When it comes to skin care, marketing convinces us it’s about instant gratification when in reality it’s a long game. No one knows this better than LJC’s aesthetician Cameron Vessey, who first learned about proper skin care at the age of 13 at her grandmother’s modeling school.
Now as a medical aesthetician, she helps her patients plan the perfect skin care protocol consisting of products tailored to their goals.
Meet Cameron and get her expert advice on which medical grade skin care products really make a difference and which ones you can toss.
- Learn more about Cameron Vessey, Licensed Aesthetician
- Learn more about the skin treatments we offer at our medical spa
Speaker 1 (00:07):
You’re listening to The La Jolla Cosmetic Podcast.
Monique Ramsey (00:20):
Welcome everybody to The La Jolla Cosmetic Podcast, where dreams become real. And I’m your host Monique Ramsey. And today I’m joined by Cameron. She’s our aesthetician. She’s a master of skincare. She’s a master about everything getting you glowing, how to take care of your skin. She truly… You’re going to love this. I’m really excited about today. Welcome Cameron.
Thank you so much Monique. I’m so happy to be here.
Monique Ramsey (00:45):
Tell us about your background and what made you get into this field.
Oh my goodness. I was so lucky to have a grandmother who had a modeling agency in a school. And in those olden days, you would go to modeling classes, like etiquette school, finishing school, how to take care of your skin, all of those things. I started using Clarins, I think at age 13.
Monique Ramsey (01:12):
Oh my goodness.
I know, yes. I was really blessed. I know that that’s not the norm, but I’m telling all you moms out there, get your kids started young and then I had the opportunity, I did my gap year between high school and college in Paris. And it was wonderful. And one of my really good friends that I had met, her mother was an aesthetician and she told me, “Cameron, do this stuff now.” I’ve been going to get facials every four weeks since I was 17.
Monique Ramsey (01:41):
And this is why she’s glowing. You guys can’t see her, but literally she radiates. I think you definitely look 15 years younger than your age at any given day because that is something that you really stress the importance of skincare because you know it, you’ve lived it.
I think that what happens in the US is we’re all instant gratification and we’ve been sold this for a long time with all of our great marketing and advertising and it’s about the long game. You can’t go to the gym once every two months. You’ve got to be consistent. And I really like to help people get a protocol that’s going to work for them.
Monique Ramsey (02:22):
Fast forward, you’ve been doing the facials and you decide to get into medical aesthetics. And could you explain a little bit about what is a medical aesthetician? What does that mean? Or what’s the schooling involved?
Absolutely. It was a career change for me and I was going to a cosmetic dermatology office in Scottsdale, Arizona. And my aesthetician said, “Why don’t you do this? You know more about this than I do.” And in Arizona the laws are a little bit different than California. California is very strict on what you can do. But in Arizona, as an aesthetician, I went through the aesthetic program and then I also went through laser training as well.
I did an internship at a laser and skincare clinic. I’ve always been on the medical side. What makes you different with the medical aesthetician here in California truly is the ability to be able to work and know how to work with laser patients, how to take care of post laser skin. Also, working with higher percentages of acids and more medical based procedures. And in Arizona there is training for that. I believe in California there is too, but really it’s on the job too. And I’ve been blessed to work with incredible doctors and PAs and nurse practitioners that teach me every day.
Monique Ramsey (03:38):
Now, can anybody in skincare call themselves an aesthetician?
No. You actually have to go to aesthetic school. There are a lot of people who know about skincare, certainly. I always want to tell people in regards to the internet though, understand that the internet is information. It’s not necessarily education. And oftentimes people on social media are paid to promote certain products that may not be the best. But you need to go to aesthetic school to be called an aesthetician.
Monique Ramsey (04:10):
And that’s true. I think all of us who love skincare, me being one of them, we all love to fancy ourselves as a mini expert, but we’re really not. We don’t understand how the different ingredients work, how they penetrate the skin, what they do long term, what the risks could be, you can’t just throw glycolic acid on something and say, “I’ve got a peel, I’m good.”
And that’s what an aesthetician, especially a medical aesthetician, one of the things that’s important to me is being able to have the medical grade products, which are far superior to anything over the counter and really being able to fit that to someone’s needs and their skincare goals.
