Acne Specialist Teri Eastin – Changing Lives!

Christine Byer So, this interview is with my dear friend and colleague Teri Eastin, who is located in Atlanta. She is an acne specialist and her passion is solving the toughest acne cases. If you have adult acne or if your teen or whatever, she discusses the three biggest causes of acne and how to solve them. So stay tuned and learn.

Christine Byer Teri’s area of expertise is acne. All sorts of acne, like teen acne, adult acne, all acne, all acne.

Teri Eastin All Acne, yep.

Christine Byer Teri is in Atlanta, right? You’re in Atlanta? What part of Atlanta?

Teri Eastin In Decatur, specifically.

Christine Byer Oh, OK. Yeah. So Teri and I get coaching together and we’ve known each other for a while. And Teri is one of the hardest workers I know, and also very intuitive. So, what made you choose treating acne as your specialty in skin care?

Teri Eastin So when I first graduated from an esthetic school, I was really fortunate to work in a super high end, beautiful day spa. I thought, this is awesome. It’s gonna be a relaxing place to work and it’s going to be good for me, because I’m pretty high-strung. But of course, the client is the one that you got to relax and have all that luxury. I’m like a chicken with my head cut off in my brain. And after being there for a couple of years, I just felt like, for me, I was stuck in a dark room, all day long, putting people to sleep, and I wasn’t really making a difference. So fast forward, I got the opportunity to work for a dermatologist. And that’s when my true love for acne, which sounds like a weird thing to say, was born. I loved doing extractions. They said if you go to the day spa, you don’t want in-depth extractions. You want to relax; you don’t want to come out red. And so working at the derm, I was able to do the extractions aggressively if I needed to. And then I didn’t have to do all the fluffy stuff.

Teri Eastin So it was like the perfect marriage for me.

Christine Byer Yeah.

Teri Eastin After working there for almost eight years, I was like, gosh, people just aren’t… they don’t seem to be getting better. And I was like, if we know what acne is, and we have all these prescriptions and we’re doing these treatments, I don’t understand what’s the problem? So the client, you know, the patients would ask me, like, what else can I do? Could I change my diet? Do I need new makeup, or whatever? I’m like, I don’t know because they really didn’t teach us that much in esthetic school.

Christine Byer That’s right.

Teri Eastin It was really detailed, you know. Yeah, it really gave us like the high level acne information.

Christine Byer Yeah. They just do it all. And then that’s it. Then you got to pick your specialty.

Teri Eastin Exactly. So I became an acne specialist in 2012 and it plugged all the holes in my knowledge. Diet is important, poor quality ingredients are a thing. And just because it’s dermatologist recommended, or even some prescriptions, it doesn’t mean that it’s good for your skin or that it won’t break you out. So that’s when I was like, oh my God, this is exactly what I’m supposed to be doing.

Christine Byer Well, that’s cool. I didn’t know that. So you got in it, you started specializing in acne in 2012. So, I started specializing in micro current at the same time.

Teri Eastin Oh, how funny. I just bought a micro current 2011/2012.

Christine Byer Oh, yeah?

Teri Eastin I was like, okay. I’m going to kind of do all the things. And then like, I did this and I was like, oh, yeah, I’ve got to sell this baby.

Christine Byer It’s so funny. You’re know, you’re just drawn to a certain thing. You’ve got to go with it. So it’s like, as a client, I would never want go myself for acne. I would want to go to you!  You know, I never… So our next question is, what did you learn to be the root causes of acne?

Teri Eastin So, there are three big components. The biggest one is excessive dead skin cell buildup. So, acne prone skin sheds up to five layers of dead skin cells every day where a normal skin only sheds one layer of dead skin cells a day. And not only that, your…you know, if you’re an acne prone person, your skin and oil is stickier than a normal skin. So, I equate it – and I have these weird analogies that I explain to people but I think it really is like the perfect “Oh, that totally makes sense.” You’ve made Rice Krispies treats, right? We’re the same generation. Cells are your Rice Krispies and your oil and dead skin cell buildup is your butter and marshmallow mixture.

Christine Byer Marshmallow.

Teri Eastin You mix them together and it creates this big sticky ball of mess, right?

