The Skin Nerd: "It's not just about potions, it's about starting from within"

Jennifer Rock spoke to Newstalk.com about self-esteem, wipes and edible sun cream (sort of)

The Skin Nerd: "It's not just about potions, it's about starting from within"

Image: Facebook

Jennifer Rock - under the affectionate moniker of The Skin Nerd - highlights a particular interaction with a follower which she said summarises society's tumultuous relationship with self-esteem and skin appearance.

"A 13-year-old girl sent me a video of herself self-harming as a way of stressing how much she needed my help with her acne," she said. "I found it overwhelming.

"I wish self-esteem and the idea of having good skin were separate entities, but they're not."

Former beauty therapist-turned-skin-aficionado, Rock is using her platform to help people become at peace with their skin, including the girl mentioned above, who is now seeking treatment. Rock uses her platform The Skin Nerd to bring together nutritionists, doctors, psychologists, along with other experts to educate people on their skin.

"If I don't have the answer, I'm happy to admit that and that's why it's so important to redirect them to someone who does," she says.

With just under 45,000 likes on Facebook and countless views on Snapchat, Ms Rock has emerged as one of the leading stars of social media stars - confirmed by her high-profile appearance at this weekend's Well-Fest.

But to dismiss her as an 'influencer' would do her a disservice; Rock uses her platform The Skin Nerd to educate and assist when it comes to all things dermal. 

"I am the farthest from portraying perfection," she tells Newstalk.com, explaining that the majority of her time on Snapchat is spent talking about her spots.

A skin nerd is born

Rock began her career as a beauty therapist, and subsequently fell in with the skincare aspect as she shadowed plastic surgeons and worked under skincare brands

She said she often considered what would have happened if she'd fully pursued studies in the area of medicine.

"I'd applied for nursing and had been accepted, but I had my son Matthew at 18 and beauty therapy allowed me to work more flexibly," she said.

The Skin Nerd has afforded Rock the opportunity to lecture across the country on all things skin, which she says "keeps her brain ticking." On the website, she talks among other things, about The Skin Gym, outlining all the treatments available for people looking for answers to their skin issues.

Image: Facebook

Business

As well as attempting to teach the public about their skin, Rock is also the woman behind the 'Cleanse Off Mitt' - a reusable microfibre cosmetic mitt designed to remove makeup and oil from the skin.

Her inspiration came from seeing clients shell out big money on serums and the like, while reverting to cheap and convenient methods for makeup removal, like wipes.

"People don't respect their skin as an organ," she says. "When I began researching, the only products available that weren't harmful cost upwards of €30. Nobody would pay that, yet they were happy to spend the money on serums that weren't undoing the harmful effects."

What's so bad about wipes, exactly? Rock says she could tell straight away when a client used wipes, as they tend to strip away the skins natural layer. They irritate the skin and exacerbate underlying sensitivities.

She often day-dreams of having her own skincare line, but currently she's focusing on other projects - including an e-commerce business launching later this year.

Why she does it

"The social media interaction I get is limited because it's so public, but now I have two people manning our emails," she says. "The amount of correspondence I get is insane."

In one instance, a husband of one of her followers overheard his wife watching Rock talk skincare on Snapchat. It prompted him to get tested, resulting in a skin cancer diagnosis. He sought treatment in private, before going back to his wife with the good news that his tumour had become benign.

"Obviously, psoriasis and acne really affect people but it's these stories that really get to me."

At WellFest, Rock will be looking to bring positivity to the attendees surrounding her, aware that it can often be a very heavy topic.

Summer skincare tips

As the weather improves, Rock also gave her top tips for keeping skin in suitably good nick.

  • SPF is for life, not just for summer - sun protection is about protecting from UV rays, not heat.
  • Don't go for the highest factor SPF - Irish people are susceptible to miliaria rubra (or 'prickly heat') because of our pale skin under hot conditions. Instead, go lower and reapply regularly.
  • Edible sun cream? - When tomatoes break down when cooked, for example in soup, an enzyme called lycopene is released, which blocks UV light from the skin.

Jennifer Rock, aka The Skin Nerd, will be appearing at this year's WellFest, 'Ireland's only health, fitness and wellness festival', in Herbert Park, Donnybrook, on May 6 and 7. To get tickets, click here.