Summers spent as a lifeguard at Geauga Lake left my youthful teenage skin sun-kissed, bronzed and glowing.
Bottles of sunscreen bobbed around unused in my book bag. But it wasn’t until my late 20s that the fine lines starting rolling in like a low tide around my eyes. Now in my late 30s, I try to buoy the aging process and any further sun damage with a regimen of cleansers, moisturizers, eye creams and retinols.
While reading up on all the latest trends I could try — derma rollers, micellar water, charcoal — I came across the rose quartz crystal roller facial ($200 weekdays, $225 weekends) at Spa Walden, which ranks among Spas of America’s Top 100 Spas.
Known as the romance stone and used to attract love, the pinkish crystal also has benefits when used on the skin. It stimulates blood circulation and helps unblock negative energy that causes fine lines and wrinkles.
Days later, I check into the tranquil Aurora-based spa, ready to fall in love with my skin after the 60-minute treatment. Just a short drive away from where I spent those hazy, humid afternoons, I’ve come to this rural retreat to rescue my skin.
After being shown to my own spa suite — one of 12 that boast a soaking tub, steam shower, daybed, private bathroom and more — I have a half-hour to unwind before Daisy, one of the spa’s four aestheticians, enters to begin.
She assesses my skin as she cleanses and exfoliates. Masks are painted on with precision and washed away delicately minutes later. Hot towels are placed and lifted. In between, she starts manipulating my neck and scalp — part of a lymphatic massage. Her touch is light and deliberate as she offers some advice.
“Your skin looks pretty good. You should try some vitamin C to help with the redness here and here,” she says, pointing to my cheeks and the edges around my nose.
I soak up the tip and start planning a trip to Sephora in my head while she retreats to the nearby minifridge to extract a rose quartz roller. Even more beneficial when cool, the roller helps increase the absorption of skin care products.
She lathers my well-prepped skin with an eye cream, moisturizer and an antioxidant firming serum one by one. She takes time in between each application to work in long, upward motions, rolling the cool stone over small sections of my face. It’s refreshing and calming.
And the meticulous process has a purpose.
“No woman or man likes things sinking or sagging,” says director Barrie Rosencrans. “Gravity tends to pull everything down. This change of direction of rolling the skin upward brings elasticity to the muscles.”
After Daisy leaves the suite, I rush to the mirror, though I have another 30 minutes to relax. I’m too excited and need to see the results now. Although the mood lighting makes it hard to get a true reflection of my new and improved profile, my skin looks dewy and rosy. It’s flushed with a hint of youthfulness I thought I’d lost.
Once outside in the rare, unfiltered winter sunlight, I steal another glimpse of myself. But not for too long — I’ve got to watch out for those powerful rays.
1119 Aurora Hudson Road, Aurora, 330-995-9772, yourwalden.com
Click here to read the full list of "20 Best Northeast Ohio Spas."