Monique Ramsey (04:54):
How do you approach somebody who’s looking for your help for the first time and really balance listening to them with your recommendations?
The first thing that I do is I ask a lot of questions. When someone first comes in, I do want to know what you’re using for skincare protocol. I do want to know what you’ve done in the past? What your concerns are? And when I talk about concerns, some people are just like, “I just want preventative or I want a good cleanse or exfoliation.” I really ask a lot of questions. I like to know where they’re at as far as what they’ve done in the past because I have people who come in who’ve never done anything. I’m certainly not going to say, “We need to do a perfect DermAppeal.” Some people don’t even wash their face at night. These are things that I want to take into consideration and really put together something that’s going to work for them.
And I want you to understand that it’s a relationship. They get to know me and trust me because they see that I’m recommending things that really work for them. And I’m not giving them a whole skincare protocol. If you don’t wash your face or don’t use sunscreen, I’m not going to give you a five step protocol. I’m going to introduce one thing at a time because I want to see what works for you. And if I have someone who’s more seasoned, then we’ll go into an in depth protocol or what have you. It’s knowing what the patient feels comfortable with, it’s getting to know their skin and really listening and hearing what they want.
Monique Ramsey (06:27):
Something that comes to my mind, and I think all of us who’ve been, let’s say we’ve gone to a spa or salon or we go somewhere or even a skincare counter at a department store, we’re worried about they start asking us what our routine is and we’re worried about being judged because maybe we’re not living up to what we should be doing. And we’re also worried about, “Is this person trying to sell me something?” And I think that what I know about you and what I know about La Jolla Cosmetic, is that you’re there to really help them get to their goal. And we know we have the best products and the best way to get you there, but it’s not just to make a sale because that’s not that long term, like you talked about relationship and you talk a little bit about how you approach the different skincare products and how to maybe even deal with a patient who’s worried about changing their normal routine.
Absolutely. I’ll tell you first of all, I love the makeup counters, but makeup and skincare are two different things. When you go to somewhere like Sephora and… Bless their hearts, they’re great girls, but they’re told what to sell and they work on commission. We don’t work on commission here. That’s not what we do. And oftentimes what I want to do is I ask people what they’re currently using because I will incorporate things into what you’re already using. If you’re using a product and you say, “Cameron, I love this.” I’m going to keep that in your protocol and I’m going to introduce things because… I don’t know about you but I remember before I would go to a makeup counter and I’d love the sales girl and I’d get 52 things home and think, “What am I supposed to do with this?” What I do for patients is I actually put together a protocol and I do an AM and a PM regime. I list step one, step two. And obviously if you’re not doing a lot, I’m here to be your cheerleader. I’m here to be your skincare concierge.
I’m here to not shame you into, “Oh my God, I can’t believe.” And I think that as women, it’s so funny because I see a lot of women go to that, “I’m not doing it well” and I say, “There’s no such thing as bad or good, I’m just here to help to remind you and to cheer you on and to show you the right things to do.” That’s it.
Monique Ramsey (08:54):
My brain goes right to the Visia. We have this tool in the office called the Visia and the Visia, you put your face into it, you put your chin on there and it will take pictures of your face, but then we can bring it up on the screen and you can look underneath the skin and you can see things like sun damage… What else can you see? You can see pore size, you can see redness, you can see texture.
And it’s important to look underneath. You’ll see, for example, when you do the UV light, all the pigment that’s underneath that is to come. We want to make sure that we can really combat that together.
Monique Ramsey (09:36):
And I think what’s cool is that it’s not how it looks on the outside, but what’s going on underneath. And sometimes that’s the best way as a patient that we know something’s working. We might think it’s working, but I love being able to prove something’s working. And then you can say, “Okay, in a few months after we’re on these products for a little while and after we’re we’ve done some DiamondGlows or some peels, let’s take a look again and see the difference.” Because it is hard to remember how you were three months ago or six months ago.
