Balanced, hydrated and happy skin! (Oh, and a famous Berlin landmark behind me.)

Hi, I’m Abby, and I’m dedicated — maybe even obsessed — Skin Pharm patient. Skin Pharm products and procedures have completely changed my skin and streamlined my routine, because when your skin looks this great, you don’t need as much makeup! But more than anything, Skin Pharm has given me confidence in (literally) facing the world each day. I genuinely feel comfortable in my skin for the first time, and that’s why I’m a loyal Skin Pharm patient for life!

I turned 40 this year, and my primary skin concerns are anti-aging, pigmentation, and avoiding breakouts (if you had told 13-year-old Abby that she’d be fighting zits at 40, she would’ve locked herself in her bedroom). I travel a lot, so I’m often dealing with weird time zones, unpredictable schedules, and different water/air that my slightly sensitive skin has to adjust to. Maegan Griffin gave me some great tips for how to care for my skin when I’m on the road or in the air, so I want to share them with you.

Travel-sized bottles and where to stash them

First of all, make sure you buy quality travel-sized bottles for your products. I love this set because the squeezable bottles are easy to use, the bottles have a wide opening for easy filling, and the caps have no-drip valves, making these bottles truly spill-proof. These containers are perfect for your favorite Skin Pharm serums, creams and SPF as you only need to bring as much product as you need, making these an easy fit in your carry-on. You can fit several of these bottles into your TSA-approved ziplock bag.

Which brings me to my next tip: If possible, put your skin care products in your carry-on or your personal item that you bring on the plane rather than your checked luggage. I’m in Berlin, Germany right now, and it took 11 days for my checked luggage to arrive. That alone made me age about 10 years, so thank goodness I had all my favorite Skin Pharm products — see below — to calm my jet-lagged skin (and thank goodness I got Botox from Maegan right before I left Nashville). Additionally, if you’re traveling in extreme temperatures, it’s better to keep your skin care products from being exposed to very high or low temperatures, as that can break down the effectiveness of the powerful ingredients that treat your skin.

Skin care in the air

If you’re flying, be sure to stay hydrated, especially if you’re enjoying all the free booze on an international flight (guilty). It’s best to fly sans makeup, especially on long flights, and for extra care, Maegan suggested that I put Epionce’s Enriched Firming Mask on my cleansed face before the flight. My tired skin soaked up the entire mask, and upon landing, I splashed cold water on my face. My skin looked and felt nourished and refreshed, and I felt ready to face anything, even lost luggage.

My daily Skin Pharm routine

Each morning after exercising I use the Papaya Enzyme Purifying Cleanser.  I’m not going to lie, I never put much thought into my actual skin cleanser before, as I figured it was more important to invest in serums or creams, but this cleanser is amazing for my combination, somewhat sensitive skin, and I now understand how important the right cleanser is for your skin type. After cleansing, I use the Clarifying Pads, which have been a lifesaver, especially on my current trip as the air is more humid than I expected. Back in Nashville, I only use these pads twice a week, but in Berlin I need them every day to keep breakouts away. My skin feels firmer and cleaner after I use them each morning.

Next, I use the peptide- and hyaluronic acid-packed Youth Serum. I was surprised by how much I love this product; I always thought I needed a heavier moisturizer in the morning, but this fast-absorbing serum gently hydrates my skin and creates a good base for my SPF, the Sheer Defense SPF. If I was only allowed to bring one product with me, it would be this universally-tinted sunscreen. I’ve been searching for the perfect tinted sunscreen for years, and this is the only one that doesn’t have a chalky finish, leaving me looking like a ghost. As I’m very fair and sunburn easily, this SPF gives me the protection I need (and as a good Skin Pharm patient, I never leave the house without SPF!). This formula reduces redness and has just a hint of tint, which means that I don’t need additional makeup.

Always apply SPF before eating cake for breakfast.

At night, after I use the Papaya Cleanser, I alternate between the Antioxidant Boosting Serum to correct pigmentation and fight free radical damage, and the Retinol Drops, which combat fine lines and wrinkles, dark spots and melasma. I like that it’s a powerful retinol-based treatment that doesn’t irritate my skin. Following the serum, I use the Brightening Lotion, a lightweight moisturizer that promotes an even skin tone while fighting dullness. On nights when I need a little more hydration, I use the Biotherapy Cream, an intensely moisturizing cream with high performance ingredients like stem cells (from apples) and resveratrol. This cream is great if you’ve spent the day at the beach or on the mountains, or anywhere out in the elements.

I hope these tips are as helpful to you as they were to me. Safe travels!

It’s hard to be upset about lost luggage when you’re at a sunset bridge party!

 

I had microneedling done for the first time about two months ago, and I was immediately hooked.

