The older you get the harder it gets to look in the mirror and simply say “I am beautiful.” At least it does for me.
Some of it stems from childhood and never feeling comfortable in my own skin. Some of it stems from the loss of my youth. As I get older, I think perhaps I’ve always been waiting for that Aha! moment. The moment when the acne clears, the pores are small, and the skin is smooth and dewy. I waited for that time to come. I waited to feel good in my own skin.
Right around the time that started to happen for me was right when the fine lines started to appear. My skin started to lose its collagen. Pigmentation start to rear its ugly head. And I thought, what happened to the skin I’ve been waiting for?
There is actually never an ideal time in our lives for our skin. We simply do what we can to feel good about what we have. The same goes for our hair, our teeth, our eyes. We keep our hair in style. We color to mask the gray. We go on diets and join the gym. We may even buy fancy face creams.
What most of us don’t do is allow ourselves the luxury of turning back the clock and healing the wrongs we did in our youth. Thank God I was never a sunbather or a smoker (both skin killers) but apparently I’ve had my fair share of damage.
I was invited for a free consultation with The Museum Spa & Laser Center in Raleigh, North Carolina. I met with Spa Director Judie, Head of Esthetics Collette, and Registered Nurse Michelle. We sat down to chat about the spa and I ended peppering them with questions and grilling them about vanity.
It turns out I had a lot of misperceptions.
1. A spa is not the same as a medical spa.
We love spas. We love the fluffy robes and candles and soothing music. We love the pampering. We love how we look and feel when we leave the spa. But the results are superficial and won’t last. A medical spa employs treatments to help your skin regenerate new, fresh skin.
2. You can expect an injury at the spa.
But don’t freak out. This took me by surprise but it’s not what you think. Basically, most of the services they offer are causing some sort of minor injury to the skin. It’s basically how you tell your skin you’d like some fresh new skin, please.
3. An esthetician is not the same as an aesthetician.
When there is an ‘A’ in front of the word esthetician, it has a different designation altogether. Collette is a Licensed Medical Aesthetician and it’s easily recognizable from the ‘A’ in her title. If someone is injuring me, I’d like them to be medically trained.
4. Lasers aren’t really lasers.
My last experience with a laser facial made my vision a little blurry and I was worried I had lost my eyesight in the name of beauty. It cleared up in 15 minutes but I was curious about the safety of lasers. Turns out they aren’t really lasers in the true sense of the word. It’s basically intense white light.
5. Not all equipment is created equal.
Age and manufacturer are two of the biggest issues when it comes to medical spa equipment. Each piece of equipment requires special training. According to The Museum Spa, you are well within your rights (and encouraged) to ask about the equipment at any spa before you have treatments.
6. What you can’t see CAN hurt you.
Just because your skin looks good doesn’t mean it is good. I had a former colleague who was always the life of the party and always had blonde hair and beautifully tan skin. Unfortunately, she passed away at the age of 29 from melanoma. A medical spa isn’t meant to diagnose life-threatening conditions (although they have), but they do show you exactly what kind of damage is being done to your skin.
After my consultation, I scheduled an appointment with Collette. We started with Skin Care Analysis by Visia. We looked at my pores, wrinkles, and texture among other things. This particular photo was looking at the spots on my face. These can be freckles, age spots, small red veins. Doesn’t look too bad.
But what’s beneath the surface? We took a look at the UV spots. You might want to look away.
It’s not pretty, is it? This is what 40 years of average sun exposure gets you. Well, someone with my skin type, anyway. It was shocking to say the least. I was anxious to get started.
Here’s how it went.
- Cleanser: Glytone Step-Up Mild Gel Wash
- Serum: Skinceuticals Serum 20 (antioxidant)
- Moisturizer/Suncreen: Eau Thermale Avène Redness Relief Soothing Cream (SPF 25)
- Eye cream: Glytone Antioxidant Anti-Aging Eye Cream
- Cleanser: Glytone Step-Up Mild Gel Wash
- Moisturizer: Glytone Clarifying Night Renewal Cream
- Eye cream: Glytone Antioxidant Anti-Aging Eye Cream
In a few more weeks, I’m scheduled to go back for that facial peel and for a photofacial. Wish me luck!
So tell me, how do you get the sparkle back in your skin? What do you wish you could do?
This post includes affiliate links.
When I think of how I blithely baked in the sun sans protection for so many years … well, I wish I had known then what we all know now. Thanks for the info and let us know how the new products work.
I don’t think any of us really knew what we were doing to our skin. And if someone had told us, would we really have cared at the tender young age of 18? I’m just hoping to do the best I can from here on out.
