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Welcome to she Breathes, where on every podcast episode, we explore ways to breathe deeply and enjoy a more meaningful, high frequency life.
In today’s episode, I talk with my sister, Savannah Marks, who is a seasoned esthetician in the DC area. We discuss an array of hot topics related to skincare. In the show notes, you’ll see the timestamp of each specific subject.
Welcome everyone, to episode two of she Breeds. And today I have a super exciting guest, my sister, Savannah Marks, the very intelligent and talented esthetician in the DC. Area. So I am up in the DC area visiting her, my brother in law, my niece, and I decided to take advantage of my time with her and do a little podcast so that we can all learn some things about skincare. And so we’re actually sitting in her car because I read that if you can’t have a studio or your normal setup, that a car is a good place because it’s really insulated and soundproof.
Hi. Happy to have you. Super happy to be on your second episode. Thank you. Well, skincare is a very hot topic these days.
As it should be. I know. As it should always have been, because we’re just going to get to it. So what are some things that we can do during these cold, frigid winter months to help our skin not look so drab and dry? So winter can be tricky because our skin, depending on where we live, can really take its toll with the environment, right?
So hydration is obviously key. The problem is some people use products that aren’t necessarily really great for hydration. The molecular structure of some of the ingredients in the products can’t really penetrate to the dermal layer or the subcutaneous layers of where they need to to really affect that hydration. So a lot of problems occur with dry patches. If you have issues with psoriasis, all of that can really affect your skin texture, how your makeup is applied, and just even cause the skin to look more wrinkled and less vibrant, less lubricated.
The problem is the layering technique is important and just making sure that you’re choosing the correct products for your skin type. So for those people that don’t know what’s the layering technique? So a really good thing to do for winter months is after you do your cleanser and what type of serum is best for you. So if it’s antiaging, depending on morning and evening regimen, doing that serum that has your antioxidants or your vitamin C’s for morning and evening, using a serum that’s more antiaging with growth factors, et cetera, is really also applying a really great hyaluronic acid serum. There’s a few that I love.
Ha five is great. There’s eight strands of hyaluronic acid in that. So it really keeps your skin hydrated for up to 8 hours. It doesn’t feel greasy or too thick on the skin, so the makeup lays really nicely on top. It almost acts as a toner.
And then if you are more dry, you can add that extra hydration on top. So a thicker cream that’s going to give you a little bit more moisture and just really have a little bit more of that glossy sort of look to the skin so you kind of glow a little bit more. So hydration from the inside and out and exactly. Water is important. Keeping your skin hydrated through eight glasses of water, which we’ve heard for years, which we all also don’t do as much during the holidays.
We’re probably drinking a little more, drinking more coffee, hot liquids, super important to do that. Eating more fruit, which is also more of a summertime food that we do. Just kind of keeping those things internally and externally. Yeah. Okay, so what about sunscreen?
In the winters, sunscreen is still important. In the winter, sunscreen is very important 365 days of the year, especially now with our environment, ozone layers, everything really can penetrate through. I have a prime example. I have a patient who was a school teacher for 25 years in the same classroom. One of her walls where she basically faced her right side of her face was a full window, the other side was a wall.
She never changed the layout of her classroom. And her right side looks about 15 years older than her left side. And this is because she was inside all the time. She didn’t wear sunscreen every day. And just showing that it can go penetrate through windows, your car, walking, your dog, all of these things are important.
Summer, fall, winter, spring. Yes, she has shown me some of these pictures and they are crazy. Like the side that we drive on and that teacher, that was just even if you’re not actually outside the sunscreen, okay, that’s amazing. So it’s so hard to drink water in the winter because I’m freezing. So I do this all the time.
Like she said, I’m drinking coffee and hot tea all the time instead of water. So I’m trying to do better with that. But we’ve talked a little bit about serums, which seem to be all the rage right now. But what’s the deal with serums? Because I just feel like teens right now and young adults are just, they buy all the serums and they’re just putting them on willy nilly.
So just quickly, you said a little bit about the morning and the evening. What are some of the most popular serums and when would you use them? So Instagram, social media, Facebook, all of these social platforms have really put out a lot of different types of serums. Serum, yes, is the new rage, which serums are great once again, it’s the way they can penetrate deeper than a lot of the creams that have preservatives and a lot of heavier ingredients that kind of sits more on the surface of the skin. So the serums can really penetrate the problem is they’re being misused.
So, yes, it doesn’t mean four serums are better than one serum. And when you use the serum and when it’s applied morning versus evening for younger gals, making sure you have that antioxidant serum in the daytime is important if you have really sensitive skin. There’s now serums with antioxidants in their grapeseed, different antioxidants that aren’t as acidic as a vitamin C, which was the rage for years. Certain people, patients that I have, younger kids, they don’t really need a vitamin A, strong vitamin C. If your skin is more sebaceous or thick, possibly it can handle a strong vitamin C because that’s where you get your free radical protection.
