My 2017 Skincare Treatment Routine


It’s no doubt that many of us spend countless hours in the gym, studio, on the mat, Whole Foods, and in the kitchen to better our bodies. But so often our LARGEST organ goes unkempt or in some cases – neglected entirely. Our SKIN.

I’ve been skincare obsessed for about 20 years. I suffered from maj acne as a pre-teen, teenager and young adult. Now that I think about it, my acne woes stayed with me until my mid-twenties. Woof.

Over the years, I’ve tried everything from Accutane, over the counter crap, prescription topical creams, masks, tonics and designer skincare with LITTLE success. While I wouldn’t say my skin magically cleared overnight, there was a drastic improvement as I entered my late 20’s and early 30’s. But I can confidently say that until now – my skin has NEVER looked better.

Let’s pause there for a moment. Does everyone remember that Sex and the City where Samantha gets a chemical peel and ends up looking like a beekeeper to hide her RAW face?! Girl, same. I had an experience in the early 2000’s that scarred me for life. Like, I looked like I willingly stuck my face in a fire. Anytime anyone mentioned peeled I shuttered in complete horror vowing, “NEVER AGAIN.”

That is until I met my FAIRY GOD BISH, Tara, at SpaDerma. I’m telling you, stop reading and just reach out to her now. Except don’t – keep reading and then reach out to her. She’ll change your life! Just let me tell you why.

Like most thirty something’s I was feeling as though my skin was looking a bit dull, haggard (ugh), and lackluster from little sleep, excessive sweating, and general dehydration. I met Tara at the gym, and she convinced me to come in for treatment but was ADAMANT about no peels, which she laughed, “peels have come a long way, and the one SpaDerma uses is so gentle.” Okay, fine.

We did one PCA Peel, and after that, I was in her office every two weeks treating myself to whatever she recommended. I was hooked. She’s a genius.


Day one, after my first PCA peel. No make-up. No filter. Just beautiful skin and the best bathroom lighting you’ll ever find at Barry’s River North

The Routine

Before pregnancy, we alternated skincare “cocktails” every two weeks. We’d do dermaplaning and a PCA peel one session, followed by microneedling the next. Per Tara, ideally, each treatment is done in a series of 3-6 at 4-week intervals (depending on your goals). Each treatment will build on the previous and enhance the results of the next. #baimoney

I asked Tara to break down each of these three procedures to explain what they are and why they’re so beneficial.

Check it – from Tara herself! 

PCA Skin Chemical Peels

These peels are genuinely one of my favorite treatments! PCA is all about customization, and there are tons of options for every skin type and condition. For example, lactic acid is excellent for hydrating and brightening, while salicylic acid is good for acne and congestion in the pores. I choose each treatment based on your concerns and your goals and often switch up the combination with each session. Immediate benefits include improving clarity in the pores, brightening dull skin, and softening fine lines. And long-term results help melasma and acne.


With the QUEEN herself (and her fucking amazing cheekbones) at Barry’s! Three days post-peel (not my first rodeo, different treatment from the picture above, but an example of the recovery). My skin is make-up free; you can see visible peeling along my temples, chin, and smile lines it’s so satisfying. 


Real quick: Remember my stories when I thought this was called DERMAPLATING?


Back to Tara.

Dermaplaning is a precise method of exfoliation that removes the top layer of dead skin done with a specific blade. While it’s not a method of hair removal, it will remove vellus hair (peach fuzz). I always pair it with another treatment (like a peel) to allow for more in-depth penetration and enhanced results.


Jesus, that’s disgusting, this was my first treatment during my pregnancy. My last facial was a good 3-4 months before, causing all this build up. I know, I let myself go. I don’t’ even know what I was doing with my life. 


Microneedling, aka collagen induction therapy, is a treatment that builds collagen and therefore improves your skin’s texture, the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and helps minimize pores, scars, and pigmentation.

With both the peels and the microneedling, there is a bit of recovery time. Your face will appear red and feel tight for the first 24 hours post-treatment, and there is peeling afterward. Like, people will probably stare at you and think, “Wtf?” but you won’t care because you’ll know the results are WORTH IT.

Directly after a microneedling treatment. Also, please look at my right hand, clearly in the middle of a V interesting story.

Left: Three hours after microneedling. Center: The day after treatment. Right: Three days. ALL MAKE-UP FREE.

Update: The Routine During Pregnancy

But wait…Twist.

Because some of the acids from the peels and the numbing solution from microneedling* can penetrate into the bloodstream, Tara says that you have to avoid them during pregnancy and lactation. Shit!

After we learned of bébé, we’ve revamped my treatments to exclude the peels and include the PCA Oxy Trio facial since it is a great alternative that is appropriate during pregnancy. Tara explained to me, “It helps to detoxify and oxygenate the skin, which will help with hormonal breakouts and give the skin that amazing glow.” Of course, she’s right.

One hour post Dermaplaning + Oxy Facial. Dewy. Fresh. Glowing. That ain’t from all from bébé, people!

An Investment Worth Making

My skin currently looks better than it ever has before and I credit her entirely. I could be hosting that “pregnancy glow, ” but really, I think it’s all because of these treatment cocktails.

Is it pricey?


But it’s an investment in yourself, and in my opinion, one that’s worth making. Tara even compared working out to skincare, “Results take time, and they don’t happen overnight. But like any training program, the more you do it, the more change you experience.”

For me, these treatments have been so worth the time, money, commitment, and recovery to have a clean and bright complexation that looks flawless without filters or makeup.

Interested in a consultation? Give Tara at SpaDerma a shout.


Some Fine Print

Microneedling is not necessarily unsafe during pregnancy. At SpaDerma they apply a topical numbing cream which they omit during pregnancy and lactation. However, most patients are not able to tolerate the treatment without it. Also because your skin is more sensitive during pregnancy, you’re prone to melasma (hormonal hyperpigmentation) and a longer recovery time than usual.

Also, this is NOT a sponsored post! I was NOT paid to do this. These thoughts are all my own. Tara is a dear friend and a brilliant esthetician. I started as a first-time client, became obsessed, and received so many comments and questions on my Instagram stories that I thought I would compile my routine and share. Comment below or shoot me a DM with any questions or concerns! 

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