Not familiar with microneedling? It’s a procedure that uses a device with tiny, shallow needles that create even tinier holes in the skin’s surface. This stimulates collagen and elastin production, which can plump the skin, fill in fine lines and break up scar tissue, resulting in a more youthful appearance. (For those of you who have seen a DIY version that you can buy online, file this treatment under “best left to the experts,” like a bikini wax.)

I’m 38 years old and my biggest skin concerns are anti-aging and anti-acne. I also have some discoloration on my skin from years of being out in the sun (oops) but I am now very diligent about wearing SPF 50 every day and doing things I didn’t do in my 20s and early 30s, like washing my face every night and adhering to a skin care routine that Maegan Griffin, NP-C recommended for me. Oh, and Botox! Who doesn’t love Botox?

Anyway, I had a lot of friends comment on how dewy and youthful my skin looked after my first microneedling procedure, but they were wary about things like whether the procedure is painful (it isn’t) and how much downtime they’d need to account for (not much).

Here’s what you can expect from microneedling, from the day of your procedure and the following week.

Day 1:

I arrived at Skin Pharm, removed my makeup and applied numbing cream to my face. I took the opportunity to flip through every magazine in the room (such fun!) while the numbing cream took effect, and then Megan returned to start the procedure with the SkinStylus, which resembles a tiny magic wand. As she’d been there for my first microneedling appointment, she noticed that my skin wasn’t reacting as strongly — it wasn’t as red, and I didn’t have any bleeding (it’s totally normal to have minor blood beading from the needles — you don’t feel it as you’re totally numb, and they heal incredibly quickly). Maegan noted that we were even going about a millimeter deeper than we went the previous time, which means the microneedling was doing it’s job — my skin was growing stronger.

If you’re worried about what it feels like, I can attest that it does not hurt. The microneedling feels like a combination of a vacuum and a razor, and while you may feel some minor pressure around your jawline — and some major tickling around your nose! — it isn’t painful at all.

The whole thing took less than 15 minutes. Maegan spread some post procedure cream on my face and I headed straight to the nail salon to get a pedicure (in case you didn’t notice, I was totally having a “me” day, ha). I thought I was going to get some weird looks, but nobody seemed to notice — it looked like I had a mild sunburn. I even met a friend for drinks after that — she was curious about microneedling and wanted to see what I looked like — and she was surprised by how normal I looked! I didn’t wear makeup the rest of the day and used the gentle cleanser Maegan instructed me to use that evening. I re-applied the post procedure cream before bed.

Day 2:

When I woke up my skin felt a little tight, but most of the redness had faded from the previous day. I rinsed my face and put post procedure cream and SPF on before using my regular BB cream (by Dr. Jart). Even in the harsh, ridiculously unflattering fluorescent light in my office bathroom, my skin looked totally normal. It still felt a little dry, so I was happy to wash my face when I got home and applied more medical barrier cream.
Without makeup.
With makeup.

Day 3:

My skin was a little dry and flaky, but returned to normal as soon as I put more moisturizer and SPF on. I don’t know if you can tell in the picture, but my skin was GLOWING. I barely needed any BB cream as the skin tone looked much more even, and overall I just looked refreshed and renewed. I continued to use the gentle post procedure face wash, but used my regular night cream and serums prescribed by Maegan Griffin.
Without makeup.
With makeup.

Day 4:

I was definitely having a little more peeling on Day 4, so I used a mild exfoliant to get the dead skin off before applying my moisurizer and SPF. Once again, as soon as I put the BB cream on, everything looked normal. Well, better than normal — glowing, even skin tone, refreshed. I used my exfoliating cleanser that evening and my aforementioned night cream/serum combo.
Without makeup.
With makeup.

Day 5:

By Day 5 my skin felt hydrated — the flaking had pretty much disappeared at this point and I hardly needed any BB cream to even out my skin tone. I did my normal skin care routine at night and everything felt back to normal!
Without makeup.
With makeup.

Day 6:

I woke up to a stupid hormonal pimple on my cheek – FOILED. Fortunately the rest of my face looked fabulous and it was easy to conceal so I didn’t stress over it. I hadn’t been using my usual anti-acne treatment as I was worried it would dry out my skin as it healed from the microneedling, but I used it this morning and at night along with my regular skin care routine.

Without makeup.

With makeup.

Day 7:

Thank goodness I have the photo to prove this as I wouldn’t believe it, but that pimple disappeared overnight. Not sure if that’s a benefit of the microneedling, but I woke up to clear, even, glowing skin. I even made it another makeup-free day because I didn’t feel like I needed it. If you had told me a few years ago that I’d be voluntarily going makeup-free, I wouldn’t have believed you. That’s one of the best things about getting into a good skincare routine — once you figure out what works for you, it streamlines your entire beauty routine because you’re not wasting time concealing your skin. Microneedling actually treats and improves your skin, and there’s nothing to hide about healthy skin, right?

Without makeup.

You can find more information about Microneedling at Skin Pharm here.