Christine Byer Oh my god, that’s…

Teri Eastin Yeah, our system is going to force your skin, if you’re acne prone, to behave like a normal skin. So it’s going to reduce that excessive dead skin cells shedding, reduce the p acne bacteria – that’s the second component – and then reduce some of the oil. So you can have acne and be dry. But most of the time it’s excess oil.

Christine Byer So, does the excessive skin shedding, because I’ve seen a lot of people with dry skin and acne, is that, does that can help contribute to that?

Teri Eastin Yeah.

Christine Byer If they’re really sensitized.

Teri Eastin Yes, absolutely. And you know what? I mean like… keratosis

Christine Byer That’s adult, adult acne. Usually.

Teri Eastin Yeah, but you know what. You can still be a drier skin and still have that dead skin cell buildup, or it tends to be more hormonal so it’s more cystic type of break out. So you may not be super oily, but you’ve got those cysts under the skin that is red and leave marks for a long time.

Christine Byer So, those are those are the three causes of acne?

Teri Eastin Yeah, those are the three components. Now, whether it’s starting from puberty, you know, hormonally-related as far as like your monthly cycle, sometimes birth control, menopause – it doesn’t matter what is going on, or whether it’s caused by makeup, and sometimes diet absolutely plays a component or plays a role in worsening it. But acne doesn’t really get caused by your diet. That usually gets exacerbated by it.

Christine Byer Ah, okay.

Teri Eastin So whether it starts on the face, back or chest or any of those reasons, it all starts the same down deep in the pores. So, therefore, it can all be treated topically as well.

Christine Byer Cool. I didn’t know that. I’m learning new things.

Teri Eastin Yeah. Yeah.

Christine Byer Let’s see…how do you determine what a specific client needs?

Teri Eastin So, based on typically their skin Fitzpatrick. Or how light or dark their skin is, the kind of acne they have. So whether it’s inflamed, non-inflamed, or combination, which is a little bit of both. And their oiliness and severity of the, especially if it’s more inflamed acne; then we’ll go stronger with our antibacterial products and things like that. So, we typically start low or toward the bottom, if you will, and you’re not going to be on the base necessarily of everything. But we don’t start out strong right off the bat either, because if we dry you out too much, then that’s going to break out. So…

Christine Byer Right.

Teri Eastin Right. And then we go stronger as we need it to or as we need to based on how the skin responds to the product. So, for some clients, they’ll start on our base kit and they won’t stray from it because it works really well for them. Some people are more severe and they’re going to need up to a 10 percent benzoyl peroxide. So it really depends on how the skin responds to our products and then based on what it’s telling us, then we go stronger with different products based on that.

Christine Byer So the next question is, do you use products that require a prescription?

Teri Eastin No. That’s kind of a beautiful thing about it is it’s our private line. It’s not all custom. I didn’t create all the products, but I did work with the lab to make sure that it didn’t have the things I don’t want in it and it did have the things that I do want. And so you don’t need a prescription. I don’t like clients to just go on the website and just buy willy-nilly. I really do like them to either fill out a consultation form or schedule a consultation so that we can see what’s going on with their skin and make sure we direct them in the right path. But yeah, that’s the great thing, is that our products don’t need a prescription at all.

Christine Byer Well that’s cool. And so are you doing a lot of online consultations right now? Are you talking to people from all over? Because we, we can’t work on them.

Teri Eastin Yeah, absolutely…not as many as I would have expected. You know what’s interesting, a few years ago, I was really…

Christine Byer But you’re open to that?

Teri Eastin Oh, absolutely. That’s the only thing that’s available right now.

Christine Byer Yeah.

Teri Eastin Virtual appointments. I really want clients to do that because if you can’t come in, which you can’t [due to the pandemic], then this is the next best thing. And trying to really build that part of the practice because I thought, gosh, if I could get a hold of people in this way and really help more people than, you know, the only the ones that could come into the office and work on people by the hour, I would do that. And every last person, let’s say 95 out of 100 said, oh, no, I want to come in. I want you to see my skin and right…

Christine Byer That’s not an option. Of course we want to come in. But now that’s not an option, it’s so great that you can sort of follow people around in a progress.

Teri Eastin Yes.

