Amid ageing hitting me like a ton of thirty-something bricks recently, my soon-to-be sister-in-law was telling me about her job at the Australian Skin Clinic in Melbourne as an aesthetician, and the kinds of results she was seeing on her clients undergoing anti-ageing treatments. While it was something I’d sort of thought only rich old ladies did, I was pretty curious to see what kinds of things would happen to my saggy baggy elephant face after having it be peeled and extreme-exfoliated. When she said she could organise a discount for you guys, I was sold.
Hell, I was sold when she told me I got to lay down for 30 minutes. I didn’t have to make anyone sandwiches, or take anyone to the toilet!
Initially we were going to use Laser Pigmentation Treatment which is apparently pretty hard core, and excellent at moving pregnancy pigmentation, freckles, sun discolouration, etc. While my face isn’t exactly horrific, I was looking forward to going out without makeup and having no-one remark on how sick or tired I looked. Then having to explain that is just the natural state of my face. In addition to Bitchy Resting Face, I also appear to have “Anaemic-Looking Face Without Makeup, Feel Free To Comment As Such”. As I’m still breastfeeding, we had to rule out the laser and instead go with a Pigmentation Peel.
First up though, we tried a microdermabrasion:
Like me, you might think that the “after” photo looks worse than the “before!”. Emma laughed at me and said “yes, to the untrained eye”. I did just undergo nine levels of treatment and a kind-of sanding of the skin, so it’s no surprise I look a little odd. The next day, though – my skin felt amazing, and I noticed a few changes. So let’s talk about this:
What I had:
The All-Inclusive 9-Step Microdermabrasion:
- AHA/BHA Mask
- Microdermabrasion (didn’t feel a thing!)
- Extractions (you haven’t lived until your sister-in-law has squeezed blackheads out of your nasal folds – how’s that for a bonding experience!)
- Peel (mine was a pumpkin one and smelled kind of spicy and delicious)
The actual microdermabrasion itself just felt like she was kind of vacuuming my face. It didn’t hurt a bit. Emma did warn me that the pumpkin peel might feel a bit sting-y (and that she’d found it quite uncomfortable), but it was only for three minutes and I really didn’t find it unbearable at all. She also gave me a little hand-held fan to blow cool air on my face, but it wasn’t that bad.
I left with baby-soft skin and some bleary eye-makeup. Oh, and some product both to help exfoliate and hydrate going forward, but also to prep my skin for the chemical peel we would do in the following weeks. I used/am using the Skinstitut Glycolic Scrub, Even Blend Serum, and the SPF 50+.
What I noticed:
My face felt really soft, and my nose has never been cleaner! It’s kind of like a detox for your face, where you get it super-clean and scrubbed at a level you just can’t get with regular cleaning/exfoliation. A big reboot so you can just maintain the healthy skin going forward.
Could definitely see me doing this rather than getting a facial or something similar. While it wasn’t an aromatherapy-filled day-spa indulgent moment, it was pleasant and the results felt like they had really made a difference.
Next up – the chemical peel.
This one got quite a bit of interest on Instagram, it seems many of you have issues with pregnancy pigmentation (which makes you look old and tired too, welcome to the club!), and were curious if it was useful, and if it hurt. The words “chemical peel” DO sound pretty crazy, like you’re going in to have a vat of acid poured on your face in a desperate effort to look like a teenager again. How dare we be so vain?!Now bear in mind with these images – the “after” shot is about two weeks later after it had healed fully, it’s in a different room with different light and taken by a really shit photographer (me). Selfies are hard at this angle! I definitely noticed some subtle changes after this experiment, which I’ll detail in a bit. I also have a knack for photographing myself in such a way that my eye bags merge into my jowls, which hang off my chin.
Here, let’s try this angle:
Not so bad. And the pregnancy pigment under my eyes looking a bit lighter.
What I had:
Pigmentation Peel, which required a prep, a few coats of the peel, and some nourishing/hydrating/vitamin A over the top.
A chemical peel is meant to:
- Reduce fine lines under the eyes and mouth area, treat wrinkles caused by sun damage, ageing, and family history.
- Improve the appearance of mild scarring.
- Treat some types of acne.
- Reduce Melasma, Chloasma, age spots, freckles and dark patches caused by birth control pills, pregnancy or other hormonal changes.
- Improve the look, feel and brightness of skin that is dull and looks tired
- Treat sun damaged skin which may contain pre-cancerous Keratosis. After a treatment, new pre-cancerous lesions are less likely to appear.
