Also filed under: How to look like a glazed doughnut overnight
Embracing my all-too-familiar acne scars is a journey I’ve documented and made public for everybody else going through the same thing. Half a year later, my breakouts are gone but I have prominent blemishes to remind me of the (physical and mental) battle I was subject to for a period of time; adult acne is no joke.
Nowadays, I could confidently go out of the house without makeup on but that doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t want my skin to be restored to its pre-acne glory days. Ultimately, beauty is so subjective that there’s no one way of perceiving it.
Even after short-lived breakouts, these scars (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation) remain, which is actually our skin’s natural response to inflammation. Picking a pimple aggravates it and heightens the chance of developing blemishes. As skin heals, it produces melanin, which produces discoloration.
According to the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, “Acne scars are usually the result of inflamed blemishes caused by skin pores engorged with excess oil, dead skin cells and bacteria. The pore swells, causing a break in the follicle wall. Shallow lesions are usually minor and heal quickly. But if there is a deep break in the wall of the pore, infected material can spill out into surrounding tissue, creating deeper lesions. The skin attempts to repair these lesions by forming new collagen fibers. These repairs usually aren't as smooth and flawless as the original skin.” Unfortunately, it takes at least 3 to 24 months for acne scars to completely fade—sometimes even longer—but innovative technology changes everything.
Glow Skin Clinic
There is a sense of “belonging” as you enter the premises of Glow Skin Clinic. If I were in an episode of Black Mirror, my rating as a human being would have gone up two points higher. With every corner well-thought-out—from the periwinkle velvet curtains and brown velour chairs to the stack of international magazines—it’s no surprise that this clinic is featured so frequently on Instagram. The aesthetic is reminiscent of London cafés. (Even the bathroom is pretty.) It’s the “simple” things really: an Alexa heeding your every command, their curated Spotify playlist, the post-treatment thirst quencher and the *sweetest* staff (who helped me get an earring that fell under one of their equipment.)
Let’s Get Down to Business
All facials begin with the “Cleanse-Massage-Extract” procedure. The trained professional started off with the double cleanse—a non-negotiable step in my PM routine—wherein a cream-filled gauze was used to remove my makeup and other impurities. After which, she proceeded with a heavenly massage—a gift from God, for all I know—then came the exfoliation with a non-abrasive scrub that smelled like papaya. Prior to the extraction, my face was steamed like a dumpling to soften my comedones. Whiteheads and blackheads were then extracted using the BT Micro, a hand-held technology which offers gentle yet effective exfoliation.
This is where it gets interesting. A topical numbing cream was applied to my face before the laser treatment to provide additional comfort throughout the procedure. Is this what botox feels like? For 45 minutes, I had time to kill. Obviously, I chose sleep. You could watch a new episode of the latest season of Queer Eye (but will have to ask if tears alter the treatment), complete an NPR Tiny Desk Concert or maybe work on your e-mails. You do you.
Clear + Brilliant
The Claim: The star of the show is the Clear + Brilliant Laser Treatment used by Hollywood celebrities and the likes; Drew Barrymore swears by it. This groundbreaking laser resurfacing treatment addresses the early signs of aging by improving the look of fine lines. It creates millions (!) of microscopic treatment zones in the upper layers of the skin, which replaces damaged skin with healthy tissue yielding younger-looking skin. It also reduces the appearance of pores, evens out skin tone, refines texture and removes blackheads and whiteheads—improving the overall appearance of skin. Results are definitely visible even just after one session.
The Experience: I was warned. The Clear + Brilliant Facial (P12,500/session) is non-invasive—no surgery or injections included—but still isn’t a walk in the park. It uses gentle pulses of light to jumpstart the production of collagen while exfoliating tired skin. The professional gently glided the handpiece on my face for about 15 minutes, providing a uniform application to all areas, even through the nooks and crannies. It felt prickly and hot, which is exactly the feeling you’d encounter after getting sunburnt. Like Mia Thermopolis after her regal makeover with Paolo Puttanesca (his real name, might I add) I was a new woman. I was raw and red as a baby, but I was delivered a new creation.
The Glow-Up: A Week After
After a day, my skin felt like rubber. I was made aware that the progressive treatment would make my skin feel like sandpaper. It would eventually get better in the next few days as my skin continued to shed. The results are immediate and progressive. Some may go through a process of purging but my skin didn’t.
There was that layer of skin all this time? For days, it looked like I was wearing a silicone primer because my pores were nowhere to be found. Where is she? A week in and my mom surveys my face and asks, “Ang kintab ng mukha mo. Makeup ‘yan? (Your face is shiny. Is that makeup?”) This is all the validation I needed to hear to know that the treatment worked.
Prior to my facial, I was only concerned about reducing the appearance of my acne scars but it *actually* improved the overall look of my skin. There is an evening out of my complexion and texture has significantly improved. Dare I say that it actually gave me glass skin?
Did it dramatically improve the appearance of my acne scars? It sure did, but I know that it will require more sessions to target the deeper ones. I took it upon myself to stop using full-coverage foundation altogether but this is, of course, in conjunction with my hydrating and brightening products. (The Melano CC Essence is a godsend.) With a pretty steep price tag, the Clear + Brilliant Facial is not something I could easily put in my routine but if you want to splurge, by all means, go ahead and get that well-deserved glow-up.
Make Glow Skin Clinic your new skin habit. Learn more about their treatments to help solve your specific skin concern at glowskinclinic.ph or IG: @glowskinclinicph. Book your appointments by calling (917) 888-GLOW. You can find them at 2/F Uptown Place Mall, Bonifacio Global City.
Photography Elisa Aquino
Video Gerard Dungo
Art Alexandra Lara