At least through all of this you are able to look at what is beneath the skin and the actually conditon of body is. So many of those store bought products really do just treat the effects and leave the underlying issue :/
It’s kind of like smoking. I think if people could really see what it’s doing to their lungs, it might have more of an impact on them. I’ll readily admit that I don’t regularly use sunscreen on my face. Now I do!
I’m not a fan on injections or surgery but if there are non-invasive things I can do to help my skin rejuvenate itself, I’m all for it!
Non-invasive all the way. The more that we can do to preserve our bodies before we turn 90 the better 🙂
You look great! I guess we never think about what’s going on under the surface and we should.
It’s eye-opening to say the least. The good news is that a lot of the things I’m doing are supposed to have a pretty good impact. In 6 months, we plan to run a Visia photo again.
I’m afraid to see what my skin shows but I am seriously thinking about doing this. I may need to set up a support call with you…haha
Rachel – knowledge is POWER! It’s never to late to correct what we’ve done. And there is always plastic surgery 😉
This is really interesting. I am terrible with my skin, and I know I need to be better. I’d like to have an overhaul 🙂 Daily I wash and moisturize (with a built in SPF). That’s about it.
Angela – you’re doing better than a LOT of people are. The SPF thing is probably one of the most important things you can do. The sun is evil when it comes to our skin!
Wow. It is amazing what technology can do and kind of scary what it can find too. I have to wear a sun hat and umbrella all the time now!
I must admit that I’ve reached the age and maturity to not care about a tan anymore. In the summer, I have the cutest sunglasses and hat and I intend to wear them a lot!
Wow Fadra – I probably don’t want to see what’s under my skin…I’ve been really trying to get better at this…great article!
There is a lot to learn and thankfully a lot of things we can do to try and make things better. I just hope I’m not too late!
I don’t like to think about the sun damage I did.
At least I stopped, but still.
I wish I would’ve thought about using sunscreen on my hands from years of pushing the stroller.
My h ands are shot.
You actually look very fair skinned to me so you might look as, ahem, bad as me. But the stroller hands? Never thought about that. Kind of like noticing the tops of your feet are sunburned once it’s way too late.
This is a wonderful piece. Lots of useful information here. You’ve definitely got me thinking. I dislike the idea of surgery, but I certainly have been a moisturizer addict since my 20s.
Apparently, the main thing you need to worry about is SUNSCREEN. I think the only way I don’t look half bad is that I don’t spend a ton of time outside. As of now, I don’t like surgery either. If I can keep getting non-invasive treatments with results I like, I’ll do it!
True, sun-worshipping *and* smoking can do so much damage to the skin. Smoking especially, because you’re choosing to hurt your body with thousands of chemicals. Ugh. The sun isn’t something you can control though you can protect your skin with moisturizers and sunblock. But smoking? Every puff, you’re aging yourself. The worst thing is you don’t see the damage you’ve done until 10 years after you’ve started smoking.
As for pampering my skin, I’m partial to facials and microdermabrasion. 😉 I don’t see it as vanity. I see it as personal care–my reward to myself after a long month’s worth of work. 🙂
Thank you, Maggie. Yes. It’s personal care. I really get that now. It’s the health and appearance of your skin. Why shouldn’t we care?
Not only have I been a non-smoker all my life, but I’m also an anti-smoker. Nothing good about it one bit.
I love reading about others’ experiences in this regard. I just had a consultation with my dermatologist (after she lobed a few suspect off my chest) last week. She says most of the spa and medi-spa treatments can be cut out if you follow a Retina A and vitamin C regime every day. Plus sunscreen, of course. I offered to pay her cash money to give me a laser treatment or two to help rid my face of all the brown spots, but no. Retina A, vitamin C (serum) and sunscreen every day. I’m hoping to see results soon!!
I have to tell you that I previously had an IPL (photofacial) that did PHENOMENAL results for my redness and brown spots. And I have the pictures to prove it!
But the aesthetician I saw put me on the same thing. Vitamin C serum, retinol based cread, and good moisturizer with sunscreen. No botox for me though!
[…] and my tonsillectomy but he likes the way I tell them and he wants more. I’m headed back to a medical spa tomorrow. Perhaps I can dramatize my procedure for his afterwards. But this time, there will be ice […]
[…] to have had several opportunities to work with The Museum Spa, a medical spa here in Raleigh, NC. I had a great consultation and a few treatments. Then I received a bounty of skincare products that I’ve been using religiously. But was […]