What I’ve Learned About Skin Since I Started Working Here

Hi! My name is Statia and I started working as a Guest Service team member at Kneaded Relief last summer. Since that time I’ve learned so much that I never knew about skin care! Some of what I’ve learned seems obvious, while some was rather surprising. I thought I’d share some of that knowledge with you all today.

When I started here at Kneaded Relief my skin care routine was pretty basic. I used your standard drugstore face washes that were full of Salicylic Acid and micro beads – the only two ingredients I knew of at the time. And that was it. I never used a moisturizer, no toners, only the occasional sunscreen application. Thanks to BioElements and PCA I now use a much more comprehensive skin care routine, and thanks to my Esthetician Kelsey, one that is better for my skin type.

Here’s a little bit of what I’ve learned so far:

  • Wear Sunscreen!
    1. Over the course of the year I’ve learned that the old Baz Luhrmann song about Sunscreen was absolutely right; everyone needs to wear sunscreen! 85-90% of aging in our skin comes from the sun’s harmful UV rays, so wearing an SPF daily is the smartest thing we can do to protect ourselves. I’m 27 and I’m not saying I’m old, but I made a promise to my niece I’d never get old so I have to ward off those fine lines and wrinkles as best as I can! Sunscreen is one of the easiest and best ways to do that.
  • Peels are amazing!
    1. So far I’ve had three chemical peels and I couldn’t be a bigger fan. A lot of people still assume that a chemical peel is some scary disgusting service that will make your skin fall off but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. PCA Peels are designed for people who have lives! The way a chemical peel works is by penetrating into your skins top layer of skin and activating your cells. When your cells slow down, aging signs increase, so it is important to keep those cells hustling! PCA peels are specifically formulated to increase cell turnover. They get your skin moving and push the dead cells out, which is why you appear to physically “peel.” In reality, it is less of a peel and more of a “slough,” but every person will have a different experience with their shedding.
    2. After each peel I’ve had I notice that my skin doesn’t break out as much as it does without peels, my skin feels brighter, and the results last until my next peel (I aim for doing a peel every 4 weeks, but if you have acne or aging skin you can do peels more often).
  • Your Esthetician knows best
    1. As I mentioned, before I ever had a professional facial I had no idea what I was doing. I bought face wash with Salicylic Acids because I thought that was the only thing that got rid of acne. Little did I know that those types of acids were completely wrong for my face. During my first facial, Kelsey assessed my skin and told me that the type of face wash I was using was totally wrong for the type of acne I was experiencing. She set me up with a face wash from BioElements that had the right ingredients for my acne type and skin type. I’ve been using it for a year now and I love it, plus I haven’t even come close to running out even though I use the product every single day.
  • Ingredients Matter!
    1. There are so many different skin types out there and so many different ingredients to consider when looking at skin care products. Many people have topical sensitivities to ingredients and they may not even realize it. Or, like some, may know they have an allergy to almonds, tree nuts, or even cucumber. Your esthetician is your greatest resource when it comes to ingredients. They are trained and know what to look for when looking at an ingredient list so that you are not using something harmful for your skin.
    2. The other thing to consider when looking at an ingredients list is that if you are using products from several different lines you may be mixing ingredients that are actually harming your skin. While one product may be working to hydrate, another product could have an ingredient that counteracts the other, leading to increased skin sensitivity. Licensed Estheticians are trained to know what to look out of in ingredients lists, making it that much easier for you to understand!
  • Wash your face at night
    1. This is one of those revelations that now seems so obvious to me, but before I knew I had never thought about. During a particularly bad breakout at a season change last year, I asked one of our Estheticians Nicki what I should do to clear up my skin. She asked me what I was currently using and when I used it. When I told her that I only washed my face once a day during my morning shower she stopped me. She said that if I’m only going to wash my face once a day it needed to be at night. Your face builds up all sorts of toxins and sweat during the day, not to mention make up! (I was removing makeup but I use makeup wipes which actually aren’t the best for your skin.) By only washing my face in the morning, I was allowing all of that dirt and oil to penetrate into my skin overnight, making me break out. Now I try to wash my face twice a day to remove all the excess dirt and oil from my pores. I’m not saying that I’m earning a 4.0 in nightly face washing but I’m improving and I can see that my skin is doing better as well.
  • You should start anti-aging routines early
    1. Like I said, I’m 27 – not old, but no longer a fresh faced babe of 19 or 20. I used to make fun of my older sister for fretting over her miniscule wrinkles and signs of aging, but karma gave me a swift kick in the butt when I realized I too was starting to get fine lines and wrinkles around my eyes. Peels and SPF are great ways to fight aging but for a full anti-aging routine you need to start early. The three products every person should be using for anti-aging are Retinols, Vitamin C and an SPF. When used together, they activate and protect the skin, reducing aging signs before they can start.
  • Oily skin still needs to be moisturized
    1. Professional products use two types of ingredients to moisturize the skin; humectants and occlusives. Humectants work by bringing moisture from the dermis into the epidermis (top layer of skin) and occlusives work by creating a barrier on top of the skin to stop moisture from escaping from your skin. Even if you have oily skin, you still need these two ingredients to make sure your skin is fully hydrated. If you aren’t using a moisturizer, your skin might overproduce oils, but once you start using a skin care regimen, your skin will stabilize leaving you fresh faced and happy!
  • You may have to switch moisturizers in the winter/summer
    1. Speaking of moisturizers, your skin may need a different moisturizer in the summer than it does in the winter. Winter air is much dryer than our humid Wisconsin summers, therefore a lot of our clients switch moisturizers seasonally. Schedule your facials at least seasonally, and monitor your skin during season changes. Then your esthetician can assess your skin and tell you if you should try a different moisturizer between the two different times of year.
  • Facials can be even more relaxing than a massage!
    1. Ok, this is maybe just me, but I feel like every time I go get a facial I’m at a level 11 on the stressed-out scale, but by the time I leave I feel refreshed and calm again. The first time I had a facial I fell asleep, which had never happened for me during a massage. There’s something so relieving about having your skin cleansed, toned, moisturized and protected that puts me in a trance! My favorite service is the Relief Facial – not only is it an amazing facial, but the massage on my face, neck, shoulders and feet make it a total package service!

