Today I wanted to share with you the beginning of my skin care journey with Jennifer at Lustre Skin Boutique. Before we get into that I want to touch on a little of my skin history. Before acne ever came into my life I grew up with a birthmark on my face. They call is cafe au lait. That birthmark has haunted me since birth. Basically my skin didn’t change colors when I was born. I cried and cried when I was a kid, desperately trying to find a doctor or specialist to remove it. I still cry to this day about it. Not as often as I used to, but I have my days. Years later treatments have advanced and I am currently getting a laser treatment for it. While it has helped, I don’t think it is something that will ever go away.
Moving onto my teen years, when my new friend acne showed up.It first started on my back and was really awful. I remember having huge scabs and always feeling like my back was constantly filled with cystic acne. Moving on through college is when I started getting more acne on my face. By my early to mid twenties my cystic acne on my face just continued to get worse. Dermatologists and facialist told me it was due to my hormones and food sensitivity. I would get clusters of cystic acne on my face and it was so insanely painful.
Within the last year I started to notice a lot more dark spots on my skin.I went to visit my dermatologist and she told me it was melasma.I can’t remember the last time I haven’t left my house without sunscreen on or tanned my face. I am always really cautious of that. So now on top of my birthmark, acne, acne scarring, I have hyperpigmentation and melasma. Ugh, will this nightmare ever end? If you saw my post last week Life Update Chapter 4 one of my goals this year is to really focus on my skin. I knew I wanted to do this before 2019 even started. Getting engaged really accelerated this journey.
I met with Jennifer my esthetician before Christmas at her boutique in the West Loop. Located right on Lake and Morgan and next to the Green line. We talked about my past history with my skin, what I wanted to work on and her suggestions for my particular skin problems. She immediately made me feel comfortable and was very informative. Below is a Q & A I did with Jennifer. If you live in Chicago or the surrounding suburbs you can get a better idea of how her process works. Following the Q & A are some before photos of my skin.
Maria: What is your training or experience? Are you licensed or certified?
Jennifer: I’m a licensed Esthetician and certified in Cosmetic tattooing. I studied European techniques and advanced skin analysis at the Dermal Institute and attend both the Conservator of Esthetics in specialty make-up techniques and New York’s Aveda Institute in Ayruvedic and Himalayan treatments. She has also trained under Dr. Faran Bokhari, a leading Chicago trauma surgeon and Lustre medical advisor, to perform advanced medical-based techniques.
Maria: How do you determine what facials are best for your clients skin?
Jennifer: Learning about the clients past experiences with facial treatments, the success or non success with those treatments. Finding out what sensitivities they may have to treatments, products or certain acids and ingredients. Are they adverse to aggressive treatments? Do they want faster results with more recovery time or less recovery slower results? Getting detailed info on skins responses to products and treatments. Determining the clients lifestyle and how we can incorporate the best plan for that particular client. Time, motivation, money and the scale of commitment to treatment play a big part in determining treatment and treatment plan.
Maria: What are your product or care recommendations for my particular skin?
Jennifer: You should be using acidic exfoliants, 4 to 6 weeks intervals of a hydroquinone/retinol serum,retinol serum alone when not using the hydroquinone/retinol as treatment products.Broad spectrum day cream/sunscreen daily and reapply at least once in the middle of the day a powder mineral sunscreen. Night cream and Eye cream to keep the skin supple and to prevent dryness/sensitivities.
Maria: How often should I be getting a facial?
Jennifer: For clients wanting to see significant results you should book at least 3 treatments 2 to 3 weeks apart and then taper treatments to 4 to 5 weeks and then when we have your skin to where you are happy maintain a regimen of treatment every 2 to 3 months with maintenance facials.
Maria: I’m getting wrinkles. What are the best treatments?
Jennifer: In our 30’s we start to see the effects of our collagen slowing breaking down as well as the effects of the sun damage that occurred before the age of 18. It is a good time to start with treatments that stimulate collagen production and speed up cellular regeneration. Microneedling, PDO thread placement, peels and PRP treatments are all treatments to consider when wrinkles are a concern.
