03 Jun My Skin Journey: How I got rid of acne
Since being in isolation, I’ve been paying a bit more attention to my skin by looking more closely and really figuring out how it feels and what I would like to improve.
Often, when we are in our day to day routines, we don’t have the time like we do now to stop, think and give ourselves the self-care and attention we deserve.
Whilst looking at my skin in the mirror I started to think about when I first started to look after my skin properly 9 years ago.
I had started my career as a beauty therapist, graduating in the UK in 2010. I then got my first job in a beautiful spa in the countryside of Essex where I would perform fluffy, organic facials to my guests. I loved the nurturing side to the treatments and seeing my guests leave the room with their eyes half closed, but I was disheartened with the lack of overall improvement in their skin. I thought to myself, did that cream I just massaged into her skin for £150 really do that much?
I strongly believe that there are many amazing benefits to massage, but it’s definitely not a cutting edge treatment that will target many of our skin concerns such as discolouration, redness, breakouts and wrinkles.
My acne journey
I suffered from very bad acne myself. At the age of 19, I pretty much lived off Milky Way chocolate bars! I would wake up with the biggest, most painful cysts on my chin and cheeks and I would apply products like Sudocream and White Spirit (a degreasing agent!) to my throbbing boils and cry. These painful spots would also take at least 3 months or more to heal, so I missed out on many social gatherings as a result. At the time, I never linked inflammatory foods such as sugar and dairy with my skin problems.
My routine consisted of products that I would pick up at my local department store and it would change on a daily basis. I would expect miracles within a day and would give the product bad feedback if it didn’t live up to my expectations. In fact, I gave up hope after trying so many things and spending a lot of money. I started to feel angry towards the marketing of so many of these ‘miracle’ products.
Fast forward to when I turned 21, I came to Australia to work for a year. I was instantly in awe of the services that were available here. I hadn’t even heard of a naturopath before, yet people I was meeting here had all seen one for various reasons. I noticed that there were plenty of skin clinics around and I was instantly intrigued after seeing advertisements for different lasers and clinical skin care, which was something I wasn’t accustomed to in the UK. Australians are far more advanced with this stuff!
I took the plunge and booked my first appointment for a consultation and treatment. I really had no idea what to expect, but I just wanted my therapist to remove my acne in one session.
We got chatting and I explained to her my frustration of my never-ending acne dilemma. She thoroughly looked at my skin and asked me lots of questions about what I was using and what I was eating at home. I did think at this point, “Can we cut the chit chat, I want to relax and enjoy my treatment!“ – I look back now and realise just how impatient I was.
She had recommended a salicylic acid chemical peel. Up until this point I had always believed “the stronger the better” so I thought “Alright, let’s get down to it”. The words ‘acid’ and ‘peel’ sounded appealing.
She prepared my skin with different cleansing techniques, and then warned me that the acid she was about to apply was going to feel very hot on my skin for a few minutes. A few seconds passed and I couldn’t feel anything. “It’s not working”, I said just as I lost my breath, as the hot feeling suddenly turned up to a 10/10. Sweet Jesus, call a fire brigade, what have I done to myself?! She then passed me a fan to take the edge off.
A couple of minutes had passed and my face slowly felt back to normal, so a few serums were applied along with SPF to top it off.
I thought to myself, “Is that it?!” – the whole treatment was done in about 20 minutes! I felt a bit short changed, after all I would spend a good hour with my own guests back in the UK and watch them leave feeling all zen-like and glowy.
After my treatment, my skin looked a nice shade of pink but I could still see all of my breakouts – in fact they looked worse. I was then told that it would look worse before it gets better.
My therapist then went on to tell me what to expect in the next couple of days and recommended some skin care to get started on at home. I was apprehensive to buy them due to my disappointing past experiences with my department store products.
She seemed to know what she was talking about though, so I started with a cleanser, a vitamin B serum and an SPF along with some essential fatty acid supplements to take daily. She told me they were different to what you can get in the supermarket and department stores and that they are a lot more active and targeted. “Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard it all before“, I thought.
I do remember leaving the clinic feeling a bit smug and cool, “Oh yeah, I’ve just had a peel, look at me”. It was the first time I had actually felt any activity on my skin, in a good way.
Two days passed since my treatment and I noticed my skin was extremely dry. I thought flaking was a good sign so I let it go and within five days my skin looked noticeably clearer and brighter. I also started to really enjoy the feeling after using the products I had purchased. I actually couldn’t believe my skin had improved and now I wanted to know more and more. “What exactly was that acid she applied?” and “Why are those products so different to what I’ve used in the past?“
After a couple of months of tidying up my diet, continuing with the homecare and another in-clinic treatment, my skin had done a 360 transformation. Before starting my skin journey I honestly think I could have fried an egg on my face, it was that greasy. My oil became a lot thinner and my skin had a nice healthy glow to it. My dehydration lines around the eyes started to soften and plump out, overall there was a nice smoothness to my skin, but most of all I had minimal breakouts and my skin healed a lot faster. I found myself wearing much less make up as a result and my confidence in social settings sky rocketed.
I knew I could no longer give an honest service working in a spa and working with products that had no efficacy, so I decided to undertake further study to develop my skills and qualification. I knew from my own skin journey that I wanted to be just like the therapist who had helped me.
I’ve now been working as an advanced skin therapist for 7 years and I wouldn’t look back. With the amount of knowledge I have gained on what the skin truly needs, my mission in my career is to educate my clients on what THEIR skin needs as we are all made different. I want them to be able to feel confident in what they are buying and get that WOW factor like I did.
Of course I have now worked my way through an abundance of treatments over the years and one that really stands out for me that gives phenomenal results is collagen induction therapy, also known as skin needling. We use the SkinPen device at Clinica Lase and it is the only TGA approved device on the market here in Australia. The recovery time is far less than other devices I have used, and the outcome is better. For me it is the one treatment I will always return to annually to help tighten my pores that like to expand as much as my belly after a huge pasta dinner! The skin needling treatment is literally like fitting my face with a new mattress from Harvey Norman.
With the internet and social media now saturating our everyday lives, our expectations are very different from what they once were. I can honestly say that it is very rare to come across a skin that is ‘flawless’ in my industry. As a therapist, our skin also has flaws – there are things with my own skin that I would like to still work on, such as some redness that has started to come through around my nose and of course I have to keep maintaining my collagen production, which is admittedly more of a challenge as the years go by. I am so pleased, however, that my skin is manageable and well-functioning and that’s all that really matters when it comes to living with healthy skin. It’s the journey of going from wearing heavy make-up to wearing minimal, if any and feeling confident in doing so. We need to celebrate and not dwell on the fact that our skin doesn’t match the filtered pictures we see on a day to day basis, because lo and behold, they’re not real!
When was the last time you looked back to the start of your journey? Maybe it’s time to throw on a little face mask and celebrate your skin’s success! Browse our full range of cosmeceutical skin care products to get started.