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  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • January 2018
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Aestheticians: Allies for healthy skin — My acne journey

My passion for skin care developed from my personal experience with a common skin condition. I understand the physical and emotional pain that often come with issues of the skin — for our exterior is ultimately others’ first impression of us. When our exterior is damaged, or not to our liking, our self-esteem is not as high and our confidence can suffer. I made it my ultimate goal to find a career in life where I have the opportunity to help individuals feel confident in their skin. 

According to the National Institute of Health (, approximately 80% of people between the ages of 11 and 30 will experience at least one acne breakout. At age 19, the hormonal acne that I experienced the majority of my life took an unexpected turn — cystic. The annoying red bumps that appeared grew larger, became more inflamed and were painful. This is when I turned to the help of a primary care physician. I was met with compassion, but wasn’t given much information more than a handout on the medication I was prescribed. At home, I soaked in the information from the handout and did my own research. It was a topical medication that worked by speeding up the cell regeneration, or the cell turnover — cells died and shed at a faster rate, which allowed new cells to take its place — resulting in a clearer complexion. Medications can have a “get worse before it gets better” phase and in my experience, it was absolutely the hardest part of my journey.

I remember leaving the house without makeup to let my skin breathe, and I felt like a monster. I went to a clothing shop with a friend of mine, and I could feel the eyes on my skin; I felt ashamed and embarrassed. There is a stigma about acne that if you have it, then you are not doing something right and it’s “your fault.” For example, you might be told you wear too much makeup or you have poor hygiene habits, but that is not always the case. Yes, proper skin habits will help alleviate problems and promote healthy skin, but acne is a skin condition that is very common and the root of this condition can originate from genes, diet and lifestyle. All acne is not created equally. If you are reading this, and you are fighting any skin condition — not just acne — know that it is not your fault.

Proudly, I can now say that my acne is under control. Through my acne journey I discovered my calling; I wanted to help people like me, individuals who didn’t feel confident in their skin. Skin health is not common knowledge. The average person does not know how to properly cleanse their skin, how to choose the appropriate moisturizer for their skin type or how they can effectively exfoliate their skin at home. Before and during my acne journey I did not know that there were licensed professionals out there that helped guide individuals through their experiences and educate on skin health. I remember Googling: “skin care professional” while pondering my future and seeing the word “aesthetician” pop up. I thought to myself, “That... that is what I want to be.”

What is the difference between dermatology and aesthetics?

Dermatologists are medical doctors with continued education to diagnose skin diseases and conditions, and effectively treat them using prescribed medication and/or services. Aestheticians are licensed professionals who are trained to recognize skin types and conditions, treat those types and conditions within their scope of practice by using products and tools, and recommend at-home care based off of the information they have gathered by analyzing skin and a consultation. They are also trained to understand the effects medications have on the skin, and accommodate treatments based on that information. I chose aesthetics because in my experience no one told me that there are licensed professionals who could have helped me with my acne journey, especially while I was experiencing sufferable side effects. I want people to know that you can see both a dermatologist and an aesthetician; one will diagnose and treat your condition with prescribed medication and/or medical services, and the other to help guide you through your journey by educating you on skin health, proper professional treatments and at-home care. 

As an aesthetician, products that we use are our most important accessories; this is what we trust will help our clients reach their goals. For me, using a line that is cruelty-free, clean and effective is imperative. I am humbled to be a part of a team that uses nothing but the highest quality organic skin care product, called Ilike, and is welcoming to everyone. 

I entered this career path with a fire in my heart to help individuals with acne, and upon working in my field my fire grew into something much larger — a drive to educate clients on the overall importance of skin health and how to achieve it, to build confidence and self-appreciation, and help my clients breathe and take a moment for themselves. 

Valerie Heinz

Valerie Heinz is a licensed aesthetician in the State of Wisconsin with continuing education through the International Dermal Institute, and is a Certified Dermaplane Technician. You can find her at Komorebi & Co. in downtown Appleton. “Skin health will never be just a job for me; it is a passion and will always be my ultimate goal to build confidence and improve skin health with every individual who walks through my door.” For more information about Komorebi & Co., visit or call 920-312-6707.

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