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Mature woman exfoliating her skin with a brush

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As a mother of two, the word “relax” feels more foreign than ever. How could one possibly find time to relax when they are responsible for two attention-demanding individuals? But it is possible. And according to my therapist, apparently necessary.

Self-care comes in many forms. It’s really about identifying what self-practices make you feel relaxed and for me, one of those practices is skin care. Whew. I feel so good after a wash, treat and moisturize the skin on my face and body.

I spoke to Dr. Joni, better known as the Zen Doctor, who dished on how she got her name, how skincare can help you relax, and how to get your zen on.

HelloBeautiful: How did you get the name the ‘Zen Doctor?’

Dr. Joni: Going to the doctor can be stressful for many, especially if one has concerns re: their skin and overall appearance. My approach to assuring my clients are less stressed and at ease is to also remain calm and peaceful. “Stay Zen” so that we can mutually agree on a treatment plan that benefits and satisfies my clients. My goal is to deliver quality care in an atmosphere that allows my clients to leave feeling Renewed, Refreshed, and Rejuvenated! So just call me Dr. Joni the Zen Doctor.

HB: What does Zen mean?Dr. Joni: Zen means peace and calm. Zen aesthetics embodies the practice of providing an atmosphere and service in a way that makes our clients can feel comfortable, relaxed, and at peace. We are deeply focused on promoting self-wellness and care. The practice of feeling Zen is having positive energy that has been shown to decrease stress, and inflammation which in turn also improves the overall one’s health and skin.

HB: Your practice, Zen Aesthetics, offers services specifically for women of color. Why is that important?

Dr. Joni: Black women physicians make up less than 5% of doctors. In the field of Dermatology, representation amongst Black physicians is an even lower percentage. So, how does that translate-access to skin care treatments for persons of color can often be scarce and limited if seeking a physician who is also a woman of color. My goal is to educate and spread knowledge on skin care for all women but in particular, for women of color so that they feel seen, and heard and that their unique skin care needs are addressed by a trained physician with experience in treating darker skin. It is important for women of color to have a safe space in which their unique skin care needs can be properly treated.

HB: What should Black women know about choosing a dermatologist when it comes to their medical skincare? 

Dr. Joni: Black women need to know that their provider has experience with skin of color. Skin of color has unique needs that can often require specific treatments that can vary from those with lighter complexions. Not all treatments, especially when dealing with laser therapy, are not a one size fits all.

HB: How can the average woman jumpstart her skincare routine at home and while seeking professional help like visiting Zen Aesthetics?

Dr. Joni: The average woman can jumpstart their routine at home by at least focusing on the most important 4 steps: CLEANSE, TREAT, MOISTURIZE, PROTECT! Cleansing helps to get rid of dirt and impurities on the skin. Treating the skin can be done by applying Antioxidants such as Vita A/C/E, peptides, growth factors, hyaluronic acid, and treatments for acne or discoloration if needed. Moisturizing the skin is important to seal and lock in the hydration and nutrients your skin needs. Lastly, it’s important for everyone to protect the skin with sunscreen that includes an SPF of 35 or more. I recommend using medical-grade products for the most effective results, but over-the-counter skin care products are ok too.Taking care of the skin at home decreases the need to require more aggressive treatments later that correct the skin as opposed to treating that are preventative and rejuvenating to the skin.

HB: How is skin care a form of self-care?

Dr. Joni: Our skin is the largest organ that we can not live without. Just like our heart, brain, etc, it is equally important to take good care of your skin. Your skin is the first thing you notice when you look in the mirror. The presentation of what we see can have a tremendous impact on one’s self-confidence. The way we feel on the outside can affect how we feel emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Self-care is a form of how we treat ourselves and we owe it to ourselves to protect the skin we live in. Therefore, incorporating healthy lifestyle habits that nourish your skin, is one of the best ways to nurture yourself.

Dr. Joni Jefferson, affectionately known across the Tri-State area as the “Zen Doctor,” is on a mission to advance access to healthy skin care and inclusivity. She has received a top-tier education and training in family medicine, dermatology, women’s health and emergency medicine. Throughout her work experience, she has gained extensive mastery of what it means to be truly centered and respectful to the differences that exist when caring for her patients.

How Skin Care Can Help You Relax And Get Your ‘Zen’ On  was originally published on