Self-Care, Microneedling + Before & Afters

This past year I've been focusing a lot on self-care. I made a list of things that I could do for myself that would help me feel better emotionally, physically, spiritually and mentally. Some are really small and simple, and others are bigger things that will take........ maybe a lifetime to achieve and master. 

I liked this definition of self-care the best:
"Self-care is any activity or act that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. Although it’s a simple concept in theory, it’s something we very often overlook. Good self-care is key to improved mood and reduced anxiety. It’s also key to a good relationship with oneself and others. Self-care is something that refuels us, rather than takes from us."

I've noticed that when I allow myself specific time to focus on JUST me, and improving something about myself... it's easier to then concentrate on other things and/or people afterward. Think about your insecurities. Just the word alone... "IN-securities" promotes a secluded, alone type feeling to me. Think about how long and often you dwell on your insecurities during a given day, and obsess over them. 
When we're only focused INward, we don't take the time to serve/help others, or even enjoy the little things in life... that lead to the big things.
Insecurities = Selfishness
Selfishness = Seclusion

Now think about if you were to actually allot time for yourself to hyper focus in on one of those insecurities - with the intent to improve and repair. THAT'S where for ME, self-care starts. 
When I allow myself specific time to hone in on improving the parts of me that I feel insecure about, for the sole purpose to eventually NOT have to stress or worry about it as much anymore. 
Self-Care = Healing/Recharging
Healing = Happiness

Story Time:

I worshiped the sun as a teenager and 20-something year old. I would literally sunbathe for hours, and paid little to no attention to whether or not I had the right type of skincare or sun protection in my routine and arsenal. I've been overweight my entire life, and frankly... I just knew that tan chub looked better than white, pasty chub😝... so I always wanted to have nice, golden-brown skin!  
(let's go ahead and mention that GOOD self-tanning lotions weren't really a "thing" back then).

Fast forward 10-15 years later, and boy, am I regretting not properly protecting my skin... especially my face - because an army of age and sun spots were now the outcome at age 36. Couple that with a sudden divorce, now being alone and the stress of single motherhood?... and well... looking haggard and tired beyond my years was an understatement (in my opinion)

That all being said... I LOATHED going out in public without makeup, and it made me incredibly self conscious - but nobody wants to wear makeup to the gym or pool!
Around age 32 I really started looking into good creams, brightening serums and treatments that could help me improve my skins tone and texture. After a couple of years, I noticed small differences, but not the kind of result I was hoping for - and last year I decided that I'd probably need to ask Heather from Aqua Spa (my esthetician for the past 6+ years) what kind of more extensive, professional procedure-type-options were available for me.
She suggested I do a series of microneedling treatments and chemical peels to help with not only evening out my skins tone, but texture as well - because I have scarring from cystic acne and am also needing to boost the collagen in my skin to help with the beginning signs of wrinkles. 

I knew this commitment wasn't a one-time quick fix... SPOILER ALERT: most of my bigger "self-care" undertakings aren't. But I was hopeful, so I decided to dedicate myself to 6 microneedling procedures to really get the best results.
As of this week, I just finished session #5... and I have to honestly tell you, I've been so happy with the results!!! 

Below is a before and after of my skin after 3 microneedling treatments.

How it works: 
Microneedling induces collagen production and actually strengthens the epidermis. A trained technician uses a wand that contains very fine needles. When passed over the skin, the needles create micro “injuries” in the skin to trigger new collagen production. Each micro “injury” creates a channel that triggers the body to produce new collagen and elastin to fill the microscopic wound. This procedure has no major side effects and beautiful results are noticeable in a short period of time.
The Microneedling procedure can cause very minimal pin point bleeding (but that's a GOOD thing!).
The needles actually stimulate existing collagen and promote the formation of new collagen and blood vessels in the skin. Hence the reason you basically notice and FEEL the difference in your skin immediately after a treatment. 

