A leap of faith — or face — led Trisha Tortolani to a new career, and today this Napan is celebrating her 10 years of helping locals look their best.
Back in 2007, Tortolani started her own business, Trisha Tortolani Skin Care.
She’s spent the past decade helping her clients care for their skin, especially the face.
Tortolani hasn’t always been an esthetician.
Prior to becoming a licensed skin care specialist, Tortolani worked for the Volunteer Center of Napa Valley, providing assistance to crime victims, crisis intervention, follow-up counseling and help navigating the criminal justice system.
She eventually became the director of the agency.
However, after 15 years in the nonprofit work, Tortolani said she realized she was ready for a career change.
“I always had a love of skin-care products,” said Tortolani. “Since I was in my teens, I loved cleansers and face creams and would read about what the products would do.”
By her early 30s, Tortolani had started getting regular facials and using products sold only by licensed skin care professionals.
“I noticed a big difference” between that and what she had previously purchased from the department stores, Tortolani said.
Deciding it was time to take a leap into a completely new area, “I left nonprofit world and became an esthetician,” or skin care expert.
Tortolani said when she first opened Trisha Tortolani Skin Care her goal was to specialize in helping people have the skin they were happy with.
“The ‘fluff and buff’ facial was not going to be my thing,” she said. “I wanted to be able to help people get real results.”
When looking for skin-care products to carry she stumbled upon a company owned by the late Dr. James Fulton, co-inventor of Retin A and author of Acne RX, and trained with him.
She also met Laura Cooksey from Face Reality Acne Clinic and attended quite a few of her trainings.
Through that work, “I learned how to carefully customize an acne protocol for each individual client, most of whom had already tried many prescriptions and products for their acne with no success,” she said.
Tortolani opened her business in 2007 and by mid-year 2008 acne clients comprised 80 percent of her business, she said.
“I love acne clients because their results are so obvious,” said Tortolani.
“However, getting ‘clear’ takes a real commitment on the part of the client too, so it’s very important I really explain to them what it’s going to take. They need to be all in or it won’t work.”
She said her acne clients range in age from 10 to 78 years old.
“We work together as a team and it feels amazing to be able to help them finally achieve clear skin.”
Prices range from $60 for an express facial, $75 for an acne treatment, $90 for an “age management” facial treatment and $250 for a “major skin rejuvenation.”
Her spa-like studio — shared with hair stylist Carolyn Athens — also sells products from selected companies, including Michele Corley Clinical Skin Care of Napa.
While acne is Tortolani’s biggest specialty, she gets requests to help with brow shaping and anti-aging treatments.
“Experience with skin damaged by acne makes me very qualified to address other skin concerns,” she noted.
Most anti-aging treatments involve treatments that encourage the skin to function more youthfully, she said.
“I love to educate my clients about how to do this,” she said.
Whether it’s through facials they get from Tortolani, a home care regimen she provides them or referrals to local doctors for more advanced anti-aging remedies, “I see myself as their partner in skin care.”