And I love that you say that too, because what I tell people is that this is all about preventative. You are taking care of the woman that you’re going to be in 10 years. I love when I have 20 year olds come in and they want to start taking care of their skin because a lot of people think they won’t come in until something’s wrong. And that’s not the way you deal with skincare. You start when you’re young. And I think it’s a great tool, the Visia, you’re absolutely right. It really shows you underneath what is going on.
Monique Ramsey (10:43):
But anytime you start is a good time to start.
Monique Ramsey (10:47):
I’m 53 and I’ve really taken my skin so much more seriously in the last five years because it’s like, “I can’t mess around anymore,” and I’m starting to get compliments and it’s, “Oh wow.” Whatever I’m doing, which is, A, being consistent and B, using the right products really is working. And that always makes you feel good.
Absolutely. And I think that you can start any time, and it does make a difference. When people are getting all the different treatments that we do here, Botox, filler, lasers, all those things and you don’t use good skincare, it’s like going to the dentist and not brushing your teeth in between. It really does make a difference.
Monique Ramsey (11:27):
One of the great things about La Jolla Cosmetic is the full range of options. I’m wondering if you’ve ever sent people to another part of the center and tell us about that.
What I love about working at a medical facility is that as an esthetician I can only do so much. I’ve sent women who have been patients of mine down for facelifts. I’ve sent them to the surgery center and it’s wonderful to have all the providers that I have up here because I can’t help with skin laxity.
And what I love is that I’m able to be honest about that too. What I love about all the providers here is we’re extremely honest about what’s going to work for you. They trust that I’m going to send them to the right person and we work really closely.
Monique Ramsey (12:14):
I love that because it’s really a holistic approach. Let’s get into the fun part. Everything’s fun in your department, but let’s talk a little bit about the skincare lines and let’s talk about how are they different that SkinMedica, Skinbetter, Alastin, EltaMD, tell us about the different lines and do you have people go into one line only or do you mix and match? And then how is that different from what they could get at Sephora or Nordstrom or Target?
I’m so glad you’ve asked this because this is so important. The skincare industry is a multi billion dollar industry. Only 7% of that is medical grade product. And when I say medical grade product, it’s what’s sold in doctor’s offices. And this is the difference, when you are in a doctor’s office, doctors require white papers, which are clinical studies that show that things work. There’s white papers on all the lasers, there’s white papers on the Botox, there’s white papers on the fillers, there’s white papers on everything that’s in the office as well as all of the skincare. That is a big difference. It’s not like, “20 women tried this product and 20 of the…” They’re actual clinical scientific studies. A lot of these products are written up in dermatology periodicals as well. This is not something that you get over the counter. One of the things I also want to say is that I have a lot of patients who’ve used products from Neiman Marcus or Nordstrom or Sephora, and they’re very disappointed because they’ve spent a lot of money.
Monique Ramsey (13:54):
Yes. And what I want to say is that medical grade products have a much higher percentage of active ingredient plus the quality of that ingredient is so much more superior. But not only that, it’s the delivery system. Right now oils are really big. Oils have a huge molecule. They do not penetrate the epidermis to get to the dermis to make a change. What you see in a lot of over the counter, and I’m talking anywhere from Nordstrom to Sephora to Bluemercury to… Is you see a lot of instant gratification, but you do not see long term. Medical grade skincare is here for the long term. It’s for the long game.
Monique Ramsey (14:39):
I was on a SkinMedica class and they talked about the growth factors and they talked about some of these products out there talk about plant stem cells and they’re like, “That sounds great, it’s natural, it’s from nature and the plant stem cells, blah, blah, blah.” And they talked about the fact that our skin doesn’t have a receptor for that.
I love that you just brought this up because what I’m going to tell you is that anything over the counter is going to use plant growth factor. Your DNA doesn’t recognize that. It does not work. And I have a lot of people who will say I want natural, which I get, but it’s not going to make a change for your skin. You can use it. Absolutely. But your DNA doesn’t recognize it. It’s not going to work because it’s not compatible.
Monique Ramsey (15:35):
Getting into the fun part, really fun part, is tell us about what’s in your medicine cabinet or what’s your regime in the morning or do you have 900 products in your medicine cabinet?
