Jenna Johnson On Adult Acne, Hot Pilates and Self-Confidence

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While we’re often taken aback by the glittering costumes, A-list contestants and that larger-than-life Mirrorball Trophy, there is a lot of blood sweat and tears that goes into being a Dancing with the Stars Pro—Jenna Johnson would know. After rising to dance stardom on season 10 of So You Think You Can Dance, Johnson quickly became ballroom royalty after securing a spot as one of the pros on the beloved ballroom competition show Dancing with the Stars.

While Johnson’s time on the show has lead her to many victories—some Mirrorball Trophies and the love of her life, Val Chmerkovsky to name a few—the 30-year-old dancer has struggled behind the scenes with her confidence (like many of us) on account of her skin. The discovery of Exuviance’s powerhouse products, though, changed the game for Johnson and helped her get her sparkle back. Ahead, the ballroom legend talks skin-care mishaps, hot pilates and the people and practices that keep her sane.

You’ve mentioned that Exuviance products, specifically their AP25 Peel, have been crucial to your skin-care routine as of late. What led you to Exuviance?

“As you know, I perform a lot on stage and I am constantly having to wear thick, heavy makeup. I also wasn’t educated about my skin and what products were too harsh or not strong enough for my skin type, so I really had to go on a journey. A couple of years ago, I had really bad adult acne, and there was nothing that my dermatologist was telling me that was helping. I was so insecure showing up on set with my face looking how it did—I was just really bummed. So, flash forward to this journey of finding what skin-care brands really help my confidence and my skin, and Exuviance is that. I’m really, really grateful for their Performance Peel AP25 At-Home Facial ($86). It has helped reset my skin and get it ready for show days or long days on set.

I naturally have really dry skin, and this peel is great for that. It’s an at-home, high-performance level peel that you can do in your bedroom or in your bathroom, and it has helped with resurfacing my dry areas and making my skin feel brighter. I’m so grateful for that because, again, I I feel like makeup is a huge part of my life, but I never want to feel like I’m hiding behind it or hiding my natural beauty. I love that I can go makeup-free anywhere now and feel confident in my own skin.”

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What are the steps in your skin-care routine that you’re not skipping?

“I think finding a good cleanser as well as a staple moisturizer and staying hydrated has been key for me lately. Exuviance’s Gentle Cream Cleanser ($34) has been great for my routine as well as their Daily Corrector ($49) which has SPF in it. Some products just go on too thick and make you feel like you have really oily skin, so a great moisturizer and a light cleanser are my musts right now. I would also say exfoliating—Exuviance’s Gentle Daily Exfoliating Pads ($45) are awesome. They give you a little lift throughout the week, and you can use them daily. But, twice a week, I would highly suggest the Performance Peel. I think you’re really going to see immediate change in your skin.”

What habits have you developed to keep your body feeling healthy and energized while you’re performing and filming so constantly?

“I would say allowing myself to have a rest day is huge. Just taking a day where I’m not feeling super stressed out or getting on myself that I didn’t work out that day or I haven’t done so many things. I think a recharge is so important for not only my body’s sake, but also for my mental health. Whether I’m at home with my baby or sitting by the pool or just going to a hot yoga class, just doing something for myself and prioritizing that really keeps me sane. I think self-care days at home are really cute and fun, too. Exuviance actually has an Exfoliating and Conditioning Foot Balm ($29), so sometimes I put it on, put on some cozy socks and my favorite TV show and boom: self-care moment.”

You’re also a mom and a wife and on top of your full-time career. What are some of your favorite wellness practices that help you stay grounded?

“I know that I’m very active for my work in general, but I think that working out or moving my body in a way that doesn’t have to do with work is good for my mental health—it’s that endorphin release. I’m into hot pilates right now. That helps my mental health by helping me decompress. I also love walking. I think going on little stroller walks with my son have been so healing. Walking around the neighborhood and being in nature, being outside, getting some sunlight on your skin, those little things are so underrated.

I also think family time is so important. I love quiet moments at home, just with my boys—my hubby and my son. They are so good for my soul. Talking to family and friends is always helpful too. I luckily have a great relationship with my family, and I think FaceTiming and keeping in touch with them and allowing myself to vent to them or tell them what’s on my mind really helps as well.”

How has motherhood changed your relationship to beauty and wellness?

“I do have a lot less time for it, but it’s also made me prioritize the moments that I do have for it and really take advantage of those moments to do my full routine because I know that they’re going to be limited. So, whenever I do have those moments to myself to really do my full routine, I’m going to do it and I’m going to enjoy every second of it.”

What would you say is the biggest lesson dance has taught you?

“I started dancing when I was three, and from an early age, I always knew that this was what I wanted to do in life—it was my biggest passion. Obviously there are ups and downs with your relationship to why you do it and how you do it. But, I really think that over the years I’ve learned that dance is my safest place and the place where I feel most confident—my fiercest, most empowered, my sexiest.

There’s just this superpower that dance has on me or with me, and I love that and never want to let that go because I know that not a lot of people get to say that they work and do their passion at the same time. The way that I see dance has really transformed over the years, but I think once I finally became confident in myself and what I have to offer and wasn’t trying to be anybody else in the dance space, the beauty space, in the public eye, that’s when I started to flourish. That’s when I really started to shine brighter. Owning what I do have and being proud of that and not second guessing it has really been transformative.”

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