POCATELLO — After graduating with her nurse practitioner license in May 2020, Angela Johnston was thrust into the job market at the same time that everyone was trying to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic and Idaho was under restrictions issued by Gov. Brad Little.
As it was, “nobody was hiring,” she said.
Johnston — who was born in Blackfoot and raised in Aberdeen — took that as an opportunity to get some additional training in aesthetics at the National Laser Institute in Scottsdale, Arizona.
When she returned, she took her employment into her own hands, opening Skintuition Medical Aesthetics in a tiny office on East Center Street in Pocatello in August 2020.
The business took off and a year later, Johnston was able to expand her business, moving into a much larger 1,400-square-foot space at 1737 Hurley Drive, Suite D, in Pocatello.
“Business was going well enough and we felt comfortable enough to move to a larger location,” she said.
Johnston’s husband, Josh, left his 20-year career in the auto industry to help her manage the business when they moved into the new location.
“It started as my thing, but I said, ‘You know, we’re growing. I need you here,’ and he’s been managing employees for so long that I basically wanted to do this stuff and have him do the rest,” she said.
For Josh, the move has been a good one.
“I have felt the stress just melt right off of me (since leaving the previous job) because I came from having over 25 employees under me,” he said. “I don’t want to be that guy who has a heart attack at 45. Since I’ve been here, I feel my blood pressure’s gone down.”
The two — who live in Chubbuck — have a sense of ease between them that makes it simple to see that they’re good business partners.
“He’s high-stress anyway. I’m more mellow,” Angela said. “... I kind of balance him out, too. It works well. People keep asking us, ‘How is it working with your spouse?’”
In response, Josh joked, “I’m one of those weird guys that likes hanging out with his wife.”
The business is a medical spa, and while similar businesses sometimes branch out into doing services also seen in salons, Angela said the thing that sets Skintuition apart from the competition is that she is focusing solely on medical aesthetics.
“We’re not going to branch out and have hair and nails and services like that,” she said. “It’s just going to be your Botox, fillers and maybe some medical-grade equipment, some lasers. So I can really just hone in my skills on what I like doing. ... Just being specialized, I think it keeps you more professional, so I can concentrate my education on this specific thing.”
The business offers a variety of services, including Botox, dermal fillers, chemical peels, thread lifts, B12 shots and spider vein treatment.
Regarding the latter, Angela said, “It’s basically a hypertonic solution, which just causes the veins to kind of collapse when you inject the solution. Once they’re collapsed and they don’t have the blood flowing to them anymore, your body just kind of absorbs them.”
Josh said, “It’s pretty painless. She did it to me.”
The business also offers platelet-rich plasma treatment, also known as a “vampire facial.”
“You take a patient and you draw their blood and you spin it down in the centrifuge,” Angela said. "You separate out the plasma because the plasma has platelets in it, and you take your microneedling machine, which basically sounds and looks like a tattoo machine without any ink, and it causes little microperforations into the skin. You put the plasma back over the skin and it kind of seeps down into those little holes, those little channels we put in your face, and it’s basically like food for the skin. It has all sorts of growth factors in it."
She continued, "Basically after the age of 25, your skin cells start dying and that’s the aging process. So where you had all this proliferation of healthy cells that are turning over new skin cells, making that nice glowy appearance, the skin starts to get dull, the aging process takes over and the skin starts dying. What this does is feed those dying cells so they can regenerate.”
Angela tried the treatment on Josh, and there was a noticeable difference afterward.
“She just likes sticking needles in me,” Josh said teasingly.
“It’s my payback,” Angela said with a laugh.
The Johnstons held a grand opening on Sept. 22.
“It was a pretty successful one, too,” Josh said. “We had a lot of people show up.”
To get to the point where they could open, though, they had to do some pretty major renovations to the space, which was formerly a Mediterranean-themed tanning salon.
“We get a lot of compliments, especially from people who used to come here to tan,” Josh said. “We made a huge change in the space by putting the ceiling in and changing the color of everything, changing the (reception desk).”
The result of their hard work is a space that’s calming to be in.
Skintuition also carries the skincare brand ZO, which Angela says only medical providers can sell.
“It has your basic general cleanser exfoliation but then you can target specific problems like if you want to have a redness protocol or anti-aging or if people have a lot of sun damage there are retinol skin brighteners, so you can tailor it specifically to the patient’s needs depending on what they’re most concerned with,” she said.
In the coming months, the couple wants to invest in a laser “so we can do laser hair removal, RF microneedling, all that sort of thing,” Josh said. “But they’re very expensive.”
For Angela, the journey to running her own business has been a long one.
Before getting into nursing, she worked in law enforcement, but it wasn’t the right fit.
“There’s really no place to climb up the ladder — you can go to patrol or you can become a supervisor, but I just wanted to be a little more hands-on,” she said. “Plus, when I thought about nursing, you can go on to be a nurse educator, you can be a supervisor, you can work with babies, you can work in diabetes. There’s just such a range, … so I thought it was a good fit for me.”
After getting her bachelor’s degree in nursing in 2015, she worked in the emergency room at Portneuf Medical Center for about five years before getting her master’s degree.
Now, Angela is fulfilling a childhood dream, though probably not in the way she thought she would as a kid.
“I’ve been really artistic since I was a kid,” she said. “I used to tell my mom that I was going to be an artist. She would laugh and be like, ‘Oh, you’ll be a starving artist someday.’ I decided to go into something more practical like law enforcement or nursing. Now I’ve finally found a niche where I can kind of combine both — a little artistic side, a little medical side.”
Skintuition Medical Aesthetics is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday and Wednesdays by appointment only. For more information, visit skintuitionmedicalaesthetics.com.