Many people don’t start seeing an esthetician until their 20s or 30s, when they have a little extra cash on hand. I don’t blame them; it often feels like a luxury you can’t afford and it’s not always clear what they can offer you that a doctor can’t. For one thing, their priorities a slightly different. A physician is focused on a disease, its current presentation, and sometimes they can forget about the person trying to manage it. Doctors are very helpful when things go haywire and you need a serious reset, or some prescription-strength skin therapy.
An esthetician doesn’t have the ability to prescribe medical-grade medications, but they have more tools at their disposal than you or I. They’re a great goldilocks for trying to manage your skin. They get very intimate with your pores and help you optimize your physical appearance should you want the guidance. If you’re looking for the wellness approach and some tips you can easily implement at home, an esthetician might be the right call. Think of a facial like a private lesson where you can learn more strategies for taking care of your skin.
This week we interviewed Jordana Mattioli, licensed medical esthetician and sought-after beauty expert, who is known for her high-tech facials that use the latest anti-aging technologies, techniques and innovative products to create results-oriented treatments for each client. She has been profiled as a Top Esthetician numerous times in Allure, W, Vogue, and Glamour. Her equally impressive client list includes celebrities and models who entrust their skin to Jordana.
How did you get started as an esthetician?
It was probably in high school that I really started taking an interest in skincare because I developed acne over one summer. My mom let me order the "Pro-Activ" set of acne products that were on TV infomercials all the time. Looking back on that now, I think that established some good habits, like how to stick with a routine. I was always so careful trying new products, mostly worrying "Will this product make my skin breakout?" I was terrified of acne coming back. So many of us around that age struggled with our self-esteem: our skin, our body, our teeth, our hair. At the time, it seemed having my skin clear was one thing I could control with the 'right' products, so I was always reading and researching as much as I could. During my second year in college I decided I wanted to eventually go to esthetics school.
Thinking back on it now, I really didn't know exactly what area of skincare I wanted to do with my esthetics license. I received my esthetics license in 2001 here in NYC and have been working ever since. I’ve worked in a few types of settings, from spa to plastic surgery. Being exposed to many different aspects and approaches in skincare, training with so many great brands, and having amazing colleagues to learn from have all shape my process today.
What makes you passionate about what you do?
I am blessed to have chosen a career path I love very much. Being able to help someone's skin concerns and make them look good and feel good absolutely has a positive impact on me as well! It's an emotionally rewarding profession. It's also a lot of problem solving, because everyone has different concerns, so I'm constantly being challenged and never bored. My passion for learning is intense, and the skincare industry is so rapidly changing-- so I really enjoy the continuing education aspect of the job.
Can you describe some of the high-tech procedures that you perform in your facials? What are their benefits?
One of my favorite devices is my OmniLux Medical LED, which is has more FDA clearances than any other LED device, not to mention its been validated in over 30 peer-reviewed published studies, the science is there -and I've seen amazing results with it over the years from treating acne to healing the skin so quickly post procedure. Plus its so relaxing for the client! Another go-to is a machine from Environ, which uses Pulsed Iontophoresis (a specific electrical current) to facilitate serum penetration into the cells and Sonophoresis (sound waves) to transport those molecules through the skin.
When should you visit a facialist vs. a dermatologist?
It really depends on the issue! For fillers, botox, skin diseases, and serious lasers - that should all be done with a dermatologist. There are absolutely times when prescription drugs are necessary, while an experienced esthetician will generally be more knowledgeable about over the counter skincare. A good esthetician should be able to know their limitations on skin issues and when to recommend you see a doctor. From an acne or anti-aging perspective, I feel both will offer effective solutions and great results.
What does your at-home skincare routine look like?
My at home routine is what I recommend to everyone:
- A cleanser
- An exfoliator (a leave on product with alpha and or beta hydroxy acids)
- Hydration with a purpose (can be in the form of liquid, cream, lotion, or oil ...that also contains cell communicating ingredients, antioxidants and peptides )
- A vitamin A product (retinol or retinoid)
For acne, my favorite ingredient would Salicylic Acid because of its ability to cut through oil and really calm the skin. For wrinkles my fave are hyaluronic acids, they plump up fine lines instantly!
Use enough sunscreen AND re-apply often. When I demonstrate how much sunscreen needs to be applied to get actual coverage, the clients jaw usually drops! Most people aren't putting on enough, or just don't know that their SPF doesn’t last all day. If you are wearing SPF and still getting color, then you're not applying enough or not re-applying.
When buying skincare, don't try more than one new thing at a time. That way, if your skin loves or doesnt love something, you'll be able to tell exactly what it is.