Christine Byer Otherwise, I think so many people go and buy products, acne products, and they go it alone. And then they start accum…this is what I see anyway, I think you start accumulating all this stuff and you’re like, well, of course, your skin is breaking out. It is freaking out. It has too many products and too many things going on. I think it’s so important to have a pro like you. And I refer all my – you know, if I have a remote client, they’re talking, acne, I’m like Teri, Teri, Teri. I just felt it was not my area of specialty. And it’s what I do know that it’s great to be able to follow a client’s progress. And if they’re suffering from dryness, you can dial this back and you know what to do. You know how to tinker with it where they may not. And then they start self-medicating and then it’s just a big mess. And so, and then they say, oh, products don’t work and they actually do, the right ones. All right. That’s why you’re… so you are so important in the equation.

Teri Eastin Yeah. You know, I mean, I tell people we are the safe and effective alternative to prescriptions, the harsh prescriptions and antibiotics. So most importantly, it’s safe and it’s effective. You just have to do it the right way. And we, we really take all the guesswork out of it. We give you a list and this is what you do. One, two, three, four, five. You know, whatever, how many steps, what to use, when, in what order, how much – all that. So it takes all the guesswork out of it. So they really just like, “Okay, I have a playbook. And this is what I do.”

Christine Byer Yeah. If they run into issues, they just schedule a consult with you and you guys figure it out. Yeah, I love that. I love being that detective and just getting down because, you know, sometimes it’s not even the products, It’s other products they’re using.

Teri Eastin Yes.

Christine Byer Like on their hair or…and you’re just like, what? It’s their…it’s their shower gel. It’s this, it’s that, it just goes on and on. There’s so much stuff now and then we never had to think about before.

Teri Eastin Yes. And that’s also what makes it so difficult sometimes, too. It’s like clients will tell us how “I’m doing everything.” Well, they’re only doing half the routine. They’re not doing the whole thing. You know, nobody wanted to be…

Christine Byer They’re doing it twice a week, three times a week.

Teri Eastin Yeah. Or they wash their face twice a day. Every day. But they don’t do the other stuff, but they don’t tell us that part, you know.

Christine Byer Yeah.

Teri Eastin So it’s like it’s all encompassing. It is super simple that this is what’s needed. But then we also talk about diet and lifestyle and makeup and different things like that that they should be doing. And there’s no way, you know, there’s no guarantee that they’re doing it. And I can’t go home with them. So it’s like, I don’t know what you’re really doing at home.

Christine Byer Maybe you should start doing like nightly check-ins. Like they have to.

Teri Eastin Something, but I would never have a life, though.

Christine Byer Yeah, that’s true. Your kids would pulling at your hair and say, “Mommy, we need your attention.”

Teri Eastin Yeah.

Christine Byer Yeah. Well, a day, a day in the life of an acne-ist, an esthetician.

Teri Eastin Absolutely.

Christine Byer Let’s see. You’re known for having a 95 percent success rate, treating clients of acne. Tell us how your acne treatment program is different than what someone would find, would find at the dermatologist office.

Teri Eastin Really great question. I have so many clients over the years who’ve like, “I’ve been doing the derm thing for two years, five years, ten years, decades, even. Used every single prescription. I’ve tried every antibiotic. How’s this going to work any better if a doctor in a white coat can’t do it?” “And so, Mike, I know it sounds crazy, but really it’s using the products that are killing the p acne bacteria, reducing the oil and reducing that excess of skin.” We also talk about diet and lifestyle like I was talking about. Dairy is one of the big culprits for creating inflammation in the body. And there are a lot of people that don’t believe me. And I just say give them a try. What if it works? Which it does, because I see it every day.

Teri Eastin You know, and some of the other things like peanuts and peanut butter. Any other nut or nut butter is fine. Peanuts have androgens.

Christine Byer Oh. OK. I thought you said it’s bad for you. You know, it’s actually good? It’s fine?. Peanut butter is okay?

Teri Eastin No. Peanut butter is not okay.

Christine Byer What, no peanuts? Peanuts are bad? I love peanut butter.

Teri Eastin Yeah, so peanuts have androgens that break down like testosterone when they’re broken down the body. And it’s weird because this anomaly; they’re not really a nut, they’re a legume. But legumes don’t have that trait either. I don’t know. They’re this weird thing. So, any other nut or nut butter is fine for our acne-prone clients.

Christine Byer Ha! Who knew?

Teri Eastin Ya, I know. And people go, but I love peanut butter. And I’m like, I know, I’m sorry.