But you really just want to have that antoxidant protection in the morning, at night. Once again, it’s the more of the growth factors, the antiaging serums. But one is fine. We don’t need to do three different serums. And sometimes the more basic you can keep it, the better you’re going to have better results, and it’s going to be easier for you to follow.
Instead of one night doing your eight step regimen, and then the next night you’re tired and you don’t do anything. If you can keep it more on the three to four products that are actually going to work and you donate correctly, you’re going to see better results than trying new serums every week or masks or creams and not following through with the consistency to see the results with the products that actually work. Okay, perfect.
Okay. Similar to the serums, I see a lot about under eye patches on social media, and I hear a lot of these little teeny boppers using under eye patches. Can you talk a little bit about that? Once again, I do love that these teens are using products, right? I love that they’re actually researching and purchasing these things.
But it is also they need a little bit more of expertise. They need someone to tell them, is this something that you need to spend your money on? You have a part time job, you’re going out, you’re buying masks, serums, eye patches. Is it necessary for your age? The eye patches are something that I do feel like are more catered towards older adults.
Once we start getting the puffiness under the eye, the dark circles, the crows feet, it’s something that I would rather my younger patients spend their money on preventing. Acne, clogged, pores, sunscreens. Things that we didn’t preventative, measures that is going to prevent that sun damage, it’s going to prevent the wrinkles. In the long run, not so much the cool little trendy things. That’s a good point.
My husband, which has got very bad puffy eyes, he wears a CPAC, so when he wakes up in the morning, he has really, really puffy eyes. And so he wears his eye patch patches to work every day. He drives about 40 minutes to work, so he puts those on and then once he gets to work, he takes them off and he looks like a new man. And that’s a good example that skincare is just as important for it’s important for all genders, not just women. Exactly.
And he was hesitant as men are. He’s had a few skincare scares. He’s very fair. And so he has his regimen now. He has his eye patches that he uses.
But yeah, they’re great. They’re gel. It depends on which ones you need. Certain patients that I have, they may have more wrinkles or creepiness. Not really necessary for the eye patches.
It’s more of a really good eye cream. Possibly even more like a botox type of topical product that’s going to sort of tighten temporarily. Whereas if you have more of the puffiness in the dark circles, amazing. Put them in the fridge, put them in the freezer, take them out. Works wonders for events.
You have a work day where you have a lot of meetings. You don’t want to look like you’ve stayed up all night, you haven’t slept. Great for those type of patients. Yes, I got some from Santa Claus, and I’ve only used them twice. And I can totally tell the difference because I have kind of like deep I have sort of sunken dark circles under my eyes.
Okay, next topic. Are all these clean and green products that are made out of watermelon and all this kind of stuff? What are your thoughts on those types of products? So, ingredients are funny. I think obviously the new rage is a lot of people think green, all green, all organic essential oils are the way to go.
And some skin types can handle that, which is great. But it’s also some of the ingredients, when they’re mixed with such potent acids or extractions from fruits, you compromise the integrity of the ingredient. So it’s sometimes less is more. Right. Even though it’s green or it’s organic, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be better or it’s right for your skin.
Medical grade skin care can be great for most people, and organic can be great, but it depends on the skin type, the skin texture. It can depend on allergic reactions to things. It can depend on if you have skin situation. I have rosacea, so I have to be very careful. I can’t use any of those products.
It’s really up to an expert to tell you these are the ingredients that are going to be okay for your skin. Really fill out that intake form when you go in to see your professional, when you see your esthetician, even dermatologist, et cetera, so that they can look there and say, okay, what allergies does she have? What has she used in the past? What is her skin regimen right now? Doing that initial consultation, which usually is free to really just get an idea of why am I spending money on certain products that aren’t working when I can really go to an esthetician, go to a professional, they’re going to tell me what I should and shouldn’t use.
And in the long run, you’re going to save money. And it doesn’t have to be necessarily medical grade or organic. It can be something that’s just completely right for your skin type. Yeah. And I feel like as the years go on, more and more medical grade skincare products are getting less expensive.
They’re not as expensive as they once were, and they are more accessible than they ever have been, and they’re very potent. So a little goes a long way. So if you’re going to Sephora’s or drugstores or different types of outlets for the skincare, even online Amazon, you’re not sure if you’re choosing the right products. So someone telling you what to use for your skin is going to save you that money, but it’s also going to give you the products that are going to give you the best results, the quickest, and the knowledge. Yeah, and earlier we were chatting, and she said that Savannah said that going to see an esthetician for just a consultation is oftentimes free or very inexpensive.
