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August 18, 2015

Your post-summer skin repair plan

Rescue Spa owner Danuta Mieloch talks soothing skin after too much sun

Lifestyle Beauty
Danuta Mieloch Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Danuta Mieloch is an esthetician and the owner of Rescue Spa in Center City.

Ah, summer. Full of sun, sand, salt water and serenity. But now that it's nearly over, the impending autumn doesn't just mean going back to "normal," post-vacation life. It also means dealing with skin full of seasonal problems. Dryness, irritation, blemishes and dullness all add to the end-of-summer blues.

Each fall Danuta Mieloch, owner of the aptly named Rescue Spa, takes her clients tired, fried skin and, well, rescues it. After growing up in Poland, where skincare is like a religion, Mieloch studied around the world before landing in Philadelphia in 2004. Now, her Center City spa provides customers with everything from scalp treatments to pedicures.

Guests receive manicures at Rescue Spa, 1601 Walnut Street. (Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice)

While fun-in-the-sun can wreak major havoc on skin, not all of Mieloch spa-goers' woes come from baking all day by the pool, she said. Often it's due to the carefree attitude we adopt during the warmer months. Who wants to worry about skincare when we could stick our toes in the sand instead?

"We tend not to do as much in the summer, but I think it’s really smart to continue your regimen and maintain it," she said. 

Mieloch took PhillyVoice behind the scenes of her Center City beauty oasis to show us the products and techniques her cult-following uses to rehab after a rough (if relaxing) summer season. Check out her tips in our full fall recovery plan below and you'll be feeling aglow in no time. 

A peek into Rescue Spa, tucked three floors above the bustling Walnut Street shopping district. (Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice)

1. Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate

Weeks of slathering on sunscreen and aloe leads to residual build-up on the skin, which can cause breakouts and stops moisturizers from sinking in properly. 

"I’m 49 and I experience post-summer breakouts as well. Build up is a big issue. That’s why we suggest microdermabrasion," Mieloch said. 

Microdermabrasion is an exfoliation technique that removes the top layer of skin to promote growth. In laymen's terms, it de-gunks your face deeper than your usual at-home scrub. 

"Microdermabrasion is good for basically anyone because everybody will have a build up from weather conditions, from wearing a lot of sunscreen and just the general fact that we don’t really take care of our skin as well in the summer," Mieloch said. 

A microdermabrasion facial at Rescue Spa will run you $160 and at-home kits can run anywhere from $60 to $300.

2. Join a cult (kind of)

When all the grime has been sloughed off, skin's healing can begin. After exfoliation, Mieloch suggests following up with a peel. Rescue Spa provides a range of peel services from $75 to $100, but they also sell a cult favorite product that's like a peel, moisturizer and primer all in one. 

Biologique Recherche's P50 1970 lotion may be pricey (8.5 ounces will run you $94) but it has a gaggle of celebrity fans (like Madonna and the Olsen twins) who swear it's a magic potion of sorts. 

"It exfoliates your skin, it balances the PH, improves the skin texture. It’s like a prep lotion before any other treatments," Mieloch said. 

After cleansing, you apply P50 "with cotton rounds going with upward movements," she said. "That’s really important because you apply starting from your chest, neck, lifting, going upwards so this way you’re creating a lifting and firming effect as well." 

3. Go high-tech

From electric current treatments to dark-spot-zapping lasers, there are plenty of seemingly crazy ways to eliminate the signs of aging. If you want to look younger (or at least not older) then post-summer recovery is especially important, because the sun's rays are great at speeding up the skin's aging process. 

"All anti-aging is really about exfoliation, prepping your skin and applying lotions to sort of penetrate deeper. Electric currents stimulates, penetrates, firms," Mieloch said.

Her favorite fall treatment, though, is the IPL Foto Facial. At $350 per session, it's not for the faint of heart (or wallet), but Mieloch said fall is the best time to book one. 

"It’s amazing for evening out your skin tone if you have dark spots, capillaries, mild discoloration -- it really evens out and brings back your skin where it should be after summer damage," she said.

From left to right: Institut Estherderm Tan Enhancing Lotion; Cellcosmet Bodystructure XT-A Cream; Rene Furterer COMPLEXE 5 regenerating plant extract, CARTHAME gentle hydro-nuritive mask and CARTHAME moisturizing milk shampoo; Biologique Recherche Creme Masque Vernix; Institut Estherderm Nutri System Royal Jelly Vital Cream; and Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 1970.

4. Give your skin a drink

Not only can the summer's heat and sun be drying, but the upcoming change of seasons can also throw things out of whack.

"In September you start feeling your skin is dry. For me every September, even if it’s still warm, something happens and you don’t have the same amount of humidity," she said, "so that’s where we switch our moisturizer to something a little richer."

At Rescue, the go-to moisturizer is Institut Estherderm Nutri System Royal Jelly Vital Creme. It's "cheap" at $86, but Mieloch called it a "rebirth for the skin." The vitamin-rich formula has also been dubbed "a buffet for the skin" for how it feeds cells with moisture and quenches its thirst. 

5. Think: head, shoulders, knees & toes

Finally, Mieloch urges those feeling the keen sting of summer's end to not forget about the rest of their body.

"You want to remove that dead skin, hydrate -- by hydration I mean you need to really apply lotions, body lotions," Mieloch said. For that she recommends Institute Estherderm's Tan Enhancing Lotion ($64), which, as its name implies, stimulates the production and distribution of melanin to help your tan last longer. Cellcosmet Bodystructure XT-A Cream ($176) is also a favorite. 

Hair, too, might need a boost after being dunked in saltwater or subjected to shine-leeching UV rays. 

"Our approach is taking care of your scalp as well as your hair," Mieloch said. "You know how we normally just wash and put conditioner on the ends of our hair? The healthy hair really starts at your scalp. I cannot teach you enough about that."

At Rescue you can get a Restorative Hair Treatment or a Royal Scalp Treatment for $60 or pick up a bottle of Mieloch's favorite products. She's carefully stocked Rene Furterer's Carthame gentle hydro-nuritive mask ($40) and moisturizing milk shampoo ($26) plus their Complexe 5 regenerating plant extract ($47).