Christine Byer What about almond butter, is almond okay?

Teri Eastin Yeah. And cashew butter is okay.

Teri Eastin Yeah.

Christine Byer OK, let’s see what else… The 95 percent success rate. Yeah. So why, why go into the derm? Were you done with that?

Teri Eastin I just want to make sure that I’d, like did I answer the question? So really, it’s – the way I explain it to people is when I worked at the derm, they would give you a prescription for whatever. And let’s just say it’s Epiduo or Retin-A or something like that. Well, I could give you our actives – that’s what I call them, my serum and acne gel – all that are going to help with those, that skin cell and all the stuff we just talked about. But if we didn’t change anything else and I didn’t, you know, if I didn’t change your skin care or your makeup or talk about diet and lifestyle and things like that, those two products that I would give you wouldn’t work either. So, what we do is we change as many of those acne aggravators as possible so that we can set you up for success. So that’s why prescriptions don’t work. They don’t change your home care, which is typically a set of pills, Cerave, Neutrogena. They have pore cloggers in them. So you wind up being stuck in a hamster wheel because you might be in products that are really helping to reduce the buildup of dead skin but you’re still using all these other things, are eating these things that are causing you breakouts. So it doesn’t seem like it’s working because you’re only getting, like, a small portion of the puzzle.

Christine Byer Wow. Yeah, I’ve seen it so much over the years. So, can you work with somebody who’s not local for your Virtual Clear Skin Program?

Teri Eastin Absolutely. That’s exactly why I created it that way. Like I said earlier, the vast majority of people want to come in. But having this option is amazing because of the technology that we’re using right now. So I have people fill out a health intake form that gives me their health history. I really like them to send in pictures that are like fill the frame, super close up, so I can see what’s going on each side and from the front or chest and back if necessary. What prescriptions they’re on or have been on and all that stuff. And then we use Zoom, Face Time or just regular old phone calls, if that works best for people; ideally we do it every two weeks. But the way we have it set up right now is we have our initial consultation. Explain how the whole program works and everything and what they’re going to need to do. They buy their kit online and then we send them an e-mail every two weeks and tell them how they need to change, and change up using their products that they’ve purchased and/or fill out the check-in form if they’re having a challenge, send a new pictures, answer the questions so that we can really have this kind of online conversation. It’s free if you do it by filling out the check and form and via email only. But the virtual calls are only fifty dollars for up to 30 minutes. So it’s really great to be able to…

Christine Byer Wow, that’s cheaper than mine!

Teri Eastin It’s great to be able to have a conversation. It doesn’t always take nearly as long to hammer it out via voice than it does to sit and send an e-mail. So it’s an option. Some people take advantage of it. Some people really are like, I’m a self-starter; I got it. I’ll just do the online thing. It’s nice to be able to have the option to support it right that way. Yes. Absolutely.

Christine Byer Oh, that’s cool. So what is the average cost of the Virtual Clear Skin Program and how does it compare to what someone would pay in a dermatologist office?

Teri Eastin Gotcha. So it really depends on their insurance. If you have a really great insurance plan, then it’s just your co-pay. Sometimes, though, depending on what the, what the plan is, they don’t consider acne…they consider it more cosmetic. So, what happens is, you might only have a co-pay for your visit today, but then you end up having a bill from them two weeks later or whatever for the difference because it’s considered part of your deductible or whatever. So it’s hard to say what that would all hammer out to be. Ultimately, our kit is less than two hundred dollars, so two of those products are meant to run out sooner rather than later. So maybe around the six to eight week mark, everything else will last three, maybe four months, give or take, and then you’ll be purchase products around the six week mark, give or take. Then appointments, if you are coming into the office, consultation is $75, whether it’s virtual or in office. And then acne treatments are 30 minutes for $100 or $150 for an hour. And then like I said, the virtual appointments are $50 for 30 minutes. So easy way to check in. And, if this was like the normal life situation and not…

Christine Byer Yeah.

Teri Eastin If you’d come in every two weeks for those acne treatments. So we would do an exfoliation and focus on extractions to really get those infections out of the skin. For now, it would just be that the check-ins virtually if you wanted to. And then the main focus is using the products twice a day, every day to combat that dead skin buildup.

Christine Byer Awesome. So what do you say if people do their own extractions at home?

