I’m not sure exactly when it started. It might have been during my last (very stressful) week at work. It might have been during the first few days as a ‘freelance writer’ (or, unemployed, depending which way you like to spin it). Or perhaps it was after the first night I really, really caught up on my sleep for the first time in months. Whenever it was, it was the last thing on earth I wanted. After two months enjoying the best skin I’ve ever had, the worst possible thing happened in the run-up to the wedding. Worse than the priest forgetting his words. Worse than the dress not fitting. Worse even than the groom not turning up. An acne break-out of epic proportions.
Perhaps this is a tad over-dramatic, but with less than three weeks to go till I was going to be photographed and looked at more than I ever have in my life (and, thankfully, more than I will ever need to again), I had some seriously Oscar-worthy histrionics caused by a full on spot infestation all over my face. In retrospect, it wasn’t my finest hour.
Up to this point, I was feeling pretty blasé about my skin being perfect for the wedding. Before working with Medico Beauty and starting on a comprehensive Cosmedix skincare routine, I’d had a chequered skin history and was resigned to a lifetime of unpredictable skin – itchy and dry one minute, sore and spotty the next. But over the last few months, my new, incredible programme had completely changed all that. For the first time in my adult life, my skin was strong, calm and finally repairing itself. Which is why this break-out was so upsetting: why now?! A few frantic calls to Aysha later and I was sat in The London Wellness Centre trying to reign in my panic.
Thankfully, she didn’t bat an eyelid. She calmly examined my face before getting to work on a Purity Peel, which would kick start the healing process and was specially formulated for this type of 'incident'. Aysha also looked carefully at the type of spot I was experiencing and where they were placed, and quickly concluded that they were down to terrible inflammation in my body as a result of, among other things, stress. She also completely overhauled my regime: although it had been working brilliantly up until now, clearly something had upset my balance recently. We needed to take the skincare into a healing phase.
One thing I’ve learnt from Aysha is that great skincare is never about masking the problem. Nor is it about trying to change the skin’s own (perfectly working) natural function. It is about letting the skin heal itself, to work in the way nature intended by feeding the body all the things it needs to correct things itself. Perhaps it was stress - in hindsight, it definitely was. Perhaps it was the extra glass of Pinot (or three) I used to combat that stress. Knowing the exact cause of a break-out can be tricky – but however good your skin is, and however well you look after it, sometimes break-outs do happen. And when they do, it’s about plugging the holes – working out what the skin needs to get back on track.
Aysha decided the best thing was to totally strip back my routine until everything calmed down. So, in the healing phase, I used just Purity Clean followed by Phytoclear morning and night, as well as drinking my Balance Greens and my Colon Cleanse. We concluded that now that I wasn’t slathering on loads of heavy chemical laden moisturisers, my (previously dry) skin was actually a little naturally oiler than it was before as it was producing its own protection and the natural barrier function of the skin had finally been healed [if you are interested in learning more about the barrier function and moisturisers, check out Constance Campion's article]. So Aysha also added Clarity Serum, an oil-blocking serum which would help stop new spots forming. I faithfully promised to cut out all alcohol, dairy and even running (over-exercise can put much stress on the skin, especially as the weather was seriously hot and sticky).
I left the London Wellness Centre armed with a new sense of hope and another appointment for the following week to track my progress. After seven saintly days of using my serum, sleeping, eating a lot of raw spinach and doing lower stress exercises, like Pilates, my skin was starting to be less angry and sore and was dramatically less inflamed. When Aysha saw me a week later, she seemed pleased at my progress and this time used a different treatment, a Blueberry Smoothie Peel. This was one of the best facials I’ve ever had and my skin was noticeably better immediately afterwards. Feeling soothed and smoother, I finally started to feel excited again about the big day.
When I started this journey with Medico Beauty I didn’t expect miracles. I didn’t even really expect much at all: after years of trying new products that promise the earth but never deliver, I was pretty jaded about anything ever actually improving my skin long-term. Not that that distracted me from the enjoyment I got from using new lotions and potions, of course. False hope – however short-lived – is addictive. When I began my personalised regime that Asyha set for me, my skin was dry, itchy and prone to regular, very sore and inflamed spots. Three months in and there has been a dramatic change. Granted, I had one break-out in the run-up to my wedding (no product can ever claim to stop stress in its tracks), but otherwise my skin has been transformed. The biggest different is it is no longer irritated and sore: dryness is a thing of the past and it is generally (and noticeably) stronger and smoother. But most importantly, I feel I now have the right tools to balance my skin from the inside out: rather than smothering and interfering with natural skin function, my regime complements and enables it.
It’s now two weeks since I tied the knot. My skin has recovered from the break-out and I’m back to using my normal skincare routine (as described in a previous post). I’m even sat writing this in a café, completely make-up free (I never would have been comfortable out before without smearing on my chemical filled foundation). Of course, as it happened, once you are actually walking down the aisle in a long white dress the last thing you are thinking about is your skin. A wedding isn’t about how good you look that day, it’s about marrying someone you actually believe you can spend the rest of your life looking dreadful in front of (OK, it’s about more than that, but you know what I mean). And being surrounded by friends and family, all wishing me the best on a hot and sunny day overlooking the sea in Ibiza made me feel more than a little ridiculous for being so worried about whether my skin would be perfect or not. But regardless, with the TLC I have shown it over the last few months with MEDICO BEAUTY's help, and not to forget that incredible wonder product, Ultra Finish Mineral Foundation, I must admit it looked pretty bloody good.
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