I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all had our own skin issues at one time or another. I want to start off by saying that I am in no way a skin or beauty expert. The purpose of this post is simply to discuss my personal journey with my skin. It is important to know your own skin or work with a professional who can help. Over the years, I have worked extensively with a dermatologist and an esthetician to get to where I am now. Today I am sharing why I strongly believe you should start investing in your skin if you haven’t already.
In September of 2016, I shared about my struggles with my skin throughout my life, and how they significantly worsened that summer. I had some serious issues related to an allergic reaction that have since resolved. If you are curious, head to my original article to learn more about what I experienced. After I shared that post, I heard from tons of friends and followers who had suffered from similar issues. So many people reached out just to thank me for sharing my story. I hope it helps others who are struggling with self-esteem due to their skin and encourages them to find answers of their own.
Many of the photos from my original post are disturbing and difficult for me to share. However, I think it’s important to be vulnerable about things like this to show others that they are not alone. See the photos below to get an idea of what my face looked like during the summer of 2016.
At the risk of repeating myself, I’m going to discuss what happened around that time again. I’ll try to keep it short for those of you who have read my original post.
THE WORST MY SKIN HAD EVER BEEN
I have struggled with acne since elementary school. I started going to the dermatologist long before any of my friends did. Throughout my teenage years, I tried every cream, face wash and pill under the sun to try and treat it. In college I started getting dry, itchy spots on my hands and legs, which my dermatologist later diagnosed as eczema. He prescribed me steroid creams to help with that as well.
During the summer of 2016, I started having completely new skin issues. I began getting severe breakouts on my face, but these weren’t just acne. They looked more like rashes and burns. They were unattractive and painful, and I shed a lot of tears as a result. Whenever I had flare-ups, I didn’t want to leave the house. I had no idea what was causing these issues, which was the most frustrating part; I just knew that I couldn’t deal with it anymore.
Finally, after months of suffering, I decided to have my dermatologist perform an allergy test. For anyone wondering, we did a patch test on my back; there were no needles. After a couple of days, we were able to identify what was causing all of these problems. I was allergic to a preservative called methylchloroisothiazolanone. Say that five times fast.
My dermatologist told me that this chemical is in just about everything, and he wasn’t kidding. I came home to find that it was in several of the products that I used on a daily basis. This included my shampoo, conditioner, hand soap, face wash, body wash, detergent and dish soap. I immediately threw them in the trash and got all new products that were safe for me. Ever since then I’ve had to religiously inspect every ingredient label before purchasing any type of soap or cosmetic product.
Once I eliminated this preservative from my life, the burns eventually stopped coming back. It took about six weeks for it to finally get out of my system. Ever since it did, it has been a night and day difference. Once those issues resolved, I could finally focus on getting my skin to where I wanted it to be. I wanted to improve my skin not only for my wedding, but to feel confident in my everyday life. That is something that I had never experienced before. I wanted to be as acne-free as possible, as well as reduce scarring from my skin issues in the past.
Life After my Skin allergy
I was scared to try just about everything when it came time to get new products. Can you blame me? I experimented with a few brands over the first few months to ease myself back into a routine. To be honest, I started out with cheap, drugstore products. This is mostly because I was afraid to invest in expensive products that I wasn’t sure I would respond well to.
Throughout my engagement, my goal was to repair my skin so I could feel confident on our wedding day. I spent many hours at the dermatologist throughout my life, but I had never treated myself to a facial or anything like that before. My Maid of Honor, Shelby, tried to convince me to try it for a long time, so I finally caved.
I decided if there was ever a time and a reason to invest in my skin health, this was it. My wedding was about one year away at the time. As I was scrolling through The Knot looking for a makeup artist for my wedding, I stumbled upon Rachel Naster. I ended up booking her and discovered that she was also an experienced esthetician. I scheduled an introductory consultation to fill her in on everything that had been going on with my skin recently. And so my journey to better skin began.
how i began to repair my skin
Since Rachel knew how sensitive my skin was, she slowly eased me into some facial treatments. It wasn’t too long before we got into a routine that I not only tolerated well, but that made my skin look and feel amazing. Better than it had in a very long time.
Rachel was great about explaining exactly what she was doing with each treatment and why, which was really helpful. At the time, I was a total newbie, so it was nice to get a little education on the process! I had heard of things like HydraFacials & dermaplaning before, but I had no idea what to expect. I had this preconceived notion that facials were painful, but I quickly learned that they don’t hurt whatsoever. In fact, they feel pretty freaking amazing.
I’m going to walk you through the treatments that I did with Rachel back then and continue to do on a regular basis. She provided me with some easy-to-understand descriptions of these treatments to share in this post.
GETTING STARTED WITH FACIAL TREATMENTS
The first couple appointments were short, but effective. My skin was still healing and slightly inflamed from the allergy issues. Rachel started by using the most active, yet soothing treatment possible. She chose to begin with low-level light therapy LED treatments using her Celluma panel.
