Photo Credit: Andrew W. Werner
Master Medical Aesthetician, Claudio Pinto, is an expert in corrective skincare of the face and body including ethnic as well as pre- and post operative skincare. He specializes in the treatment of acne, aging skin, smoker’s skin, sun-damaged skin and slacking skin using the latest corrective skincare technology such as peels, facials and microdermabrasion. He has been named Aesthetician of the Year by Obagi Medical products and is an expert in administering the famous Obagi Blue Peel. Working out of physician offices – Claudio works with many leading plastic surgeons – he is considered a go-to aesthetician by many in New York City. Claudio is very active in professional organizations, serving on the board of directors for the Society of Plastic Surgical Skin Care Specialists, and chair of Project Beauty, a new service to patients from the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
Tell us a bit about your background. How did you get into the field of aesthetics?
Aesthetics for me was in the blood – I started doing makeup at a very early age. I went to get my aesthetics license because I needed it for a job and fell madly in love with skincare. From being a resident makeup artist at Chanel, to doing drag queens, to fashion week I did it all. Working in a department store is what paid the bills and what gave me a great background allowing for me to relate better and better with my medical patients. It’s so very important that you understand what’s available in the market so you can properly recommend the best products.
What’s new in the treatment of acne?
Obagi’s Clenziderm is a great and simple acne treatment. I find its 3 simple steps make it very easy for client compliance and helps with penetration addressing the problem at the root. Of course there are many different treatments for acne and what is best for the patient will depend on how aggressive their acne is and if there are other medical conditions present such as acne rosacea, adult acne, etc.
Deeper chemical peels do WONDERS for that acne patient and so do lasers. The first question I ask about is someone’s commitment to home-care treatments. If a patient is committed to home-care treatments he/she will need to see me for peels and in-office treatments less frequently and the downtime of course will be much less than those patients who need more frequent treatments.
How does an acne sufferer know it’s time to visit a dermatologist?
The moment that you see that your products are not working properly I would run to see a dermatologist. Dermatologists and their staff are the experts and can guide you in the proper way, prescribing and suggesting skincare treatments and products that actually work.
It’s a myth that you should only see a doctor when things are out of control and not the smartest way to handle any medical condition. The longer you wait the worse the condition will get. And no matter how much you love your Macy’s or Saks sales person department store products can only do so much for you.
What is smoker’s skin and what is the treatment?
Smoker’s skin is skin that is dull in complexion, gray looking and lifeless. There are many skin types and conditions that would fall into this category including severely sun damaged skin, skin of those who smoke, and skin that is not properly taken care of.
I like to be aggressive with treatments for this skin type. People with this condition need to see results and fast. I like to do a Jessners chemical peel. This is a VERY effective chemical peel with very little downtime – more like social downtime. The more damaged the skin is the more layers of this acid will be applied. The end result is amazing – skin that looks and acts healthier and younger! Who doesn’t want that?
Please briefly explain the famous Obagi Blue Peel.
My favorite treatment EVER – the Obagi Blue Peel is a medium chemical peel used to treat every skin condition and great for every skin type. Please note that it can ONLY be performed by a trained medical professional.
It removes layers and layers of damaged skin. Whether your concern is acne scars, hyperpigmentation, sun damage, liver/sun spots, or general signs of aging, this peel involves more preparation and about 5-7 days of recovery. But the results are amazing – I give myself one about once a year!
What are your key recommendations for maintaining a good complexion at-home?
There are a few things one must do at all times:
1- Cleanser, Toner, Vitamin-C Serum and SPF Every Morning
2- Cleanser, Toner, RETIN-A every night.
That is the best treatment for daily maintenance considering that your skin is already healthy and you don’t have any other concerns. Start with that and you will be very glad you did.
To know Lidia Tivichi is to love her. Actress Gwyneth Paltow has said she wants to clone this Romanian-born esthetician, and it is easy to understand why.
She is part-esthetician, part-therapist, part- spiritual healer, part-chemist and part-confidante. Tivichi is both the jack and the master of all these trades. With a celebrity following that reads like a post-Oscar night red carpet rundown, Tivichi remains humble, earnest and grateful. She never forgets a face (or another body part) or a story, which is one of the reasons that her clients keep coming back.
Now she has her own posh Park Avenue skin care boutique – Maris Dusan by Lidia Tivichi - where Tivichi and a handful of handpicked aestheticians offer trademark facials, chemical peels, microdermabrasion, body treatments, waxing, and eyebrow shaping in a serene, garden level sanctuary.
How long have you been practicing your trade?
Thirty years, the past 26 of which have been in the US. My husband defected from Romania, and I followed him here. My first New York City job was at Capelli D’oro on Lexington Avenue. I worked at Kimara Ahnert on Madison Avenue for 13 years, and opened my own place on Park Avenue in April 2010 with plastic surgeon Dr. Aron Kressel. This is my favorite street in the whole world. I love Park Avenue.
How did you learn to speak English?
Through people. I was self taught by my clients. I tried to learn two words a day. I also watched a lot of television.
What’s a typical day for you?
I see anywhere from 5 to 24 people a day, mainly for facials or waxing or both.
What are you known for among your clientele?
Facials are my specialty, and then I became a good waxer because I hate hair. I was doing a Brazilian-style, basically-bare, bikini wax before the J-sisters. I am also well known for treatments before parties, weddings and bat mitzvahs because I can have your skin glowing without any downtime. It is a package. When you walk out , you will look like a box gift-wrapped for the holidays. I love the presentation.
Tell me about some of your signature facials
The antioxidant eminence facial with paprika brings together old world herbs and fruits that leave your skin aglow. I also offer oxygen blasts with all treatments. These blasts spray serum enriched with pure blue oxygen onto the skin to brighten and tone the treated area. Our cryodermabrasion facial helps boost your skin’s natural collagen supply via microdermabrasion and a special blend of hand-picked antioxidants. Collagen is the main protein that gives our skin the supple, elastic quality we associate with youth and that youthful glow.
What is in your signature facials that keeps people coming back for more even in the faltering economy?
They are made-to-order. I make my own cocktails of antioxidants and other organic ingredients to make masks and serums.
What is the secret to your success?
I am diplomatic. No matter how bad my problems are, I never show it to people. I let my problems go and interact with my clients. I just try to ask about their family. I am not just business. If they are aggravated or mad when they arrive, I talk about their kids or their lives, and they walk out laughing or smiling and say “I feel better.” I also try to give them something extra like a neck massage. Having clients who are happy with my work gives more satisfaction than money.
What is your beauty mantra?
Maintenance is prevention.
I am planning on introducing my own product line in the near future. But when that day comes, I still won’t push products. I never push products, what I do push is honesty, maintenance at home and prevention. I want to grow and expand and hire and train even more new estheticians.
Shelley Costantini is an accomplished business woman, skincare specialist and waxing artist. She’s the CEO and founder of BellaPelle Skin Studio, a well known skincare and waxing studio in San Francisco, California. Shelley began beautifying the world one face at a time as a makeup artist in the Washington DC area. After becoming a licensed cosmetologist and esthetician, Shelley chose skincare as her focus and developed a following and clientele that included politicians, actresses Anna Deveare-Smith and Betty White, and NBC and CNN on-air talent including David Gregory, Kelli Arena and Christiane Amanpour. In 2003, she introduced the BellaPelle Skin Care product line to ensure that her clients had access to products that would make a positive difference for their skin.