When Kerry Kourie was in eighth grade, her mother was diagnosed with skin cancer and she became obsessed about sunblock. Her mother fought the cancer and survived, but Kourie's concern for taking care of her skin, and others, stayed with her.
"I became a psycho about following people around with SPF after that," she said.
Chemotherapy, radiation and cancer medications save peoples' lives, but take a toll on their bodies. Today, Kourie, who lives in Garrison, knows cancer treatment affects people psychologically and physically and wants to do her part to help ease the pain.
She aims to address one side effect of these life saving treatments by offering unique oncology spa treatments at her new business in Peekskill.
"With chemo, the skin will change, can get itchy, get red and swell," Koury said. "I am here to alleviate any discomfort that I can and to give people hope and comfort," Kourie said.
The 26-year-old business owner is now one of the only 250 certified oncology estheticians in the country. She specializes in using massage techniques and products for people undergoing cancer therapies or for people who have previously been treated for cancer.
Kourie, who trained under Morag Currin and pioneered the only Oncology Esthetics certification for licensed estheticians, is also trained to screen for cancerous skin lesions, Lymphatic Drainage Massage, and reflexology.
"Oncology training basically just teaches estheticians what not to do,” said Kourie, who is working to become affiliated with the Hudson Valley Hospital Cancer Center and other oncology centers in the area.
With Lymphoma patients a regular treatment could cause damage, can be dangerous and uncomfortable, she said. But, a trained oncology esthetician like Kourie knows how to work with skin that has experienced dramatic changes.
Kourie first got into the estehetics field when she got her first public relations job with Estee Lauder, right out of college.
While she enjoyed beauty and health, she grew tired of public relations and decided to redirect her career path by attending the New York School of Esthetics in Tarrytown. Following graduation she worked for a medical spa specializing in laser treatments and then in Yorktown.
After some time at , Kourie felt she was ready to start out on her own.
"This was the time do to this," she said. "When I am still living at home, don’t have kids and am not married."
Kourie chose Peekskill because she finds it to be “super funky.” She was attracted by the vintage charm, but updated and modern interior of the old masonry building, in which Skinchanted is now located on Brown Street.
Kourie also has a licensed massage therapist that works at Skinchanted twice a week. Skinchanted also offers henna tattooing for eyebrows, reflexology, Brazilian and facial waxing, paraben free tanning and MAC make up application.
The airy space, painted light purple, contains two rooms, one for waxing and another for massages. Kourie wanted to be sure she could separate the two treatments so there was never a rush to ready one room for a different kind of treatment. She also does not book appointments back to back to avoid rushing a client, she said.
Flirty, flowery and unique jewelry is displayed and for sale in the front room. All the jewelry is home-made by various artists and jewelers she finds on Etsy.com, an art/craft website, and is under $50.
Skinchanted treatments are priced competitively, and range from about $75 to $150.
Skinchanted is located at 1016 Brown Street, Suite 303, Peekskill. You can call at 914-930-1421 or visit www.skinchantedspa.com.