Breaking Out: Before and After

I’ve been lucky to have decent-enough skin for the moderate effort I put into it. I had some pimples as a teen, but definitely not acne. I have the rare hormonal breakout and my skin definitely shows signs of sun damage and aging, but I think I’ve been fortunate. Recently, a ton of changes at once caused my skin to freak out in a painful way.

Yikes! I have never had breakouts this bad, this was actually a bit painful.

I recently cut heavier bangs and switched shampoos. I’ve increased the amount of  sweat, gross lake water, heavy duty sport sun screen, and dog-slobber my skin sees. In hindsight, skin-rebellion was a sure thing.

To be fair, I should have gotten bad breakouts long before now considering the gross things I do to my skin!

My breaking point came the day laying down for a massage became too uncomfortable with the breakout on my forehead. I asked our esthetician Cassandra to overhaul my Rhonda Allison home care routine. She’s struggled with breakouts off and on and has lots of empathy and experience in treating them. She looked at what I was doing, subtracted a few products, and added some more. Surprisingly, she INCREASED the moisturizing I was doing.

My recommendations from Cassandra, which I followed pretty well (though sometimes used my BB Creme as my SPF.) I kept the image of the instructions on my phone to have handy while I got ready am/pm. The only fairly pricey product was the Mandelic Arginine and I decided it was worth the cost for the results.

Instead of masking just once, I used the wasabi mask twice in the week per Cassandra’s suggestion. She was right…it does start off a bit hot and tingly but it cooled off quickly and I think it really kick-started the healing for me the first night.

My first time using the Wasabi Mask. It was a bit toasty for a few minutes!

Within a couple of days the pain was gone and the hardest thing was not picking! I admit that I picked one area, which you’ll notice in the “after” image, but overall, I was thrilled with my results in a week of being very diligent with the home care. Too often we hear people say they don’t see results, but then they confess that they only used half of the recommended routine, or only did the routine for a couple of days then gave up.

In typical business-owner fashion, I decided to look on the bright side and see my skin “freak out” as a test of our professional advice and products and be glad I could document my progress for others who might be struggling. I tried guessing at a routine on my own for a few weeks, but it wasn’t working even though I was using good products. That’s where a licensed, professional esthetician comes in. Obviously what worked for me won’t work for everyone and I’m honestly surprised things cleared up so quickly.

After photo, totally smooth skin (minus the spot I couldn’t resist picking) just over a week after I started my home care.

If you are struggling with a breakout, or you have a history inflamed and uncomfortable acne, we have a few facial services that can be helpful in kicking off the healing when partnered with a good routine at home. The key is to stick to the advice and keep in touch with your professional esthetician. Want more information or to schedule? Consider starting with the “Clear Results” facial for true acne or the Wellness Facial for occasional breakouts.

How do massage therapists manage their own pain?

One of the most frequently asked questions I heard when I was practicing massage was “how often do YOU get a massage?” As massage therapists, we learn to get a good read on our bodies and learn what works well to prevent or manage our own pain.  Some of the LMTs on our team shared what works best for them, and their favorite referrals.

Camdine: I use a Lacrosse ball on my hips, back, and neck to massage painful spots. Camdine also uses locally produced Rapid Fire to reduce pain.

Julie: Daily stretches, epsom salt and Kneipp arnica bath soaks 3x week, a glass of warm Pure Inventions Tranquility tea (with magnesium) before bed, Rapid Fire to control small areas of pain, regular massages and chiropractic care as needed.

Julie’s favorite nighttime  drink is the Pure Inventions Tranquility which contains chamomile, passion flower, and magnesium.

Jamee: I use acupressure as a cure for everything but death, and I haven’t died yet. I see my personal massage therapist (co-worker Tiffany) regularly. I also purchased a Yoga trapeze that is a miracle for low back pain.

Heather: Massage 2-3x a month, regular visits with chiropractor Dr. Pulley (East Village Chiropractic)

Our employees massage each other and also see therapists outside the spa when their co-workers are booked. We all know the importance of “practicing what we preach!”

Hannah M: Staying active after a hard day reduces tension for me.

Jamee (cont’d): …On second thought, I should get a med alert bracelet made up that says in an emergency, call my massage therapist (Tiffany.)

Brandi: Yoga and using a foam roller, a 30 minute daily walk, get adjusted at Shine Chiropractic weekly, Fadeaway Flotation monthly.

Tisha: Rapid fire for aches, pains, and headaches, cupping therapy, foam roller, yoga, and a monthly massage (more often when needed!)

Most of our employees swear by Rapid Fire for muscle aches and tension headaches.

Conny: I’m not in pain often, but if it happens, I either overworked something or an emotional issue came up. For physical pain, I use rapid fire and a soak in a hot bath with epsom salts, receive massage twice a month. A good book, a glass of wine, and a friend for heartache.


Conny is especially partial to Kneipp bath salts because like her, they are from Germany.

Cassie: The older I get the more my joints act up, especially after running, biking, and swimming. In addition to regular massage, I see Dr. Pulley for chiropractic care when I overdo it or something feels “off.” I have done regular pilates at Gigi’s Pilates for about 6 years. Sometimes stretching isn’t the answer (or isn’t the only answer). The strengthening techniques in Pilates really help my low back and knees from screaming after longer runs.

If I miss to many pilates sessions, my body rebels and I get low back spasms that make it hard to run. I have learned the importance of strength training to keep everything working like it should!

Want to try massage therapy or one of our favorite pain relieving products for your own aches and pains? Stop into East Village Spa at 601 East Locust or book online!

Managing Workplace Stress

One of my best friends had been solidly in the “Massage is weird, I’ll never get a massage” camp for years. He finally confessed that this year he tried massage and has been getting them regularly ever since. I asked him what prompted him to try, when all of my prodding for years didn’t convince him. His reply “work was getting to be too much and I didn’t know what else to do to manage it.”

Even if you love your job, work can be stressful! In fact, 65% of Americans cited work as the #1 contributor to stress in their lives (2012 APA’s Annual Stress in America Study). The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has increased focus on stress as a workplace safety and health concern.

Even working in a spa, which would seem to be a low-stress job (to people who don’t work in a spa!) requires our team to carefully monitor their emotions and manage stress levels, both at home and at work. We see people at their most vulnerable and need to be sure we can be calm and present with them so we’ve become not only experts in relieving stress for others, but in practicing self care to keep our stress at bay and not absorb the stress from clients we’re working with.

At the spa, we hear anecdotal evidence from our guests that stressful issues at work (unclear demands, limited growth opportunities, time management concerns, supervisors, even workplace bullies) are a main reason they visit the spa. While our providers can’t change your work situation, we can offer coping mechanisms. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) studied the effects of massage therapy on ICU nurses and found statistically significant benefits to nurses who received massage therapy to manage stress over those who did not.

A Canadian pilot study of seated workplace massage showed short-term benefits of 20 minute weekly seated massage on employees in stressful work environments and suggested further research is needed to see long-term benefits of such a program. The Touch Research Institute of Miami showed that a 15 minute chair massage was more beneficial than a typical 15 minute break in reducing anxiety and also improved cognitive performance. Forbes recommends that executives regularly receive massage to reduce workplace stress, increase productivity, and increase sleep.

Work stress is serious! Don’t take it from us, take it from the American Psychological Association. This is a great article on tips to manage your work stress from the pros.

When it feels like too much, sometimes a visit to the spa can help you feel like yourself again, whether it is a stress relieving massage, facial, or both. Learn more about our services or schedule time to refresh and de-stress here.