Oh my God, I definitely am a product junkie. I love all the product lines that we carry. And I’m not just about one line. I like certain different products for different people and places. In my medicine cabinet, I have everything from the TNS Advanced+, which I’m crazy about, to the Skinbetter AlphaRet, which I think is the best retinol out there on the market. I love the Alastin neck cream. I love biocream. There’s so many different products. I love the Skinbetter Even Tone for my discoloration to keep an even skin tone. I have it all. Let me just tell you, when I go traveling with friends of mine, they’re like, “And then you bring the skin care.” And I’m like, “No.” If you were to go into my cabinet, you would see it all because I love it.
Monique Ramsey (16:40):
And this is maybe putting you on the spot way too much, but if you were on a desert island, and could only pick one thing, one product, what would it be?
I could just pick one product and I was on a desert island, it would be sunscreen.
Monique Ramsey (16:57):
Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen, face, neck, decolletage,
chest area, back of hands. I always tell my ladies and my men… I actually saw a patient of mine when I was out walking on the beach and when I walk I look like someone who’s… I’m completely covered. I look like I’m walking the moon or something. And she heard my voice and she said, “Cameron, you really practice what you preach.”
Monique Ramsey (17:26):
Okay, if you’re going to pick two products, it would be sunscreen. What would be that one do-it-all? Is there a do-it-all product?
There’s no such thing as a do it all. But like I said, my favorite retinol is the alphaRet. I love that. Now since I’m on a desert island, I can’t use retinol, so I’m not going to use that. I love the Alastin, the Restorative Skin Complex. That has the collagen Alastin stimulators, as well as the antioxidant. And it also has a lightener and brightener. It’s a really great all in one. I love the Alastin Restorative Skin Complex. I love the TNS Advanced. The TNS Advanced is amazing.
Monique Ramsey (18:10):
TNS A+ because it’s the Advanced Plus and it really is an A+. And you’ve got two chambers of stuff and it all works synergistically to help your skin lift and firm, even tighten a little bit. It’s pretty amazing for a product. It’s not going to do the same thing as a facelift or a session of all therapy, but it does make a nice visible difference. Last question for you, do you ever say to somebody, “I love my Cetaphil and I get it at Target.” You’re good with that, right? Where they could work in their product?
I’m going to tell you that cleansers and moisturizers, cleansers especially if you don’t have breakouts, I want you to invest in what I call the food for the skin. The collagen and Alastin stimulators, antioxidants, retinols and specialty products for pigment and for dry dehydrated skin. Cleansers and moisturizers if we’re looking at a budget, I’m just like, “Use Aveeno Brightening Cleanser, use CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser in the morning, use Aveeno Moisturizer at night.” Of course, you could use those things. Now would I get a collagen stimulator at Target? No, but I can certainly incorporate… There’s great over the counter sunscreens as well. La Roche Posay is incredible sunscreen that you can get at CVS or any drug store. But there’s some great products out there and there’s some great antioxidants that you can get, like SkinCeuticals is a great antioxidant as well that you can get. But there’s certain products that you really just want to go medical.
Monique Ramsey (19:48):
That makes sense. Thank you so much for this fun, fun session. And if people want to reach you, can they do a skincare consultation with you? Do you do those?
You know what, I will tell you this. It’s really important for me to be able to feel your skin. It’s hard for me to do a skincare consult without seeing you live. I prefer for you to come in for, again, a signature HydraFacial or a DiamondGlow or an Oxygeneo and bring your current products. And then we go ahead and I put something together for you, maybe filling in the blanks of what you need.
Monique Ramsey (20:28):
Perfect. Thanks again, Cameron. This was so much fun.
Bye, bye. Thank you.
Speaker 1 (20:38):
Take a screenshot of this podcast episode with your phone and show it at your consultation or appointment or mention the promo code, PODCAST, to receive $25 off any service or product of $50 or more at La Jolla Cosmetic. La Jolla Cosmetic is located just off the I-5 San Diego Freeway in the Ximed Building on the Scripps Memorial Hospital campus. To learn more, go to ljcsc.com or follow the team on Instagram @ljcsc. The La Jolla Cosmetic Podcast is a production of The Axis.