Tattoos and Skin Care...My Two Vices

October 04, 2017

When I was 7 I used to play in the rock field next to my house.  I lived in Bend, Oregon so it was high desert, which meant lots of dirt, lava rocks and earthy, green/brown plants.  As a kid my favorite play time was to go out there and mix up "potions".  Mud with plants and pulverized lava rock could cure anything.


When I was 12 I took my first trip to the dermatologist. I had cystic acne, even at 12. My body was changing and my face was not playing along. I suffered along all through middle school and high school with horrible cystic acne, all the way until I was 22 and started Accutane.  My self-esteem in high school was very much determined by my skin.  I had huge zits on my face, chest and back. I couldn't even wear a light-colored shirt or they would pop when I leaned up against a chair and would bleed through my shirt.  Super fun. I took just about every antibiotic and acne medication they made. I used every acne cream and every facial cleanser. I desperately tried to strip my skin every day just so that I didn't feel the oil all over my skin.  Yet each morning, when I awoke, there was inevitably all that oil and more spots.


When I was 22 I was engaged and did not want to be a giant zit for my wedding day, so my fiancé took me the dermatologist AGAIN (I had pretty much written them off at this point), and we discussed the dangerous Accutane.  Many of you whom I have met at the markets, tattoo expos and festivals have been in the same place. When I took it (two decades ago), it was $800 per month, I had to have a blood draw every month before they would renew it, and I had to sign away my rights to getting pregnant for the entire time I was taking it and I believe for a while after, although I cannot remember now.  I did it. Regardless of the risks and the blood draws, I took it.  I did the process for two series, which was the most they would let you do it back then, and AAAHHHHHHH no more acne!  I loved it. My lips were so dry they constantly shed and I put pure vitamin e on them about 1000 times per day. But, no more acne.  I could get up and not feel the grease and puss oozing from my face. My fiancé could TOUCH my face, which never, never, never happened.  I could wear a low-cut top and not have cystic acne showing everywhere.  It was glorious.  Side-effects, what?  Not even on my mind.


I had two years of acne-free skin.  My love of skin care and make-up flourished. I could wear face make-up and not have it look like a cakey mess. I could buy the super nice smelling, fun sounding face creams and washes and not have a total pH disaster on my face.  Then one day I won a microdermabrasion treatment on the radio.  I was so excited. Anti-aging here I come!  Nope...Bad idea.  One treatment and I woke up the next morning with zits.  I was devastated.  It was a 10 year battle the first time around, only solved with what I now know as crazy medicine.  So, my pursuit of natural skin care products that would minimize my acne, balance my skin, and start me on the process of loving my face again started.


Sixteen years later I have been the Director of Operations for a natural skin care company. I worked in private label and created thousands of natural skin care formulas for other customers. None of them were "my" formulas. I always followed and created what the customers wanted. They were all very traditional skin care products.  Foaming cleansers, about a million versions.  Clay masks. Scrubs with surfactants.  Anti-aging creams with all kinds of scary sounding ingredients.  Nothing that I would ever actually use on my face.  I played around in the lab with the immense knowledge of natural skin care ingredients and created a series of products that worked.  Retinol, vitamin c products.  Glycolic acid based masks.  Dry scrubs. Oil cleansers (before oil cleansing was a popular thing).  Hydrosol based toners.  Natural in every way possible, except the retinol and vitamin c, but even then, as natural as could be.  These products sustained my almost acne free skin for over a decade without anyone in the outside world knowing of them. Then life changed and I launched Susie Q Skin.


Susie Q Skin started out with our fabulous, all-natural, super healing tattoo aftercare wash and ointment. We have introduced thousands of tattoo enthusiasts to these tattoo aftercare products and have a true following of clients that only heal with us.  Our Ink Absolution (Oil) tattoo wash is the game changer.  No more shower pain. Massively reduced tattoo swelling and redness.  Balanced pH in the shower.  This is where you start the tattoo healing process, then it is propelled with the Ink Salve natural tattoo ointment. Best lotion for a new tattoo. These tattoo aftercare products are the best way to heal a new tattoo, if I do say so myself. Once you heal a new tattoo with Susie Q Skin you will never go back.


Then we launched the natural and organic skin care portion. My true love.  We are growing every day. Our mission is to stay as natural and clean as possible, both in our ingredient selection and in our packaging. We use 40%-100% post-consumer recycled material for all our boxes and printed materials.  We use glass or 100% recyclable paper for all our containers.  All our materials (labels, boxes, brochures) are all printed right here in Oregon by small businesses.  We use Oregon grown essential oils and plant extracts when they are available.  Susie takes hours to study and research the organic, cold-processed, virgin, fair trade oils and butters.  We purchase only organic where we can.  We purchase local where we can. We use the least amount of chemicals, binders, and thickeners as possible.  Our scents are always 100% natural.


Susie Q Skin is a culmination of 30 years of skin struggles.  I see your faces when you’re walking around. I know how painful it is, both physically and emotionally.  I want to reach out and tell you I’ve been there and I can help you.  My products are not conventional.  There are no surfactants that I will ever recommend for your face. I will never tell you it is okay to use soap on your brand-new tattoo.  I want to ease your skin issues and help you love the art you are.  That is our goal. Beautiful, healthy, glowing tattoos and skin so that everyone Loves the Art You’re In.