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  • Writer's pictureTamara Schneider

Ask the Esthetician - Whatever the heck that is!

Updated: Sep 11, 2019

What is an esthetician? You may have heard this word before or not, but let me define it for you. An esthetician is basically a skin-care specialist, and should be part of any overall wellness program. You go to the doctor for your health, the gym for exercise, and an esthetician for your face. After all, it's what everybody sees, right? Spend a little time and effort on it and you will age gracefully and beautifully. So we thought it would be fun to ask our favorite skin-care bud, Sarah Stephens of Hourglass, to help demystify her occupation.

Question 1: Since you're the niece of our lifelong friend, Jerri, we know your background, but tell our readers how you came to be in the skin care biz and a bit about yourself.

Answer: Ever since I was a little girl I have had a huge interest in makeup and skincare. When my friends and I had sleepovers all I ever wanted to do was facials and makeup on them, and on my little sisters as well. I was very much a girly girl! As I got older, I started getting involved doing makeup for school plays and other events. When I started working at Sephora, I began doing makeup for my sisters and their friends for events such as proms and weddings...and putting makeup and doing facials on my then 2-year-old daughter. (I've created a monster, I know!) I knew I didn't ever want to do a regular desk job. As much as I loved all the makeup I was doing, I wanted more. I wanted to help change people's lives and help them to feel more confident about themselves, and not just for a day or a special event. So I decided to get my esthetician license. The minute I walked into class and started learning more about the skin, the anatomy of the face and how certain ingredients and techniques can help improve the overall appearance of someone's skin, I knew I was in the right field!

Question 2: What's the best thing about your job?

Answer: That's a tough question! I can honestly say I love everything about my job! I love doing treatments; I love the makeup; I love talking to people about skincare and their skin, and how to better themselves by getting them on a good skincare regimen. I think if I had to pick something that I love "the most" it's watching a client's skin change for the better, their confidence grow and how happy they are overall. It makes me feel good and so thankful that I do what I do and can truly help people.

Question 3: Why do you think there's been such an increase in the number of medspas in our area over the past several years?

Answer: The whole industry is growing significantly. People are now more aware of how important taking care of your skin is and how important using good, physician-grade skincare is. Back in the day, no one really took care of their skin. We baked in the sun and used bar soap to wash our faces. Now, we are all aware of the terrible effects of the sun and of the perils of using bad skincare products sold to us by people that haven't had any training in the field. Medical spas are becoming more popular because they're needed and people are realizing the need for them. Medspas require a physician to be the medical director in order to perform the optimal treatments and carry the physician-grade skincare lines with higher quality ingredients and higher percentages of the active ingredients that will show the best results.

Question 4: At what age would you recommend women start seeing an esthetician or a dermatologist?

Answer: I think a full-body scan once a year is so important starting at age 0. Learn the visible signs to look for skin cancer on your children, but take them to a dermatologist, too. Skin cancer is so scary and can be deadly. You can't be too cautious when it comes to your health. And it's never too early to start seeing an esthetician. Obviously, a younger person with healthy skin and high cell turnover rates won't need the same treatments or skincare regimen as a middle-aged woman. An esthetician can help anyone at any age get their skin to look its best. My now 6-year-old daughter washes her face and uses a gentle moisturizer every night with Mommy! Get in the habit at a young age and it will be easier to prevent damage and issues as you get older!

Question 5: My (Tamara's) favorite procedures are the dermaplaning and the microdermabrasion. What are your most popular services?

Answer: Here at Hourglass, which just recently opened, we do lash extensions which is a huge trend right now in the beauty industry. I have them myself and absolutely love how they make me look. Other popular treatments include micropeels and the Hydrafacial. However, it really depends on the client and their needs. I will customize things to perfectly suit each client.

Question 6: What's the best piece of advice you would offer to people regarding their skin?

Answer: The most important thing anyone can do is wear sunscreen. Every. single. day. The sun causes the most damage. Even just driving around in our cars, the rays are harmful. I tell people if nothing else, at the bare minimum cleanse your face, exfoliate regularly and wear sunscreen. I would also throw in there see your esthetician!

Question 7: Are the pharmaceutical-grade skincare products really that much better than what you can get over the counter?

Answer: Pharmaceutical-grade skincare products compared to those sold over the counter are better because the ingredients. Legally, over-the-counter skincare companies cannot put a high enough active ingredient in their products for there to make a huge difference in the skin, so they are forced to use other fillers, some of which are not good for the skin. Medical grade skincare is backed by research and studies and the companies invest millions to get the best, most active ingredients. The reason these can only be sold by medical professionals is the ingredients are so high and potent that they require you to be thoroughly trained and know the skin inside and out to administer it correctly and prevent adverse reactions as much as possible. If you're seeing a medical skin expert, you're pretty much guaranteed to get the best products and the highest possible results for your skin.

Thanks, Sarah, for answering our questions! I hope this helps clear up exactly what an esthetician is and inspires people to take a more active approach in taking care of their skin if they aren't already. Sarah is now at the newly opened Hourglass, Lexington's first and only skin and lash bar. To watch Sarah perform the Micropeel process, click here or visit their website at!

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