Maria: What are the best treatments for acne prone skin?
Jennifer: I’ve seen the best results with consistent peels (glycolic, jessners, salicylic), thorough extractions and the client must be diligent with home care usually consisting of glycolics, niacimide, brighteners, benzoyl peroxide, Hyaluronic acid, peptides, growth factors and plenty of hydration. The hydration, HA and peptides will keep skin from getting too dry and irritated.
Maria: I have lots of Melasma or Hyperpigmentation. What are the best treatments for my skin?
Jennifer: We would start with a jessner peel either neutralizing in treatment or leaving on for deeper peel. You would start using a lightening serum daily after you fully heal. We would continue todo peels possibly different ones or continue with jessners. I also like to do microdermabrasion and then a peel. Once we see significant lightening I like to do micro needling for further regeneration and lightning.
My skin before our first treatment.
This was harder for me to share than you will ever know. While I don’t love my legs, hips or wish my that booty was a little tighter my skin has always been my biggest insecurity. I have dreamed my whole life to have beautiful skin not only on my face but my back. To be able to wear any type of top that shows off my back without have to wear my hair down or worrying that people would be starting at my acne or scars. This is a huge step for me, but I am hoping to share more of my unfiltered life here in 2019. You can see on my back I have a mix of a ton of recent and old acne scars, only a couple pimples and a lot of beauty marks as well. Here it is folks. My unfiltered life of 2019.
My First Treatment:
Jennifer started by deep cleansing and exfoliating process, because I came from work so I had makeup on. She then prepared my skin for extractions. My facial consisted of a lot of these. I had so much excess build up because I hadn’t had a facial on over a year. While that part can tend to be uncomfortable, I have never experienced much pain from it. It’s satisfying to me that the my pores are getting cleaned out and by a professional.
She then used a high frequency tool on me. This was something new that I had never experienced during a treatment before. The tool produces aragon gas that is good for your skin and emits a small electrical current. This helps to kill bacteria and calms any of the inflamed skin. My skin was definitely inflamed post extractions. It just felt like a little zap to the skin, nothing worse than getting a laser treatment! Following she used salicylic and glycolic treatments and really moisturized my skin. To end the wonderful facial, she gives your upper body a nice little massage. Which is so relaxing post all the poking and proding.
After my face we continued to my back. I found out that on my back I have three pores that are called pore of winers. They are basically dilated pores that just continue to fill up with sebum even after you extract them. The only way to get rid of them is to surgically remove that pore and stitch it back up. Luckily mine are small right now and just look like beauty marks, but I couldn’t help to think why? Why do I have to deal with another thing with my skin. Is this ever going to end? I am really looking forward to seeing the progress here. Hoping when I find that beautiful wedding dress that this isn’t something I am still insecure about! Jennifer only had to perform a few extractions on my back. Followed by some treatments to heal any existing breakouts, deter future ones from occurring and helping to lighten up and even out the tone of my skin.
How is my skin post treatment:
We are three days away from the treatment and my skin on my face is sore and inflamed. Jennifer, emailed me two days after the treatment to see how my skin was doing. My old facialist used to do this too and I think it’s so important to find someone who not only does a good job after the treatment, but cares about you post facial. Jennifer informed me that there will be at least 2 to 3 days where my skin may look and feel inflamed. Five days post facial I should see improvement and that I may have some break out since it’s been sometime since my last facial. I can’t wait for day five! She reminded me that patience and timing are important. Which is so true, there was a lot of trauma caused to my skin to trigger regeneration.I haven’t noticed any irritation on my back yet, but she said it can be different for everyone.
Thank you for reading. Here’s to hoping we can all continue to be a little more open about our insecurities. I hope to inspire someone else to open up about their struggle with acne and share their story with me. I hope that this post was informative and if you are in Chicago, please feel free to ask me any more questions about my experience so far with Jennifer and Lustre Skin Boutique. Please check back as I will be continuing to share my skin care journey. My next post, I will showcase her space and talk about the next treatment we are starting! I also have a highlight reel on our Instagram Profile if you want to check out some of my stories as well.