Interview with Breena Yates: Holistic Aesthetician

Keeping a body beautiful isn’t always easy. In my experience, it can actually be painful, like my trip to an aesthetician for a facial last year.

I enjoyed most of the experience until the aesthetician started poking at my sensitive facial skin with a sharp metal instrument. She explained that she was removing blemishes and opening my pores, but I couldn’t really hear much over my internal yelps of pain. Finally, after a minute or so I had enough and asked her to stop.

You know the common saying, “No pain, no gain”? I don’t believe in that. My motto is simply, “Nope. Not worth it.”

That’s one of the reasons why I was thrilled to interview Breena Yates, a holistic aesthetician who promotes non-invasive, toxin-free, and most importantly, painless skin care treatment. As Breena described her treatments during our interview, I kept asking her, “So, your skin care treatments work and they aren’t painful? Really?” She patiently kept reassuring me that, no, her treatments aren’t painful at all. Really.

During my interview with Breena, she described her training to become an aesthetician, the types of treatments she offers, why her treatments are often more effective than traditional treatments, and some of her client success stories. In fact, she’s been so successful that she is now expanding from her current small studio space to a 1500 square foot office with additional holistic therapies to complement her skin care treatments.

These are some of the highlights from our interview.

What kind of training did you complete in order to become an aesthetician?

I trained at an aesthetician school in Kansas. It took me 1,000 hours to complete the training – 7 and a half months going full-time.

We were taught the traditional methods – acids for peels, how to exfoliate, treatments like that. After I obtained my certification I started work at a Kansas City spa. In 2012, we moved back to Indianapolis, where I worked at another spa before going to work at a spa in Carmel. 

I wanted to learn more advanced skin care techniques, so I went to work for a dermatology practice for two and a half years. Finally, two years ago, I decided it was time to open my own studio. Here I am today.

You told me earlier that you love what you do. What do you love about being an aesthetician?

I’m just passionate about helping people, for one. I’m definitely an empath and love to make people happy and feel good. I’m also an ingredient and research junkie so I love the science behind skin and how skin works and how products work. I love helping people solve their skin issues so they can have healthy, happy skin.

When I got out on my own and started my business, I had the opportunity to work with a gazillion different lines of skin care. I spent about 6 months researching and figuring out what products I wanted to use in my studio. Finally, I found the product line Osmosis, which is my main skin care line now.

Why did you choose to use the Osmosis products in your practice and how are they different from other skin care products?

Osmosis is a holistic-based skin care company created by Dr. Ben Johnson. Dr. Johnson is a physician and an incredible scientist. He’s a traditionally trained M.D., but he moved into the skincare world about 20 years ago and developed this line in holistic-based formulas. Osmosis products contain a very active skin care formula that brings permanent change to your skin - not just temporary plumping of the skin but real change!

Osmosis product ingredients provide the fuel to create these permanent skin changes, while liposomes in the product ensure the delivery of the product to where it’s needed. These liposomes surround the ingredients, grab them and drag them down into the dermis of your skin. The dermis is where all nutrients, blood vessels, collagen and other skin elements live. That’s how Osmosis can create permanent, beneficial change in your skin.

Of the majority of the products out there on the market, only about 5% of them penetrate deep enough into your skin. This is why a lot of people have issues with those products - they’re just sitting on the top layer of your skin, which causes irritation.

I’ve completed certification training and passed a final examination in order to use Osmosis products, which took me about 6 months to complete.

Do a lot of traditional aestheticians use Osmosis and products like it?

No, traditional aestheticians normally use products that tend to irritate the skin. Many product lines have acid in them, such as salicylic, glycolic and benzol peroxide acids.

Traditional aestheticians are also doing invasive treatments like chemical peels and laser treatments. I don’t do any of those types of treatments in my practice. Everything is non-invasive. So, there is zero downtime and nothing that will cause excess inflammation in your skin.

Nikki: When you use the word holistic to describe your products and treatments, what do you mean? Do you use herbs?

Actually, in my practice, holistic isn’t so much about herbs. For me, holistic means that I offer more non-invasive treatments than traditional aestheticians. My treatments focus on healing skin problems and getting long-term results.

Do you think diet has a part in skin care?

Absolutely! Diet is huge and a big factor in skin care. Especially with acne. I see a lot of adults with acne, and I’ve found that their diet contributes to their acne problems.

How do you help them adjust their diet?

It’s all about education. I give them the resources and information that they need. A lot of people that struggle with acne are so desperate to clear their acne that they are willing to try anything to make the acne disappear. They have suffered with it for years and nothing has ever helped them. They’ve been to the dermatologist with no success, they’ve done all kinds of things without success.

I educate them on the internal factors inside their body that’s contributing to their issues because everything we put into our body will definitely affect how our skin looks. 

Once they know how they need to adjust their diets, we’ll break down their skin care products. Surprisingly, a lot of skin care products are not acne-safe.

We’ll also focus on their supplements. There’s always a few supplements that an acne client typically needs to take in order to get their skin clear, depending on where the acne is on their face. These supplements may include probiotics, which are great for gut health. Clients may also have a candida issue that contributes to their acne problem, or an overload of toxins in their system which comes from diet or environment. In those cases, we may put them on a supplement that helps with that, such as fish oil and Omega 3. Typically, I’ll also put them on a zinc supplement and a good probiotic to get them started.

