I consider myself pretty basic and low-maintenance when it comes to girly things like fashion or skincare, but after two babies in two years, my skin was crying for some love. My pregnancies triggered melasma and discoloration and of course the fine lines continued to appear with every hour of sleep I missed. I tried a lot of skincare products to address the melasma, as well as makeup to cover the discoloration, but nothing did the trick. Instead of continuing to invest money in products that made very little difference, I went on a search to find in-office aesthetics treatments that could address my concerns. While these treatments aren’t a silver bullet for anti-aging or instilling a magic level of self-confidence, they have enhanced how I feel in my own skin and have given me the mini beauty boost I desired. I completely respect those that consciously forgo these treatments and embrace natural aging, I’m just sharing my personal experience!
I have quite a few friends that do in-office treatments on the regular, like chemical peels, laser hair removal, botox, and more. I essentially surveyed my friends and acquaintances to narrow down which practices I wanted to research in Knoxville. From there, I did a basic google search, browsed websites, and read reviews. Next, I did a thorough creeping on Instagram; most practices will post before and after photos and give education on their different service offerings. As a last step, I called a few practices to ask some questions, get a feel for the practice and understand pricing. I felt like if I was going to let someone treat my face, I better feel confident they would do a good job.
My search led me to Culture Aesthetics and Wellness. They have a strong social media presence, which allowed me to get a feel for the providers and see their “work.” I also liked that their team is really focused on education in the field of aesthetics and they even lead continuing education classes for other providers in town. In my research, I got the sense they were not only professional experts, but were well respected by their industry peers. They won me over.
My main concern was the melasma/discoloration that was lingering from pregnancy hormones, especially above my upper lip (hello, mustache!).
I first connected with one of Culture’s Master Estheticians, Laura Price, and had a 30-minute consultation with her to discuss my concerns and desired outcomes. This was important because it helped me feel at ease and come up with a treatment plan to address my skin discoloration and texture. Some treatments take multiple sessions, so it is good to know the plan up front, especially when you are working with a budget.
To address discoloration and texture, Laura did two sessions each of Lumecca IPL and SkinPen Microneedling. IPL uses intense pulsed light to treat pigmented lesions and improve the complexion and clarity of the skin. It’s great for concerns like age, spots, spider veins, rosacea, and sun damage. We coupled this treatment with SkinPen Microneedling, which stimulates collagen and elastin production, rejuvenating the skin. For both treatments, multiple sessions lead to best results; I needed two, but I am OBSESSED with the improvement I’ve seen. My skin has been overall bright and glowy and I don’t have to worry about covering dark spots with makeup (no more melasma mustache!). Neither treatment is painful thanks to numbing cream and there is also minimal downtime for both treatments. My skin was slightly pink from the microneedling for about 36 hours and I saw results really kick in around two weeks.
I entered treatment curious about botox, but was generally afraid of the idea. I didn’t want to look like a scary plastic person, but also wasn’t opposed to the idea of looking refreshed. I connected with one of Culture’s Injectors, Erica Oakes, for a consultation. I ended up deciding to get a small amount of botox in my forehead and around the eyes. Botox essentially blocks certain muscles from contracting, which can relax the facial muscles and fine lines. We agreed to take a very conservative approach to treatment; I wanted to be able to move my face, but look like I got a good night’s sleep. I also wanted to maintain the majority of my smile lines, because that’s what makes me, me! It took about ten days for the botox to set in and I was thrilled with my results. I felt like I looked more vibrant and rested overall, but not noticeably frozen. My husband even said he couldn’t tell, which I assured him was the point.
There are a few things you should know about aesthetic treatments.
First, if you are in your mom-era, some treatments are not recommended when pregnant or breastfeeding, so you will want to discuss this with your provider. Second, some treatments are more effective in the winter months when sun-exposure is lower. Winter is a great time of year for things like lasers and peels. Third, in-office treatments can be costly, so understanding the number of treatments needed and setting a budget is helpful. Around the holidays, you can snag deals by purchasing gift cards for future treatments. Personally, I would rather spend money on in-office treatments than on trying a bunch of expensive products. Lastly, what you put in your body is going to affect your skin. Practicing good health habits like drinking water, eating nutrient dense food, and getting consistent sleep is the best recipe for a youthful appearance.