On my recent visit to Skin Technique in Yaletown I sat down with Dr. Christopher Pavlou and we had a very interesting conversation surrounding women, aging, society, and the beauty industry.
I’m not sure if this is the conversation Dr. Pavlou was expecting to have with me, but I had to be transparent with him about how I was feeling leading up to my visit to tour his new space and meet with him for a skincare consultation.
I was honest with Dr. Pavlou when I told him I felt resistance and judgment prior to coming in to meet with him.
When I agreed to partner with Skin Technique the resistance I felt was strong. However, I wanted to examine why I was feeling this way. That said, I pushed through my resistance and asked myself:
How was this partnership any different from any I’ve done in the past with Skin Care places?
Then I realized it was because of the images I saw on Skin Techniques Instagram page.
Images like the one below:
Allow me to backtrack for a moment. It has taken me years of work to finally get to a place where I no longer base my entire self-worth on my appearance. For years, this was my main focus. I focused on styling the outside of my life in order to feel good on the inside and sadly I never felt good enough. No matter how skinny I was, or how many people told me I was beautiful, I still felt “ugly” or “fat”. I even rushed out and got botox before I turned thirty because I started panicking about aging!
The thing is, this actually didn’t have anything to do with my appearance at all, but it did have everything to do with my very unhealthy self-image.
The issue went beyond the surface and because I have daughters I knew something had to change. I had to begin loving myself from the inside out, and not from the outside in. Once I began to do the reverse, I began to feel this sense of confidence that I didn’t get from looking “hot”. I decided not to do botox again. I stopped wearing eyelash extensions, and my skincare regime became pretty much obsolete aside from rinsing with Cetaphil. I took part in body image campaigns embracing the skin I’m in and it was so liberating to show the world, “this is who I am, flaws and all”. I never would have had the confidence to do something like that in the past.
Here’s the thing:
Although I am far more confident than I was when I was younger (because I stopped basing my self-worth on the way I look) I noticed, however, I began to put “looking good” last on my priority list.
Haircuts happen once a year. I get my nails done basically never, and the last time I had a facial was because I was invited to have one through a blog campaign. Would I have booked myself a facial otherwise? Probably not.
In fact, most days when I’m working from home I’m in sweaty workout clothes from my morning workout. I sit at my laptop with no makeup on and my hair in a top knot. I have nasty coffee breath, and after a while, I begin to feel kind of… blah.
But when I get dressed and put on some makeup I feel better and when I go for my yearly haircut, I feel like a brand new woman!! I’ve even considered getting eyelash extensions again because I love the way they look, and it saves me SO much time in the morning.
What I uncovered during my conversation with Dr. Pavlou is that I can be so hard on myself and when I’m being hard on myself, I judge myself, and when I’m judging myself, it’s easy to begin to judge others.
My inner voice would make me feel ashamed for wanting to look good.
It would say things like, “You’re giving into your insecurities” You’re being inauthentic” “Taking care of your skin is vain”
And then when I would see a woman doing something to take care of herself (on the outside), I would automatically project these “judgy” feelings toward them. But that judgment was totally coming from a place within that wants to take care of myself on the outside as well.
I want to feel good on the inside and the outside. I have to let go of the guilt I’ve attached to this because there’s no shame in having a bit of vanity.
Man, that felt good to write.
My conversation with Dr. Pavlou
I was so curious about my judgment toward the photos I saw on Dr. Pavlou’s Skin Technique Instagram page.
Why is it acceptable in our society for women to do expected maintenance like waxing their eyebrows, getting their hair colored and cut, covering their greys, wearing makeup, getting laser treatments and facials, but photos like the ones on Skin Techniques Instagram page where women are getting injections and fillers people are so quick to judge?
Dr. Pavlou made a very valid point during our chat. He mentioned that when we see photos of women getting their eyebrows microbladed ( I actually want to get mine done and I see it all over my Instagram feed) it’s viewed as acceptable. Unfortunately, when someone views an image of a woman getting botox the woman can be perceived as fake, or insecure. She’s suddenly “a rich housewife who gets too much work done. She’s seen as narcissistic, or vain. There’s so much judgment, and words in this industry like “addiction”, and “slippery slope” have a negative connotation attached to them.”
Dr. Pavlou also mentioned, “There are some women who simply look refreshed after a treatment and it’s very hard to tell if they’ve had anything done or not. People are leaning more toward a natural look and this is the type of beauty I like to enhance my clients with. If I can make someone feel better about themselves, by boosting their confidence, and well-being while honoring their beauty then my job is done.”
Dr. Pavlou didn’t sit there and start giving me his opinion on what he thinks I should do to my face. Although for some reason I did fear this would be the case. I told him how I felt and he said, ” I never tell a patient what they should do, I only offer my opinion if they ask.” In fact, our conversation wasn’t what I thought it would be at all. It went much deeper, and it was, in fact, a very healthy conversation that I’m so glad we had.
When I left the clinic I felt terrible for going in with the judgment I did. I actually cried a bit on the drive home because I felt bad for being “judgy”. However, I also left feeling a sense of relief. I let go of any judgment I had, and that felt so good.
Dr. Pavlou’s brand philosophy is similar to mine in a way. He wants to help people feel better about themselves and is experienced in providing natural results, and if I continued to judge his work, I never would have had the empathy to see this.
When we judge other people based on their choices we lose our ability to connect with them.
This photo I saw on the Skin Technique Instagram feed seems very fitting to add to this post especially after sharing with you the conversation Dr. Pavlou and I had.
I wish we lived in a society where women didn’t feel the need to nip and tuck and inject but the beauty industry isn’t going away anytime soon.
What we CAN do in the meantime is quite simple: let women do whatever makes them feel good on the inside and the outside!
Aging gracefully isn’t one size fits all.
It’s whatever the hell makes women happy.
My takeaway from this entire experience at Skin Technique is this: we need to stop the judgment.
Thank you to Dr. Pavlou and the team at Skin Technique for the experience. It was a great lesson of self-discovery and I was lucky enough to go home with some Skinceuticals products to take care of my skin based on some of my skin concerns.
*Thank you Skin Technique for sponsoring this post. This experience was truly invaluable and of course, all opinions expressed in this post are my own.
ABOUT DR. CHRISTOPHER PAVLOU
Dr. Christopher Pavlou is a medical doctor who graduated with a bachelor of medicine, bachelor of surgery (MBChB) degree in South Africa in 2004 and is board certified in aesthetic medicine by the American Academy of Aesthetic Medicine. He has been complementing his medical practice with aesthetic procedures since 2006.
He is a member of the American Board of Anti-aging and Regenerative Medicine, the American Cosmetic Cellular Medicine Association (ACCMA), the American Academy of Aesthetic Medicine, the Canadian Association of Aesthetic Medicine, and is in good standing with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia.