Expert Advice for Glowy, No-Filter-Needed Skin

My skin is something I’ve always struggled with. I rarely break out, but the combo of being very fair (my skin shows everything) + a history of sun worship has led to some less-than-perfect skin.

I spent most of my teen years trying various drugstore products and had pretty decent luck because, well, I was 16. In my twenties, I have found a variety of (slightly more $$) products that do a pretty good job of keeping my skin smooth and bright.

It wasn’t until I started getting regular facials that I saw any real improvement in my skin.  I love a good DIY or drugstore find as much as the next girl, but when I wanted real changes and to learn best practices for not looking like a raisin by age 35, I started talking to the professionals. On a friend’s recommendation, I decided to check out SpaDerma here in Chicago. I went for a PCA SKIN chemical peel with one of their amazing estheticians, Claire. She either hit the genetic lottery or is the best advertisement for the treatments at SpaDerma. In the interest of keeping things above déclassé, I didn’t ask – but she was so warm, helpful, and informed that I bet she would have told me her favorite procedures in a heartbeat.

Claire agreed to share some skincare advice for all of you, too! Check it out:

Interview with a Top Esthetician

| Hi! First things first – how did you get your start in skincare and medical esthetics? |

I’ve always been interested in skincare and anything to do with beauty and makeup. At the early age of 13 I started shampooing hair at a salon and got into the industry. After high school, I decided I wanted to do more on the medical esthetics side. I went to school for it, and I’ve been doing it for 11 years now.

| What are the most popular treatments here at SpaDerma? |

We do tons of laser hair removal, lots of chemical peels, and other facial treatments. Microneedling is one of our top treatments right now. We’ve been doing that for about two years, so it’s a newer procedure. We do lots of IPL Photofacials, which are great for skin tone and texture! We also have a couple nurses and a physician’s assistant on staff, and a lot of people come in for fillers and Botox.

| What trends or new developments are you seeing pop up in skincare? | 

There’s always something new, something different! Fat contouring body treatments have popped up more lately and there is always improved technology for procedures like laser hair removal.  There’s always a new “fountain of youth” product.

| Maintenance vs. Makeover: which treatments provide dramatic results and which should be incorporated as part of a routine? |

One of our treatments that provides really fast results is the IPL Photofacial. It helps with broken capillaries and discoloration, and you see great results right away for brown spots and redness.  You go home and within a week your skin looks completely different. As far as a routine goes, all of our treatments can be used for maintenance. I compare skincare to working out and eating right – if you’re using quality products and coming in regularly, your skin is going to look great. If you stop taking care of yourself, your skin can go back to what it used to be. Facials, chemical peels, and microneedling are great to incorporate into your routine to fight against aging.

| What is your advice for aging prevention? What should we all be doing? |

A good skincare regimen for sure. It is so important. What I love about working here is we offer products at all different price points. I personally love NeoCutis, which uses the latest technology of stem cells. It’s a little more expensive, but worth it. Everyone needs a really good moisturizer and sunscreen. If someone comes in here and asks me “What can you do to make me look young forever?” – my answer is sunscreen. You have to wear it every day.

| If someone did have a little too much sun worship in their past – how can you fix that? |

First off, stay out of the sun from now on! Sunscreen and a hat are key to prevent any further sun damage.  The specific regimen would depend on the person. For someone with light skin, an IPL Photofacial could be great. For someone with darker skin, Clear + Brilliant™ Laser Treatment helps with tone and texture and resurfaces the skin. Peels are always a great option. They help with cell turnover, fine lines and wrinkles, and discoloration in the skin.

| Okay, sounds like there’s a lot we can do – awesome! I’ve heard about preventative Botox. Can we talk about that? | 

Sure! Some girls come in here and ask how young is too young-  and how old is too old – for Botox. I wouldn’t tell a 20 year old to go and get Botox, but preventing those wrinkles from forming really does work. I have some patients that consider Botox, but say “Not until 45.” Is it too late at that point? No. But you will probably have deeper wrinkles if you wait that long, so you might need more of the product. A little bit here and there will prevent the wrinkles from forming in the first place.

| Last question – if you were stranded on a deserted island (and already have tons of sunscreen!), which skincare product would you want? | 

Lumiere eye cream from NeoCutis. It’s awesome – use morning and night – and half a pump goes a long way. You can use it under your eyes, on top of your eyes, and even to prevent fine lines around your lips.

Learn about the latest skincare treatments, how to reverse sun damage, and basically stay gorgeous forever in this interview with a top esthetician. #chicago

More About Chemical Peels

I opted for the Sensi Peel®, which is perfect for people with highly sensitive skin. I’m super fair and tend to get a lot of redness with harsh products, so this was ideal for me. The purpose of a peel is to improve surface texture and brighten the skin, while helping to promote an even skin tone.

  • The Ingredients
  • + Trichloroacetic Acid (TCA) –  improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • + Lactic Acid – an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that moisturizes the skin.
  • + Azelaic Acid – helps promote a clear complexion and even skin tone.
  • + Arbutin – an antioxidant to promote an even skin tone.
  • + Kojic Acid – also promotes an even skin tone.
The most common question I get is – “Does it hurt?”

I’m the biggest baby about pain. I shed tears when I get my blood drawn or a shot. I wouldn’t liken a chemical peel to the bliss of drinking rosé on a rooftop, but it’s 100% bearable. Claire checked in with me after every “layer” (the part where they put the burn-y stuff on your face) to make sure I was okay. If I had to compare it to a common sensation, I would say it’s like having a sunburn – but just for 10 minutes.


What beauty treatments are you loving right now? Give me all the details! If you visit SpaDerma, let me know (and tell them I say hi!)



*SpaDerma was kind enough to provide a complimentary service so I could make an informed recommendation to my readers. As always, all opinions are my own. I wouldn’t trust just anyone to rub intense chemicals all over my face, you know?