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Sun Up Skin Shares Holistic Skincare Tips & the Benefits of Massage Focused Facials

Austin-based holistic esthetician offers advice about botanical skin therapy to help you maintain your glow during winter weather and stresses of the holiday season

(photo by Sanetra Longo)

Walking up the steps of a charming Clarksville/West End bungalow that is home to Sun Up Skin, we were welcomed by the delightful founder, Chandler Hamilton. With such a warm personality, Chandler exuded an air of calm and peacefulness from our first introduction. She provided a tour of the boutique spa studio that immediately felt like an ideal place for rest. It’s a homey space, with historic charm that features neutral tones for a tranquil and pleasant atmosphere.

At Sun Up Skin, Chandler and her team focus on an integrative approach to skin health where the goodness of nature, science, and human touch come together. The team includes several seasoned professionals in acupuncture, bodywork, lymphatic drainage, and facial massage.

We sat down for an insightful conversation about how Chandler started her journey to become a holistic licensed esthetician, herbal enthusiast, and someone who promotes the power of botanical skincare.

Sun Up Skin founder, Chandler Hamilton (photo by Sanetra Longo)

A holistic approach to skincare

Chandler noted her struggles with acne during her adolescence and how prescriptions left her with gut issues, dry skin, and cyclical hormonal acne. While living in the Caribbean for almost a decade, she discovered the benefits of using homemade, natural remedies. She developed a growing interest in integrative health and how it affects our skin. Upon returning to the United States, she decided to embark on a journey towards being a licensed esthetician.

“I became obsessed with ingredients and skin response,” shared Chandler. “I’m just passionate about the holistic side because the real healing happens whenever our nervous state is regulated. Everything, all our systems are connected. So you can’t really just throw a cream on something if I know you have stored emotions that haven’t been processed or don’t have time to get the nourishment that you need. As I delved into it more, I learned that the power of facial massage is incredible.”

Sun Up Skin, facial with Chandler Hamilton (photo by Sanetra Longno)

The power of healing modalities

Tribeza: Can you please explain the benefits of a massage focused facial and other services offered at your skincare studio?

Chandler: Well, I really don’t like the term anti-aging. I prefer vibrant aging. With massage, there’s so much that you can do with it for sculpting and preserving our more youthful, vibrant nature.

So there’s a mix of different techniques and modalities that I use to help our skin get back to where it should be naturally, versus forcing it. You can never force the skin because your body’s telling you something for your skin. So we have to work with it not against it.

I wanted to create a space for like-minded practitioners and modalities that could compliment each other because there’s so many other different systems and techniques that assist in our skincare. So that’s why we have an acupuncturist who focuses on cosmetic acupuncture which is incredible for people who are concerned with deep wrinkles and lines, to give people other options besides Botox and injections. What’s happening with acupuncture is that you’re retraining those muscles that store our tension and our stress to be in their relaxed state to bring in circulation and fresh nutrients. But the beautiful thing about acupuncture is it can work with other systems too. Because most of the time that our face is telling us something, it’s caused by something happening in another system in our body.

And then we have people who do body work with different types of modalities. One in particular, is like deep tissue meets physical therapy with functional movement. We have one that does craniosacral massage. And then another that focuses on lymphatic drainage. And then other estheticians that focus on massage.

Sun Up Skin, facial with Chandler Hamilton (photo by Sanetra Longno)

Tribeza: What is the difference between a sculpting facial massage and lymphatic massage?

Chandler: Oh, that’s a great question. I get very excited about our lymphatic system.

I consider our lymphatic system like the lazy river of immunity of our body. It doesn’t naturally move itself like a lot of our other systems do. It needs some assistance to drain. It’s very important because it absorbs from your blood, all of the toxins recycled hormones, things we don’t need anymore. So it’ll just keep circulating or get stuck; sometimes why we have the swollen lymph nodes. So lymphatic massage is very gentle and very intentional and precise, and where you open, move, and detox.

Sculpting facial on the other hand, it’s not that it needs to be intense, but once we loosen everything up, it is almost like a deep tissue massage for your face.

What happens is as we age is that our cells don’t heal as quickly. The collagen breaks down the fat that we have underneath the skin under the surface is very important, but once it’s broken down over repetition, those lines are formed. So what we can do through massage is smooth those out, and remind them where they need to be.

And then through sculpting, it’s very important to remind the fat pads where they should sit. Because they start drooping with time. And the massage also needs to have certain pressure so that your bone structure stays intact too. Because we, especially women, have bone loss with time and that’s why weight training is so important for our body. You need that for your face too.

And as we age, part of this is going to be natural. That’s just a part of being lucky to be alive and get older. And at the same time, there’s techniques that we can do to keep our face structured, muscles healthy and strong.

(photo by Sanetra Longo)

Tribeza: Do you use all-natural products at Sun Up Skin?

Chandler: Mostly I use plant-based products. All of the lines are completely clean and non-toxic. As much as we can work with nature, but also getting that efficacy that we need to see change. It’s very important to me that our treatments are healing for the soul but also results driven. Gentle. Very nourishing. When people hear that, I think that they usually think gentle means you won’t see results because we’re trained in this industry to think you need to like exfoliate and shave and peel the heck out of your skin to be smooth like a baby. And that’s just not the truth. You really can see results from products, but you don’t have to bulldoze yourselves to get there.

Tribeza: As we’re approaching the holidays and winter weather, what tips or advice would you offer to keep skin feeling fresh and vibrant during seasonal stress and colder temps?

Chandler: I would say first off, make sure that you’re nourishing your body and honoring our circadian rhythm. And in these seasons, like a lot of good root vegetables. Nourishing soups are going to be good for you. And as far as our skin goes, with the volatile Texas weather where it could be be really cold one day and hot the next, you want to make sure that you are doing what I call a skin sandwich. So you are sandwiching your hydrating based product, with an oil-based moisturizer to really seal in all of that hydration that your skin needs. Typically what happens if you use an emulsion type moisturizer or a lightweight oil, you want to step it up to a balm — something a little bit more occlusive.

Tribeza: Nourishing yourself first is so important. Can you elaborate?

Chandler: Right. Just being healthy. Maybe people are drinking a lot of water but not getting minerals in the water that they need. Make sure you’re getting plenty of vitamins you need like vitamin C and B complex and zinc to help with preventing acne and healing it along with all the important omegas that you need so your skin can have that elasticity and lipids that it needs. Then what we can do with touch and massage in the treatment room really encourages the skin to rebuild the collagen and get the circulation which brings fresh nutrients and remind our fat pads, so to speak, where they need to go keeping everything lifted and smoothing out wrinkles that happen beneath the surface.

(photo by Sanetra Longo)

With such a mindful approach to skincare, Sun Up Skin is perfect place for any skin type. Chandler and her team are certain to leave you refreshed, relaxed and glowing.

You can learn more about the many treatments and membership perks offered at Sun Up Skin, and book your appointment on their website at Follow on Instagram @sun_up_skin for any latest events and happenings.