It was June 2015 when acne came into my life. I was 32.
While pimples were a constant annoyance during my teenage years, I never had too many of them. Before a new zit popped out, the last one was already healing. Though I hated the sight of them on my forehead and on my nose, they were hardly a problem.
So when pimples started reappearing on my face, my initial reaction was, “okay, relax, everything will get back to normal in just a few weeks.” I was just stressed out, and as soon as I get rid of the stress, the acne will go away with it. Besides, there are a gazillion of acne products that can deal with the problem. If they don’t work, I could always try one of those home remedies. They’re just one Google search away.
And so, that’s what I did. I tried one product after the other, put baking soda on my face, dabbed apple cider on the affected area, put toothpaste to dry out those pesky pimples… I tried all those desperate moves I could think of.
But weeks turned into three months. Both the acne products and home remedies didn’t work. The acne was still there, and my confidence was going down the drain.
Enough is Enough
On the third month, I decided to ditch those acne products and seek the help of a pro. I knew it was going to be expensive, but I was hoping for a much better result.
The appointment at the skin clinic was quick. The dermatologist was a classy, friendly lady who made me feel at home and hopeful. Immediately after agreeing to the skin program the doctor recommended, I was led to one of the clinic’s treatment rooms.
Treatment consisted of two phases.
Phase 1, which was conducted by a female therapist, was a 30-minute routine of cleansing and steaming. As I lay on a narrow facial bed with my eyes closed, I could feel the up-and-down massaging motion of the therapist’s hands on my face, gently distributing those medicated creams. At one point, she used a facial brush to make sure my skin was deep-cleansed.
In between, she would talk to me, presumably to make me feel relaxed. Overall, it was relaxing, but especially during the first session, it felt uncomfortable having your pimples touched by a complete stranger.
When the cleansing part was over, the therapist turned on the facial steamer, which she explained would help “open your pores.” Ten minutes later, I was led to another room for Phase 2.
“How did it go?” asked the dermatologist as she closed the door.
I didn’t know what to say, but I remember uttering “relaxing” while nodding my head to signal approval. The dermatologist smiled, and after a few seconds, she explained what would happen next.
Phase 2 involved the painful parts – pricking and applying a chemical of some sort. I don’t remember which one came first, but those procedures were indeed painful.
When it’s over, the doctor showed me what she dug out from my skin. It was gross, but I was more concerned about my face. I knew it was red as hell after all the pricking done to it, so I wanted to go home fast.
What? More Acne Products?
But not so fast. As it turned out, there were products I needed to purchase if I wanted better results. I didn’t like the idea, but how could I say no? So at the cashier, I paid more for those products.
At home, the first thing I did was to look at my face in the mirror. I didn’t like what I saw, but I was hopeful that all those imperfections would go away eventually.
I then examined the products I bought. Except for one tall container which clearly says “toner,” I had no idea what the others were supposed to accomplish. Their “night cream” and “day cream” labels were so simple it seemed like I was expecting to just apply them and not ask questions. I thought they were repackaged for the clinic.
Normal Skin After 6 Sessions
On my third session, another therapist who recognized me as a “regular” customer praised my skin’s improvement, although she did say that it would take at least 6 sessions for acne to completely vanish.
She was right.
After the sixth treatment, the lady dermatologist gave me a new skin program. “When you come back next month, we’ll start with regular facials. You’ll love our gold mask,” she said.