Microneedling Benefits: Also known as Microchanneling and collagen induction therapy.
- Naturally produces collagen in the skin (plumper skin)
- Reduces fine lines and wrinkles
- Reduces hyperpigmentation
- Evens skin tone 
- Regenerates Healing
- Breaks down scar tissue
- Reduces pore size
- Exfoliates the skin
- Maximizes product penetration into the skin

I documented my microneedling journey so that I had lots of good before and after pictures, and I wanted to show you this next photo, so you could really see the benefits on a large sun spot, after just two treatments! 
Check out how MUCH lighter that stubborn dark spot got, and how much more even my overall skin tone was. πŸ™Œ

This picture below shows a little of that pin point bleeding on my chin. 
So if that side effect scared you... truly, it's basically nothing. 

This photo is immediately after a microneedling treatment. The skin is red, like a sunburn, mildly tender and feels INCREDIBLY soft! I refrain from wearing makeup for 24 hours or as long as I can, and regularly apply a living cell treatment clarifier to my skin, while it heals. (I get this product directly from Heather). Babying my skin after a microneedling treatment has been KEY to getting awesome results sooner. I hydrate it like crazy and keep my face out of the sun. 

Very soon after my 3rd microneedling treatment, Heather and I decided to do a more aggressive, pumpkin peel skin treatment to my darker sun and age spots. She only left it on for a few minutes. It was a bit tingly and warm, and left the spots that were treated a deep reddish/brown color. I constantly applied the small amount of serums that Heather sent me home with to keep everything ultra hydrated.
After about 48 hours those spots began to dry up, peel and flake off!!! I was seriously in tears when I got up a few mornings later and saw that my largest brown spot (the area of my face I was SO insecure about) had literally FALLEN OFF in my hand. 

You better believe I keep that little brown piece of skin in a tiny jar as a reminder to wear my damn sunscreen!!! LOL

For about 3 or 4 days after my 3rd microneedling treatment and pumpkin peel, my skin was very dry and flakey. I took this "flattering" up-close picture so you could really see that even with great quality makeup on, my skin was still very dry, porous and recovering.

This photo below was 7 days later. Even with makeup on you could see a slight amount of redness from where we did the spot treatments... but holy cow, were things looking AMAZING!

Here's a more recent photo I snapped while getting a hydrating facial, in-between microneedlings. I'm seriously blown away by how much more even my skin tone is, how much it's helped with the scarring on my jawline from my cystic acne and maybe most all I'm so surprised about how amazing my skin texture is now - something I didn't think I really cared that much about, until I felt the extreme difference.

This picture of my Mom and I was taken 3 weeks after my 4th microneedling treatment - obviously with makeup on, but the ease of makeup application and overall need for less foundation coverage, is so awesome!

I have to tell you that my confidence level, when NOT wearing makeup has gone up a ton. I don't spend so much time looking INward about my skin and feeling so insecure...  and it's really liberating.

I can focus on just working out at the gym (another self-care act... but not necessarily my favorite😝) without thinking about how awful my complexion is. And I'm excited to REALLY play at the pool this Summer with my kids - chasing them under the water and actually swimming WITH them, and not worrying about whether or not my makeup is still on. πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

If you're a Utah local, I 100% suggest reaching out to Heather at Aqua Spa for an appointment (her contact info is here) - she gives all of my microneedling referrals a reduced, first-time rate of only $300 for your first 3 microneedling treatments (typically $375)! If you're not local, then reach out to your nearest medical spa and see if they offer these treatments - you WON'T be sorry!


  1. Wow! Your skin is beautiful and you have such LONG eyelashes! You and your Mom are beautiful!

  2. Thanks so much for being vulnerable and sharing your skin renewal journey. I really appreciate your candor and the pictures that beautifully illustrate your new look. You and your mother are absolutely lovely.

  3. Thanks so much for this fascinating real-life post on a procedure I've been wanting to do (thanks to being a sun goddess most of my life) and now I'm confident moving forward. Shelley I really enjoy your posts and know you will do just great as a single mom (been there) - they're so blessed to have you. Love the photo of you & your mom.

  4. Thanks for sharing this! I’ve been hearing a lot about micro needling and am thisclose to calling to make my appointment. I also have insecurities about going out of the house without makeup due to uneven color, redness and acne scars. So thanks again for the gentle nudge!

  5. I've followed you for awhile and always thought you were so gorgeous, with and without makeup! I know it's so different for every person when examining their own skin though, this post made me think I should probably start a better skin care routine. Thanks for always being so open and candid!


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