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Meet Charlene Handel of Skin Fitness, Etc. in Carlsbad

Today we’d like to introduce you to Charlene Handel.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Charlene. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
15 years ago, after servicing clients as a traditional chemical-based Esthetician within a physician office for almost 20 years, I learned that what we applied to our skin is absorbed straight into our bloodstream. This is about when pharmaceutical patches were introduced and produced to apply to the skin for medication absorption directly into the bloodstream. Even 15 years ago we didn’t have this information readily available on the internet. I attended an Esthetic Conference in Las Vegas where I enjoyed a class on “Natural” Skin Care. That was the key word then, which evolved over the years to the word “organic”. Just to give you an idea of how new that concept was, there were about 300 vendors at the Las Vegas Convention Center and of them, only 3 were promoting natural skin care.

As soon as I learned that absorption fact I began reading the packaging ingredient lists. I had no idea what the ingredients were, nor could I even pronounce most of them. I then looked those words up on the internet to no avail. Because I understood that what we put on our skin enters the bloodstream, I thought to myself… would I massage these chemical ingredients on my heart, breast, ovaries, etc. and the answer was a resounding NO! I had clients with serious illnesses, pregnant, breastfeeding, as well as healthy clients who I didn’t want any part of causing harm to them. That is when I walked away from using any chemicals and even organic ingredients that can harm the body.

I then contacted Elina Fedotova (owner of Elina Organics, Cosmetic Chemist, and President of the Assoc. of Holistic Skin Care professionals) who was the educator of the natural skincare class I attended in Las Vegas. I knew absolutely nothing about the field of natural esthetics and Elina asked if she could mentor me. Well heck yes! This has been an absolute life and business changing the experience. I learned to only use ingredients in my practice that are healthy, nutritional and eatable. Notice I state the word “eatable”? I’ve taken my business a step farther than just “natural or organic” to “holistic” esthetics. A Holistic Esthetician will never use an ingredient in their practice that is not healthy for their client both inside and out.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Actually my biggest struggle was learning not just products that are pushed toward Estheticians by the product companies who say their product will achieve the best results, but instead the actual ingredients and how they affect the skin toward best results.

Because my business is located in North County San Diego where there is a melting pot of organic and holistically minded population, I haven’t had to do more than get the word out that I am here for them. Yet some of the Estheticians who’ve I’ve trained to offer the same services in places like Florida, Brazil, Hawaii, Oklahoma, as well as many other places around the world have run into a much more difficult reaction toward moving from chemicals to holistic. Once a client has had a holistic facial treatment and they see the immediate results they’ve been looking for… they are sold on holistic skin care going forward!

Skin Fitness, Etc. – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
My business name is Skin Fitness, Etc. because my priority is the ‘highest fitness’ of my client’s skin. After evaluating my client’s skin needs, I mix all my acids and masks from scratch. Each clients skin needs are completely different, For instance, if a client needs diamonds, sea pearls, volcanic ash, Kombucha (probiotics), salicylic acid (willow bark) that is what they receive. I have approximately 100 different minerals, ocean and land ingredients in my apothecary.

Since they are fresh, they are more effective. A one size fits all product or facial is not the answer toward its highest fitness. Therefore to accomplish what my clients are requesting and their skin needs are, understanding appropriate ingredients and how to personalize their facial treatment toward the exact match for their personal skin needs is ideal.

I tell my new clients during their skin consultation that my goal is to take their skin to where they want it to be and eventually to where they won’t need to see me as often. I actually had a client tell me that not only by telling my clients that and also accomplishing it, I am shooting myself in my financial foot. I don’t care about that because my client goal is to have the happiest clients. It’s about them, not me.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Oh gosh, there are so many moments. Of course, one is when I receive a tearful hug and thank you from clients. That is very much toward the top of that ladder. And also toward the top is when a student tells me they have launched their holistic esthetics business and have become successful.

To know that they not only worked hard to get educated but also worked hard to become successful is amazing. I’m so proud of them. We have all had to work hard to become successful in the world of holistic esthetics.


  • Facial Treatment Customized For You… $120.00

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