appearance as part of a skin care regimen.
“After a facial, clients see a difference,” adds Orth, “Having a facial tailored to your skin type every two months will help keep that healthy bright skin.”
A misconception is that using skin care products and services once or twice will show immediate results. But, like an exercise program, results take time and compliance is key…and so is patience.
“Skin care is like working out, and the aesthetician is the personal trainer for your skin,” adds Yow-Shaw.
We need to give skin care products a good month to show improvements since our skin cells turn over about every 28 days.
Some of us reach for foundation or concealer to hide the signs of aging skin. But proper skin care can actually reduce the need for more make up.
“Our goal is to keep the skin fresh, and to avoid the need to camouflage the skin. As we get older and slow down, our skin slows down too; it does not turn over as quickly as it used to. So, we need to focus on helping it keep fresh by exfoliating and using products that reach the dermis, such as Retin-A,” explains Yow-Shaw.
Aestheticians unanimously agree that not using sunscreen or products containing SPF is one of the biggest mistakes people make with their skincare. Sunscreen should be used every day even if you are working inside.
“Women often assume that their make-up alone acts to reduce sun damage, but it does not,” says Orth.
There really is no excuse not to be wearing sunscreen. You can purchase sunscreen just for the face, or moisturizers with sunscreen, or foundation with sunscreen, and even tinted sunscreen that replaces the need for foundation.
Your choice of make-up also impacts your skin health. Mineral based make-up is considered to be kindest to your skin, using natural ingredients and avoiding parabens, talc and synthetic fragrances. Some aestheticians even sell make-up. If they do not sell make-up, they can suggest brands of make-up that would be best for your skin. And aestheticians agree that you should purge your make-up every year to ensure you are not spreading bacteria on your skin.
Beyond facials, other aesthetic services for skin care are offered at spas affiliated with a physician, often called a med spa. The goal of many services is to further penetrate the skin by using light, heat, enzymes and chemicals. Often these more advanced services can help treat conditions like acne scarring, fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation.
Full Chemical and enzyme peels help to smooth and resurface the skin. Micro-needling treatments cause irritation to the skin in order to stimulate collagen production and make skin look fuller and more vibrant. Dermaplaning is a simple treatment that removes the outermost layer of dead skin along with the vellus hair we call ‘peach fuzz’, giving the face a smoother appearance.
LED light treatments stimulate collagen production which helps skin to look younger and even helps treat mild to moderate acne.
By going past the epidermis and penetrating deeper into the dermis, more aggressive laser and Intense Pulse Light treatments (IPL) can address hyperpigmentation such as aging and sunspots, as well as rosacea, skin texture, and spider veins. On the farther end of the skin care treatments, some med spas, where a physician is affiliated, offer injectables that can almost make it appear as though you had a facelift. Injectable services such as fillers and volumizers are conservative options to more invasive surgical procedures.
“There are many devices and products available, so it takes a great deal of effort and expertise to know what works best for our clients”, remarks Yow-Shaw.
And skin care is not just limited to the face. The neck and chest…or décolleté...should be cared for in the same way. Even our hands need focus.
“Anything that you use in your face can be used in your hands to help even pigmentation and improve vibrancy,” states Orth.
“In fact, the whole body can be treated with a full body exfoliating treatment,” adds Angela Robb, owner of Karma Spa and Beauty Bar, “We use a sugar-based scrub, a body treatment mask and heat followed by a relaxing shower.”
An aesthetician can guide you through the confusing world of skin care and help you create a manageable, affordable and effective skin care program that makes your skin look healthier,
and ….hopefully… younger.
“Aging gracefully is simply looking for a softer appearance with healthy, glowing skin. It is not about changing your appearance,” sums up Murray.
The goal is simple… “Put your best face forward”…as they say at Venus Spa and Salon.
For information, appointments and gift certificates:
Donna Lane Day Spa:
170 N. Bennett St., Southern Pines
Karma Spa and Beauty Bar:
115 Turner St., Southern Pines
Mercier Skin Care and Aesthetics of Southern Pines:
630 S. Bennett St., Southern Pines
The Spa at Pinehurst:
180 Barrett Rd East, Pinehurst
Venus Spa and Salon:
venusspaandsalonnc.com, 910-695-1313 210 S. Bennett St., Southern Pines