Getting a Facial for the First Time

The concept of skincare is somewhat mysterious. With wide assortments of products heavily advertised on tv, in magazines, online, etc, it can be difficult to determine which products will truly work. I’ve gone through many phases of skincare dedication in recent years. When I was a freshman in high school, I began struggling with acne. I decided to test the Clearasil Rapid Action Daily Face Wash and the Clearasil spot treatment. While trying these two products, I noticed that although I had slightly less acne within the first few weeks. However, my skin was constantly dry and irritated, making the remaining blemishes further stand out. The severity of the dryness prevented me from wearing makeup as it would burn or flake off when applied to my damaged skin. After three months of this routine, I opted to try a new product, the Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash: Pink Grapefruit Foaming Scrub. This product also initially appeared to cure some of my acne, but over time, it stopped working and began to produce similar redness. I was very frustrated by these resulted and wanted to try something new. I decided to go to the dermatologist during my sophomore year of high school. The dermatologist began by prescribing me topical ointments. Since sophomore year, I’ve tested numerous dermatologist prescribed topical products. None of these have had the desired effects.

Coming into this year, I reached my peak frustration with the dermatologist. I was disappointed when the products they suggested began to have opposite effects, and I disliked how impersonal the dermatologist practice appeared to be. I decided to try meeting with an esthetician instead. After conducting research, I carefully selected a practice and reached out to the esthetician available, a woman named Karen. Karen was very kind and suggested I come in for a free consultation. During my free consultation, she analyzed my skin type and reviewed the products I’d used in the past. She reflected that my skin was stressed from the changing of products and advised a much more simple routine, just a facewash, night moisturizer, and day moisturizer (one with sunscreen). She also suggested I stop using the topical products the dermatologist had suggested, arguing that they were damaging my skin. She advised that I buy simple products, like Cetaphil for the moisturizers, and use her face wash for oily/combination skin. At this point, I was desperate for a solution and chose to try her strategy. Within two weeks of using her routine, I began to notice that I was getting less new acne. My skin was beginning to be less dry and irritated. After noticing the initial changes, I was still very worried about my skin, and Karen suggested I try a detox facial. I had never done a facial before, so I was nervous about what to expect. She reviewed pictures of my skin and determined which facial would be most effective for me, suggesting a detox facial. A detox facial includes an extraction of existing acne. The process begins with washing the skin and then steaming it. Then she began to extract my pores. This extraction was slightly painful in areas such as the jawline and nose, however, I appreciated it as part of the process. The steaming prevented the newly extracted blemishes from leaving scars. Following the extraction, Karen used a toner on my skin, intended to control acne and a moisturizer. She suggested I research the process of chemical peels and consider trying one. In conclusion, she offered me a free sample of the chemical peel procedure. Chemical peels are designed to remove the outermost layer of the skin and to encourage regrowth of new, healthier and smoother skin. This can decrease redness and acne scarring. She gave me two layers of the peel, instead of the typical 5, in the sample. The layers each slightly burned, especially in the places that were extracted, but Karen stressed that this was a normal feeling and emphasized that I should research more before considering the full process. In the days following my facial, I felt that my skin appeared slightly less irritated and was less frequently developing new breakouts, both hormonal and bacterial. Although I’m still in the process of finding a skincare routine that completely fits me, the facial showed me how important caring for one's skin in a delicate manner is and how meaningful learning to prioritize the health of one's skin can be.