Low-level light therapy is the application of specific wavelengths of light energy to tissue to obtain therapeutic benefits. The energy is then used to improve cellular performance. It can be delivered through LED devices or cold lasers, and has a variety of applications across many medical fields. It is a safe and natural method used for treating acne, anti-aging and pain.F
The best thing about light therapy is that it is non-invasive, painless, requires no recovery time. It can also be used on all skin types — even sensitive skin like mine.
For me specifically, Rachel focused on using a blend of blue light therapy to target any bacteria and reduce inflammation. She then moved to a more red light dominant treatment that continued to reduce inflammation, while also brightening the skin and evening out the skin tone. These were both things I desperately needed at the time.
HYDRAFACIALS AND DERMAPLANING: WHAT ARE THEY?
After a few sessions, we decided it was safe to slowly add in some Hydro-Dermabrasion followed by the LED treatment. You might also hear this referred to as a hydrafacial. This treatment is one of my favorites. Hydro-Dermabrasion is a gentle exfoliation & infusion treatment that uses pure water to cleanse, exfoliate and extract impurities. In other words, it’s literally pulling all the nasty crap out of your skin. Disgusting, yet amazing. It also infuses moisture and nutrients through highly active serums. We used a light Lactic cleanse to hydrate and brighten my skin, followed by antioxidant & lightening infusions.
Later, we started to incorporate dermaplaning, which has come to be my favorite treatment of them all. Dermaplaning consists of taking a scalpel very close to the skin’s surface to exfoliate, remove dead skin and hair. Trust me – we all have it. Your skin feels AMAZING afterwards. It is soft as a baby’s bottom, and your makeup goes on so evenly. You would be amazed to see how much peach fuzz you really have on your face before getting this done! In case you’re wondering, this treatment does not hurt! It actually feels good, if you ask me.
MY AT-HOME SKINCARE ROUTINE
Rachel & I also discussed my home skincare routine to make sure I wasn’t using any problematic products. She is a big fan of Image Skincare products. I obviously trust her judgment, so I slowly started adding some of their products to my lineup.
Head to my recent post where I discuss my Current Skincare Routine in more detail, if you are interested. Again, this is what has worked for me personally, but seeing a skincare professional can help you identify what is best for your skin type.
Below is a photo of my skin about nine months after Rachel & I started working together. As you can see, it still wasn’t perfect, but I saw massive improvements during that time. I have continued to see Rachel on a regular basis post-wedding, because these treatments have truly transformed my skin. It has become my favorite form of self-care and something I look forward to about every eight weeks.
HOW BETTER SKIN IMPROVED MY CONFIDENCE
In general, I am a very confident person, but for many years, I felt self-conscious about my skin. I was that girl who wore makeup to workout at 6:00 AM or to run to the grocery store. It took me a long time to feel comfortable going anywhere makeup-free, and now I can gladly say that I do that on a regular basis.
This is all thanks to my dermatologist for helping me identify the allergen and Rachel for helping me heal. I am so incredibly grateful.
I hope this post helps anyone who is self-conscious about their skin & needs some insight on how to improve it. You don’t have to suffer from skin issues forever! Be your own biggest advocate and don’t stop until you get some answers.
Taking care of your skin can be a financial investment, but you can take as many steps as is realistic for you. You could even start by simply getting better quality makeup or skin products, or washing your brushes more frequently. Again, everyone’s skin is different, so it’s important to figure out what works for you as an individual. It will likely be different than what worked for me.
The more frequently you go in for facial treatments like the ones I mentioned today, the better your results will be. Just remember, your face is a huge part of who you are! It’s what people look at when they talk to you and it’s what you see in the mirror every day. If you aren’t confident in your skin, that may negatively affect your overall self-image and your life.
WHY I RECOMMEND INVESTING IN YOURSELF, AND HOW
- Make it a priority to cook for yourself more often. Healthy eating doesn’t have to be expensive; it just requires being a little more intentional. ALDI is a great place to grocery shop on a budget, and still get a ton of nutritious foods. Stick around and check out my recipe pages for inspiration! I share tons of easy and realistic meal ideas, because I’m busy, too!
- Purchase a gym membership and move your body regularly. This could be a $10/month membership to Planet Fitness, or a $150/month membership to a fitness studio with group classes. Just find something you enjoy! If you prefer to workout on your own at home or go running outside for free, do that! People who exercise are typically happier, more confident and less stressed. I won’t bore you with all the other benefits. 😉
- Spend a little extra money to take good care of your skin. If it is negatively affecting your life the way it was mine, I would say it is 110% worth it to do something about it. Don’t put it off.
I cannot recommend Rachel Naster enough for facial services in Kansas City. Not only is she amazing at her job, but she is also an incredibly kind-hearted person. She genuinely wants to help people look and feel their very best. I highly recommend following her on Instagram at @rachelnaster, as she always posts about last-minute cancellations! Rachel also shares super helpful skincare tips.
I hope this inspired you to start investing in your skin & gave you some tips on how to do so! I’d love to hear about your experiences and what you prioritize most in your skincare routine! Let me know in the comments below. Pin this on Pinterest if you think it might help someone else! : )
Cheers to self-care!