Teri Eastin Well, I tell everybody not to, just like you do I’m sure. No, not a good idea. I explain to people why. The main reason is that most people go, oh my God, I’ve got a, you know, and then they just go right in and attack it. So dirty hands and fingernails, bacteria. You don’t get it all out. So it comes back again. You have to reenter the skin and reenter the skin so it doesn’t come out again. Or you’re one of our clients who knows there’s more under the skin than what they can see when they just do this, and they go to town and then ten or fifteen minutes on one and they have a big wound. And that’s where the scarring can come from. So I know that everybody I tell is gonna do it anyway. I just say, don’t do it. Let us do it. But in the event that you can’t, be gentle with yourself, you know, wash your face first. Use tissues over your hands, over your fingertips, and then use an acne product, either a toner or benzoyl peroxide or salicylic afterwards to help dry up and kill whatever bacteria might be in there.

Christine Byer So tell me about your greatest success story. I’m sure you have many, many, many. But what’s, what’s your favorite?

Teri Eastin Trying to think over the years… I mean, I’ve had some, some people that have just a ton of inflammation and it just is so painful and red and they’re at their wits end. And after it’s all clear, they’re like oh my gosh, especially if they look back, they’re like…you know, I show them their before and after pictures and they’re like, I was walking around like that! It’s like, oh, but really it’s the more severe clients. And that’s my passion of working with those clients because it is life changing. Like everybody deserves clear skin and everybody can have clear skin. It’s just making the choices every day, following our recommendations. Darker skin that has the marks left over from past breakouts. The Mandelic serum is amazing at lightening that over time. So yeah, so lots of pigmentation. Having more severe acne and all that pigmentation to lighten up is really tremendous. And then really the more severe inflamed – there’s a client that, one of Christina’s clients actually, that we got her clear like right at the six month mark. She was so patient and diligent and she couldn’t come every two weeks. Her schedule didn’t allow. But I think she came in about once a month or so. But she followed all of our instructions. And her skin is just remarkable. So it’s so exciting. That’s the most exciting part to me.

Christine Byer Yeah, to see the transformation.

Teri Eastin And for me, whenever I was doing anti-aging, no, I didn’t get..I didn’t have all the machines and I wasn’t as dedicated, obviously, as you are. And so that’s the thing. I’m like, oh, if you need anti-aging, go see Christine. But I never got the wow factor. And for me, that acne is like so awesome to be able to have that huge before and after for people, because that’s, that’s what makes my skin care so on fire.

Christine Byer Yeah, absolutely. I know, Teri, when we all get together, Teri is the biggest crier.

Teri Eastin Oh my god, I’m got such a baby. I’m on the verge right now, if I’m going to be honest.

Christine Byer This is our life’s work. It is this is your, your life’s work. And it’s where I believe it’s what you were put on this earth to do. And she’s she wants everybody to succeed. I’ve never seen somebody who works in the acne field that is so dedicated and so just hopeful of people getting clear, I guess.

Teri Eastin Really.

Christine Byer So, I mean, yeah, it’s really amazing to see you, and everything. You’ve always, you’re always like I just want everybody to be clear. Everybody deserves clear skin.

Teri Eastin Yes. And, you know, when people come to me, you know, oh, is this really going to work? Yes. If you do what I tell you, it is amazing. But you have to do the things. So it’s almost like, hey, I spent $500 on this amazing skincare line and it’s on my bathroom counter, and it’s been there for like six months. And my skin doesn’t look any different. And you ask them, are using it every day? So making the investment isn’t enough. You actually have to do the work. So, yes, when they do the payoff is phenomenal.

Christine Byer Hey, man, so where would we go to learn more about your program?

Teri Eastin So our website is the first and foremost You can also find us on Instagram and Facebook at Atlanta. Acne Specialists, but I think we pop up in all those things. If you go there, and we have several of our before and after pictures on those platforms, if you want to see the kind of work that we do.

Christine Byer And can you tell us your phone number?

Teri Eastin I won’t be there answering every day, but it’s 404-900-5152. And again, we’re in Decatur specifically. We have a ton of people that probably don’t want to drive, like from the outskirts of the city, and for those of you, I would say our virtual program is perfect.

Christine Byer Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Teri. I appreciate your time today.

Teri Eastin Me, I always enjoy having a conversation with you. So this was delightful. I appreciate it so much.