And that professional can give you the knowledge, which then knowledge is power. And then you kind of know what you’re doing instead of just flying by the seat of your pants and going into Sephora, because kind of explain how you did to me, how those folks at Sephora are actually they’re trained to sell, but they’re not necessarily trained in skincare per se. Exactly. They’re not trained. They’re salespeople.
So they’re basically probably working on commission, and they did not go to school for skincare, and they’re doing the best they can at their job. Amazon is tricky, which a lot of people don’t know this. You can buy even medical skin grade products on Amazon, and it’s not the same product. So it can be a fake product. It could be packaged the same way.
Everything looks exactly the same. As we all know, if you can make a fake Louis Vuitton, you can make a fake skin care product. And I’ve had patients who come, this is it’s a different consistency. It’s a different color. It’s because it’s not the same product.
So even if your skin care professional tells you which products, and you say, I’m going to go try to find it at a cheaper price, all of these things have caused people to have severe reactions with their skin, and they don’t work. They don’t work. Once again, they’re spending more money because they think they’re going the cheaper route, or they’re going to figure it out for themselves, or they’re going to read Instagram or celebrity advice, and it’s not working. Okay. And also Span and I both, we love essential oils, but we know that they have their place.
And so I tried to make some homemade skincare products, like, many years ago, and I was using lavender because lavender is supposedly a good skin oil, and it is when you’re putting it on like a rash or poison ivy. But I started getting these dry patches. So kind of talk to the point about how essential oils, while good for many things, are not necessarily to go for the face. Exactly. And it’s also, yes, I do love essential oils.
I use them all the time for different things. I have a diffuser in every room. I have one in my room at work. But it’s also about how much you’re using and are you mixing it with the right carrier? Are you mixing it with your moisturizer and it’s too potent?
And then your skin’s PH balance is thrown off. So instead of working, it’s actually making your skin worse. And you’re thinking, it’s organic, it’s natural, it’s green, it could do more harm than good. And a lot of times it’s once again buying these essential oils that in quotation marks are essential oils, but, you know but they’re something that you found on amy. Exactly.
So all of these things play a part in why it’s always best to seek out a professional, which is what I feel like we all should do for anything. If it’s a doctor, a dermatologist, a dentist, even our hair. Our hair, you don’t want to do it yourself.
You want to seek out a professional to give you their advice. And they will usually, hopefully, if you find one that knows what they’re doing and they’re credentialed, they will help you and you will see results in weeks compared to trying to do it yourself, where it can take months and never happen. Sometimes, yes. There’s this other thing I was reading about that I heard is going to be a hot topic in Skincare in 2023 called slugging, which is apparently after you do your nighttime skin care routine, you put Aquaphor Vaseline over everything. Can you explain this?
So I actually am a fan of this, depending on, once again, skin type and what service that you’re performing, and post service. So I do definitely more medical, facials, laser treatments where the skin is we’re causing harm to the skin in a good way. We’re creating superficial wounds in the skin to create collagen, build up the skin, but in the meantime, we’re causing this inflammation. So the body’s response to that is to build up the collagen from underneath and really help with texture, acne, scars, wrinkles, et cetera. So I love using Aquaphor and this type of slugging for my patients because I will give them a post treatment cream, serum, et cetera, cleanser, and then I have them apply this on top when they sleep so that it acts as a barrier.
Right. So it’s an occlusive. So everything that you have put on the skin, applied to the skin prior is really trapped is kind of a crazy word, but it’s basically a barrier underneath there. So that whether your pillowcase has bacteria or anything that could possibly cause any more inflammation or redness is protected by that barrier. That being said, you can also do this with your products, right?
So it doesn’t have to be necessarily after a post treatment laser. It can be during the winter months if you’re really dry, if you have psoriasis issues, if you have a lot of scaling in the face, very thin skin that gets kind of flaky and just really dry. Some of my older patients have this where their skin is just thinned out over the years. Do that topical of that Aquaphor, even Vaseline, and it really does act as that barrier and it keeps all of those products from being compromised and really working. I am so excited about this because I have extraordinarily dry skin.
Like it’s so dry. And I’m going to try this starting this week. I love Aquaphor, I’m a believer in it. So I’m going to try this. Lastly, I want to talk a little bit about something called psychodermatology, which is this.
It sort of addresses the interaction between the mind and the skin and it’s sort of like how the mind can affect the skin and then how the skin ends up affecting mental health. So basically teenagers, for instance, who have really bad cystic acne, it affects their anxiety and depression and then their anxiety and depression in turn creates cortisol, which then only exacerbates and worsens their acne. So have you had any patient have you seen this in any of your patients? I have, and it’s tricky because a lot of us have seen myself included. Dermatologists can be great for many skin conditions, but a lot of times they can throw certain prescriptions towards every single patient if they think it’s sort of like the same types of three prescriptions.