I hope you have learned a little bit about how to have a healthy glow and skin that is clear and happy! I’m so excited to share with you the little bit I know about skin care since starting here. If you have any questions, our Esthetics team at Kneaded Relief is amazing and will answer anything you could think of!

Hope to see you all soon for your Kneaded Relief Facials!


The History of Massage

Every culture has their own form of massage, from the fully clothed stretching of Thailand to the nearly naked Iomi Iomi of Hawaii.  Each has a different explanatory model, from the meridians of acupressure to the anatomy of myofascial release.  The common denominator?


Why do we enjoy touch so much? So much so that we pay people for it?

Social grooming is an essential part of being alive, and you can see it not only across cultures, but across the animal kingdom (and all over youtube!) Your favorite video of that cat massaging a sheep?  Social grooming.  Those silly primates at the zoo, picking bugs off each other? Social grooming.

The health benefits of social grooming are clear:  stress goes down, health goes up, and social bonds get stronger.  In a world that is becoming increasingly more physically isolated as we spend more and more time online, prioritizing touch has become even more important.

So hug your friends, cuddle your pets, and make an appointment today to reap the benefits of social grooming, and enjoy the touch we all crave.

Stay tuned for upcoming posts featuring our massage therapists and the modalities they choose to incorporate into their work!

Chloe Bradley, Massage Therapist


Let Plan B be your Plan A

This quote, “Let Plan B be your Plan A”, came across my ears this morning on the radio and it struck me!  What an interesting concept.  The person on the radio was talking about how often you plan and create your “A” strategy and then how often something happens and throws off Plan A.  You are then automatically put on to track B.  Well there are two things you can then do with Plan B.  You can complain, be upset, and dig your heels in because this was not your original plan, or you can let Plan B be your Plan A.