I had a high school friend with terrible acne who took a popular prescription care product that didn’t work very well and had some unpleasant side effects. How are your products and treatments different from these more main-stream products?

A lot of these acne products and treatments tend to be ‘one-size-fits-all’. Unfortunately, acne is not a ‘one size fits all’ problem. Depending on where it presents on someone’s face and how the acne looks will indicate what’s going on inside the person’ body. The acne could be inflamed, it could be a pustule - there’s just a variety of things that can lead to acne. While acne is often caused by the bacteria that are present on their face and excess oil and hormones, there can also be a fungal factor to acne. 

My treatment is customized depending on what the client needs.

Do you have any success stories you would like to share?

Sure! Several acne clients come to mind.

I have one client in her late 20’s who has struggled with acne for years. Over the last 6 months, I’ve done both facials and LED therapy on her face. We also took a look at her supplements and diet, and the acne products she was using. She has a clean, healthy diet, so that wasn’t an issue. But I made recommendations for additional supplements and treatments.

A lot of my clients have busy lives, like this client, so I try to keep their home care as simple as possible to accommodate their busy schedules. I want to make sure their skincare routine is something they can keep up with on a daily basis.

After several months of treatment, her face is now beautiful and clear. She’s thrilled with how her skin looks now. I have other acne clients with similar results.

I also have clients with sun damage and age spots that I’ve had good success in treating. I do a lot of micro-current with my aging clients. This treatment is like having a facelift without the surgery. 

To do the micro-current treatment, I use some handpieces to tighten and tone your facial muscles to stimulate the release of ATP, which is the energy, or fuel, that our cells contain. The micro-current treatment stimulates the growth factors and collagen in our skin in order to tighten and hold portions of our face. It’s just a really nice way to rejuvenate our skin, lift eyelids, tighten the neck, get rid of fine lines, and all of those skin issues that come with aging.

Recently, I’ve been working with a triathlete who is running, biking, and swimming, so she has damage to her skin from the sun and from being out in the environment. Additionally, she has experienced physical changes in her skin from all the movement she does. So, we tried micro-current on her, and her skin looks great now! It also improved her sun damaged skin, as well. Her skin is beautiful and almost flawless now.

How much training do you think a person would need to be a holistic aesthetician?

It depends on how far they want to take it. I think the biggest thing is making the mind shift from traditional to holistic. We’ve been trained to use the invasive treatments, so a person switching to using holistic treatments will have to open their heart and mind to be able to accept the change.

This has been a 2-year evolution for me so far, and I’m continually taking classes and learning new holistic treatments and methods.

You told me earlier that you’re moving into a larger space in which you will offer additional services.

My new space will be 1500 square feet. A larger studio for me, two studios for massage therapy and a salt therapy room.

How will salt therapy and massage therapy help to enhance your skin care treatments?

Salt therapy has been around for generations. It’s a common therapy in Europe, where you sit in an actual cave made of Himalayan salt and breathe it in. Studies have found that this is therapeutic for people with COPD, asthma, sinus issues, allergies, and it also helps skin issues like psoriasis and acne.

In a salt therapy room, a halogenator finely grounds 99.9% pure Himalayan salt down and sends it out into the therapy room so a client can breathe it in and ingest it into their mouth and nose.

My goal is to incorporate the salt treatments into their skin care treatments – they’ll come have a treatment, and then go sit in the salt therapy room. It fits the mind-body-soul treatments that I advocate.

I will also offer guided meditations in the salt room, and possibly yoga in the future.

My massage therapists will also do treatments in the salt room.

You’ve mentioned a few of the treatments you offer, like LED lighting and micro-current. What additional kinds of treatments do you offer?

I do a lot of facials, but I don’t use the acids that are traditionally used. Instead, I use a lot of enzymes, like fruit and plant extracts, that are good at brightening the skin and clearing it of acne, fine lines, wrinkles. Enzymes are fabulous for that.

I also do a lot of Dermaplaning, which is a way to gently exfoliate the skin. To do this, I use a scalpel to gently go over the surface of your skin. It loosens and removes the top layer of skin, along with the ‘peach fuzz”. A lot of clients love that.

I also do a lot of treatments called Revitapen, which is a facial infusion. This infusion feeds your skin. I use a small handpiece with tiny tips on it. To begin the treatment, I make a cocktail of ingredients, depending on what your skin issues may be, such as dryness, pigment issues, and fine lines, and put this cocktail into the handpiece. I then use the handpiece to make tiny channels into your skin, sending all those ingredients into the lower layer. This doesn’t hurt at all - it actually feels really good!

As I said earlier, I also use LED lighting. I use one of the coolest devices available – the makers of this LED light worked with NASA to create it.

My LED device emits three different colors of light. The first light is the most shallow – blue – and it helps mainly with acne. It helps to eliminate the bacteria that are on your skin. The red light goes a little deeper into your skin and helps with inflammation and fine lines and wrinkles. The third light is an infrared light, which goes even deeper. It will help with blood flow and circulation in your skin. I often use my LED device at the end of many treatments.


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