What I noticed:
Day one: Was fine. I didn’t think it hurt at all, I found it more itchy a minute or two after it was applied. I had my little fan, though. I did have to drive home with a bright orange face (thanks to the vitamin A cream) and leave it on overnight. I slept with a towel on my pillow and tried not to have serious conversations with anyone because I looked ridiculous.
Day two: Still felt reasonably normal. My skin felt dry and tight after I washed the peel off, and felt that way all day. Nothing I couldn’t live through.
Day three: The fun begins! I saw the skin start to peel away on my chin, very much like what your skin does after it has had a sunburn (although this isn’t similar as there’s no UV rays used). I read it wasn’t a good idea to pick at the skin or pull it off, and if you know how hard that is to deal with, you can sympathise! I did feel myself absent-mindedly rubbing my chin as it felt itchy from time to time.
Day four: This was probably the worst of the lot and even then it wasn’t that bad. It was the third full day, and this is where I started to get a bit of discomfort. A sting here and there, an itch now and then. I just kept putting the required cream on and staying out of the sun. I did have to go out a few times in this period, and I felt I looked ok if I’d just washed my face, applied the cream (which helped the flaky bits not look so flaky), and covered the lot with a light dusting of Bare Blossom mineral foundation (it is natural and organic, so no chemicals to harm my precious brand-new skin cells!), which I washed off when I got home. Nobody even noticed there was anything wrong with my face. Gave in to the urge to pull bits of my skin off. Survived.
Day five: Most of the dead skin had peeled away, leaving a brighter, fresher one underneath. I still felt bits and pieces as I washed my face, and spent a few minutes each day removing it. I also did a light exfoliation to scrub away the last stubborn little bits.
The rest of the week and beyond – a new, clean face! I still felt it was a bit dry though, so I made sure I was hydrating it as much as I could. You really need to drink a lot of water though to sort it out from the inside. I kept forgetting to do that. I also had a few lumps around my chin, which I put down to me touching it with my filthy hands all the time. I just kept forgetting.
I definitely noticed a change on my forehead. It looked MUCH brighter and lighter, and I could see the two fine horizontal lines I’d been forming were all but gone. They’re nowhere near as noticeable as they were – but the vertical one in between my eyebrows was much too entrenched! Angry eyebrows 4 lyf.
One of the pregnancy pigment marks under my eyes had faded quite a bit, and after the peel, what was left of it was almost gone. Given that the pigment marks arrived before I was even pregnant, I didn’t hold out much hope that they would disappear entirely. They got super-dark during pregnancy, but have sorted themselves out somewhat since then. The rest of my pigmentation and freckles are too dark to be removed after just one chemical peel, I dare say. I would probably need another couple, but I’d rather hold out and wait for the Laser Peel, I’m pretty confident that will remove most of it.
Throughout the week I used the Skinstitut Gentle Cleanser, the Laser Aid (four times a day), and the SPF 50+. The aftercare brochure said I should also use the Laser Aid in conjunction with some vitamin C cream, so I continued using the Cosima Skin one I’ve been using for the past year. Once my face got over the initial hurdle of healing, I started using my usual Cosima Skin day moisturiser, and the super-thick hydrating creme in conjunction with the Skinstitut Even Blend. I felt like I needed some hardcore hydration, but if you’d prefer to keep to the Skinstitut, they have several hydrating options (I’ve not tried them so can’t comment).
Would I recommend it?
Yep, definitely. If you’re feeling like you need a bit of a mid-thirties mid-parenting-two-toddlers brush-up like me, then you might find this is just what you need. If you’re looking for some hardcore pigment removal or scar reduction, you would probably need several sessions, or the laser. I would probably ask for a gift certificate for some treatments as a birthday or mother’s day present or something, as I’m a bit of a spa junkie, and I like lotions and potions and bits and bobs and general prettification of my visage/limbs. I’m definitely looking into laser hair removal, as the Australian Skin Clinics have some pretty hard-to-beat prices and I’m sick to death of shaving my underarms.
What’s in it for you?
A MASSIVE discount! Emma and the team are happy to offer Veggie Mama readers 40% off all of the Clinic Skin Treatments except injectables (but hey, Botox from $3.95 isn’t exactly breaking the bank, if that’s your bag. It’s a bit too Television Celebrity for me at this point) at their Caulfield North Clinic. Offer is valid for two months (ends May 17, 2014) and is only available at the Caulfield clinic. Just let them know you read about them on Veggie Mama.
Do give them a call if you like and let me know how you go! I love a good before-and-after.
*Disclaimer: I received an All-Inclusive Microdermabrasion ($120), Pigmentation Peel ($395) and the Skinstitut skincare products (3 for $99 or 5 for $149) for review purposes. All the long-winded opinions are mine.