What a great way to live life…

Planning 2.10.17
Family Planning Day

I started to think to myself how much negative time and energy would be removed if I just let Plan A go and seamlessly allowed Plan B to take over.  Being very Type A (pun intended), I can schedule things to a fault.  My intention actually for 2017 was to be more adventurous because I realized I had gotten to a point in my life where if things weren’t planned I would break out in metaphorical hives, itching to have a plan and being incredibly frustrated if I didn’t have one.  Needless to say, I almost always have a Plan A.  The rarity though in which Plan A goes off without a hitch is high.  Now with small children it is almost a guarantee that something will put me into Plan B.  Children just don’t operate on parents’ schedules, they operate on THEIR schedules.  So what does that all boil down to?  Well it brings me back to why this quote hit a positive chord with me this morning.  I can have my Plan A (which I love), but if I end up with a Plan B I am going to have just as much enthusiasm and passion for it as I would for Plan A.

Plan C-hildren:

Lastly, I am going to realize that Plan A and Plan B still might turn in to Plan C-hildren, and that can work for me to.

Dana Neal – Spa Manager, Group Fitness Instructor, Open to Plan A,B or C.


Houseplants for Health

Kneaded Relief resides next to a gorgeous restored prairie. This time of year, the grasses are a burnt orange, the trees a mix of lively yellow and pale green, and a smattering of bright light purple flowers remain. Enjoying nature outside is an excellent way to improve your health, and it’s been shown that bringing nature inside can improve the environment within. This blog discusses some common houseplants, how tend for them, and how they improve the atmosphere in your home, office, or spa.
At Kneaded Relief we always keep a few seasonal floral arrangements around the Spa to add natural touches to the space. We also have several plants that serve as functional decorations in our Wellness Classroom, Nail Suite, and Retreat. My house has more than a few plants in it, and as I was writing this blog, I think I just may get a few more!
The Spa’s largest indoor plant, a rubber tree or Havea brasiliensis, stands over five feet tall and is very easy to maintain. Rubber trees don’t mind dim lighting or cooler temperatures. Our Wellness Classroom where this plant resides is mostly windows, however it doesn’t get full sun this time of year and is often cooler. The plant thrives in this environment and helps us by eliminating toxins and purifying the air.
In the Nail Suite, we have a Christmas Cactus, or Zygocactus. These bright bloomers are named as they are often sold in the fall primed to bloom around Christmas. The leaves have a large surface area, allowing them to exude higher amounts of oxygen and water, while also filtering out dust and chemical particles from the air.

Christmas Cactus
Christmas Cactus

Outside nearly every garden shop, grocery store, or landscaped building chrysanthemums sprout happily from pots, reminding us that fall colors are beautiful, and to embrace the change of season. Surprisingly, the “common mum”, or Chrysanteium morifolium, purifies the air in a very specific way. The blooms remove benzene, a chemical that can be found in paint, plastics, and detergents. Our houses are full of these materials, and inhaling the fumes can’t be good for us. I love the thought of the colorful flowers I bring into my home cleaning the air, making the environment safer for loved ones and myself.
I often hear people say that they don’t have a “green thumb” or they always kill any plant they touch. Speaking from experience, plants don’t have vendettas against certain people. Anybody can keep a plant alive and thriving with a just a bit of effort. My suggestion is to Google the plant you are trying to care for and find detailed instructions for care. If you don’t know the name of it, try entering in characteristics (for example, dark green, round leaves, yellow spots, etc.) and you’ll likely be able to find it. When I was looking up information on our Christmas Cactus one site had 14 steps for care. If that seems like WAY too many, perhaps choose a plant that requires less attention. However, I can assure you that our Christmas Cactus looks excellent and we aren’t giving it that much attention.
Go out and get a plant! They’re fun to have around; they brighten up your home, look great, and improve the quality of the air.

Tara Coberly-Horrall – Guest Service Rep and Houseplant Enthusiast