A salicylic experience

This skincare business can be fucking ridiculous sometimes.

If someone sat you down and told you they were going to pour fire on your face for the next five minutes, you would tell them exactly where they could shove it.

You definitely wouldn’t lie there, hair tied back in waiting (having just let them remove all of your makeup), and let them do it. No sane person does that shit. And yet, here we are…

So, I got a salicylic skin peel, and boy does it sting like a bitch…but why would anyone put themselves through this madness, and better still, pay for the privilege of getting their face burned? Here’s what I found:

The pain is temporary

Despite the melodrama, the severe stinging and ‘burning’ sensation that is caused by the peel is actually very short lived and only lasts for a few minutes. So grand scheme of things, it’s definitely manageable.

The peeling is temporary

This is something I had to keep reminding myself in the days following the first peel (yes first, I actually went back…) when my skin was quite literally falling off my face. It wasn’t a pretty sight or a pretty feeling, but you do eventually get into the ‘greater good’ mindset and look forward to the more long-term results it can bring.

You need to keep at it

The results were really strong in my case, and I definitely became a lot less prone to breakouts when combining the peels with a solid skincare routine and a healthy diet. It was definitely a process for me though, and following my course of 5 peels all 2-3 weeks apart, I’m strongly considering continuing on with monthly top-ups to keep on top of my skin.

It’s definitely not cheap

With a new customer discount included, my 5 session package cost just over £400, which works out as more than £80 per peel. When you add that to the cost of the accompanying skincare regime, the cost really starts to rack up…

You have to pay attention to your skin

I found that the cleanser provided as part of the skincare regime wasn’t enough to remove all of my makeup in the evenings, so I incorporated a two-step cleanse into my nightly routine. Not all products work for everyone, so you need to find what works for you and give it a good two week run before you decide whether it’s for you.

Overall, the peels have given me the kickstart my skin needed to get back on track, and while they can cause short-term stress if your skin flakes excessively, the effect that they can have on the skin’s texture and complexion is pretty impressive. Definitely recommended.

I booked my salicylic peels through SK:N Clinics who have branches all over the UK, however, there are a growing number of clinic chains whose prices will vary – always do your research and book in a consultation before receiving any treatment.

I have ‘bad’ skin

Since age 11, I’ve had a pretty turbulent relationship with my skin. My dermatological history is littered with various doctors, opinions, experts and disappointments. I’ve been on the pill, antibiotics, cream/gel treatments and even the demonic Roaccutane. Twice. (If you’ve had any experience with it, you’ll know – that shit sucks).

And, unfortunately for me, the love/hate situation is ongoing…

It’s really hard to describe the effect acne has on your wellbeing. For me, it’s a constant distraction and I’m always thinking about whether my skin issues are noticeable, whether light is hitting me in an unflattering way (fuck you downlighting, no one likes you) or whether I have any concealer on me at the time in case of a code red. Honestly, even typing the word acne makes me feel a bit sick in my mouth. I hate it.

The feeling of having to put a whole new face on every day just to feel like yourself, is what I can only describe as exhausting. It changes who I am as a person unmeasurably; I just can’t be ME with my full, aggravated, red face showing. And that is a really hard truth to deal with sometimes.

What I wouldn’t give to wake up without the overwhelming urge to hide in a hole, dive for my makeup bag and avoid all human contact until the end of time. The effort and energy that it takes to stay positive and not stress out (and make everything a million times worse) is huge, and I’d be lying if I said that my biggest battle hasn’t always been internal. I’m actually writing this on a particularly ‘bad’ skin day and have nearly gone full meltdown on more than one occasion already. It’s 7.30…

The worst thing about it all, is the impact it has and how often it manages to ruin your state of mind. Thinking you’re a strong person and then catching sight of your reflection and having the personality sapped out of you in literally seconds is not fun.

Also, telling someone that they ‘look fine’ can actually just make things worse because you can really feel like you’re being lied to by family and friends – it’s irrational, but it’s there, and it can put a huge strain on relationships.

All this being said, I want to end on a positive here, because acne should never win.

To anyone suffering even a little of what I’ve described: You’re beautiful. And it will never define you. Don’t let any bitch dull your shine.

To the lucky ones: Be kind – whether it’s to those with acne or any other skin related issue. You never know the effect your words may have.