It ain’t pretty.
When it comes to facial treatments, I like to think I’ve tried it all. Omnilux? Always. Microdermabrasion? Why not. I even had my face put under an ultrasound once (I’m still not quite sure why).
But I’ve always steered clear of the good ol’ fashioned steam and squeeze – aka extraction facial – simply because, well, the very idea makes me squirm. Lying still while a stranger squeezes the sebum out of your face? No thanks.
But when a good friend with a perpetually glowing complexion revealed she gets her skin steamed and squeezed on the regular, I was tempted. Plus, I’m sick to death of the cluster of angry pimples that visit my chin once a month, which so far no skincare regime has been able to eradicate.
I decide to try The Clear Skin Clinic in Double Bay, as that’s where my good-skin-friend (plus all the other steam & squeeze devotees I know) goes. The online reviews are enthusiastic: “This place gives you clear skin, it is seriously that simple, anyone who has ever walked through the doors will testify,” one reads. “After years of being told the pimples on my chin were merely a result of hormonal imbalance, this treatment has almost completely cleared up my chin,” says another. I book an appointment.
With a chin flare-up in tow, I arrive for my Deep Clean Facial with Ava. Many of The Clear Skin Clinic’s clients present with serious acne, so my case is mild in comparison. Still, Ava warns me that this isn’t going to be a relaxing experience – my pores may be small (win!), but I have a serious blackhead situation on my nose and chin. And even (this surprises me) a couple on my forehead and cheeks.
Ava sets about triple cleansing my skin, while steam billows towards me. So far, so standard facial. While we’re on the subject of blackhead removal, I ask Ava about that most old school of skin tricks, the pore strip. Do they actually work? No, she tells me firmly. Because blackheads lurk underneath the skin’s surface (they don’t stick out), you need to get right in there to clean them out.
With gloved hands and the occasional use of pins (which only hurts a pinch and they throw them out after each use – yes, I was that person who asked about sterilisation), Ava squeezes the congestion from my skin. She even shows me the fruits of her labour – tiny, wax-like beads of built-up oil. Completely gross, but strangely satisfying.
The squeezing is uncomfortable, but bearable – until we get to my nose. I honestly thought it was going to break under the pressure. But I’m writing this with nose intact – and after speaking with friends, they all say the same thing. Thanks for the warning, you guys.
Once my face has been purified of all that gunk, I’m given two options: a hydrating mask or Algenist peel. I’m feeling sore so I opt for the mask and Ava applies a cool compress on top – quite possibly because she’s alarmed by how red my skin has turned.
Then, Ava says she’s going to zap the two spots on my chin with a high frequency electrotherapy device to close the pore and prevent bacteria getting in. I freak out slightly (you want to electrocute my face?) but am too embarrassed to refuse. It’s like the facial ultrasound all over again.
Once that’s done, I look in the mirror. My face is RED. Scarily red. It calms down relatively quickly though – by the time I get home it’s lessened a little, although it remains red and stings for the rest of the day. By the next morning, I’m back to normal.
Three days later, my skin feels smoother and make-up glides on around my nose. The pimples I turned up to my appointment with have completely gone, which would normally take a couple more days at least.
My verdict? I’m sure you have to have regular appointments for lasting results, but if this can fix my chin, I’m all in.
November 11, 20161:09pm