I mean, even retinols, it’s a glycolic or benzel peroxide cleanser. And necessarily it’s not all one and done right for each patient. Each patient is very individual. And so I’ve had patients come see me after kind of seeing different dermatologists, et cetera, and they’re depressed. Their skin looks, their scarring, their acne is not clearing up.
They don’t want to go to school. They try to cover it with makeup, which is then making it worse and they’re using drugstore, makeup. So it’s just problem on top of problem on top of problem. And I’ve definitely had patients where they’ve come in almost in tears. They’ve tried everything and they’re mentally affected by it.
They don’t want to date, they don’t want to, like I said, go to a school dance. They wear the hoodies now and they’re wearing products that are trying to use they’re drying out their skin with products they shouldn’t be using. Once again, their PH balance is thrown off, so nothing is working for them. This is definitely something that is happening more and more with a lot of the patients. Sun can temporarily make it look better, but then it really makes it look worse after they get the tan, they get the sunburn, and it looks better for a couple of weeks, and then it actually makes the skin worse because of the sun.
Sebaceous glands can be overactive. So it’s tricky. And not even with just acne, it can be hair removal. I mean, I know it’s more so I know it’s a hot topic with acne, but I had a patient who had overactive hair, and she was at a job she didn’t like. She wasn’t dating.
We did six sessions of laser hair removal. She was very fair, so you could see even if she shaved or waxed, you could see the hair follicles through the skin. And we finally pretty much got all the hair removed through laser hair removal. And she came in and she was crying to me, and she said, I found a new job. I had the confidence to go out and actually go to an interview.
I felt so much better about myself that I could finally quit the job that I hated so much. And I’ve got a dating app, and this was just for six sessions of laser hair removal, which is why I love my job so much. But I’ve done the same for acne patients who have struggled and just beautiful inside and out and just really not feeling confident at all, not wanting to enjoy life, not wanting to do the things that teenagers should be doing because they just are so embarrassed and they just are so hurt. And so if I can do something like that, that’s one of my favorite things about my job, is really turning when women get older. I love that as well.
You start feeling down wrinkles and all that, but when I can really help a teen who is struggling and they don’t even want to see anyone, and you can turn that around for them in months, it’s the best. It’s the best feeling. That’s why I love my job so much. And being her sister, I get to hear these stories, and then I’ll visit her office and her patients will come out, and they’re always like, she’s the best. Because I think it’s like a relationship.
When you have a good esthetician, it becomes a relationship because they’re making you feel better. And when your self esteem is heightened, everything in life feels better. So, yeah, if you’re a person that something’s going on with your skin and it’s really affecting you, or you have a child that this is happening with, you definitely need to see. I feel like we all need to see an esthetician after this conversation. I just feel like we’re all scrambling around trying to do all these things to our skin, and it’s like probably most of us don’t know what we’re doing, but without some, I do because I have a sister as an esthetician.
But anyway and I think a lot of people feel like it’s something that is almost like getting a massage, something that’s like a glorified a little bit. And instead, it’s really more of your outside health, right, and taking care of your outside as much as you take care of your inside. And just like Susanna said, when you look your best, you can do your best, right? You feel more confident in talking to people and work at your work.
You want to be out there and enjoying life instead of hiding at your house or trying to cover up just little flaws. And we all have these it’s very common. We all have something right, that is affecting us on the outside. And if you can find someone that do your research, Google, all of these are great outlets. Now to referrals referrals to, find that person that can really turn it around.
And once you do that, it can really just keep you feeling better for forever. I mean, the skin is the largest organ exactly on the body, and yet we give it a lot of the times, the least attention and least care, which is why people get sunburned and they don’t think it’s a big deal until later. And they have skin cancer. They have some issue. Yeah.
And she had a dental appointment or procedure recently, and they were talking about how we give so much more concern to all of the systems below the neck and then the ones above the neck. We just sort of like, oh, it’ll be fine. Talking about our teeth and our mental health and our skin care. It’s like we push that to the background. Instead, we constantly go into the doctor for reasons below the neck.
And so I just think, hopefully, in this next phase of enlightenment with people, it’s like the head is so important because our teeth, our mental health, our skin, I mean, those things are just as important as the rest of the body. Exactly. Well, thank you, Susanna. You’re so smart. I’m so proud of her.
Thank you for allowing me to be part of this. I love this. And, you guys, Susanna is amazing, so she’s so smart. And you have to keep following this because she’s going to give you so much great advice and so much wisdom on everything that she’s learned in life. And because I’m going to be interviewing people like Savannah, she does have a fun Instagram page where you put, like, before and after pictures.
Skin by Savannah. Skin underscore by underscore Savannah, yes. Where she gives tips and suggestions and shows before and after photos and stuff like that. So thanks for being with us today, and I hope everyone, if I’m not with you before, has a fun New Year’s Eve. Yes.
Thank you. All right, see you next time. Bye.
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