My skin journey began earlier this year when I decided to end one of the longest and most significant relationships of my adult life. We had 10 long years together filled with ups and downs, but in April of this year I had decided enough was enough - for all the good times we had I couldn’t help but shake something wasn’t right.
So I finally pulled the plug and quit taking the contraceptive pill. For any women out there who have gone through the same process you would know that the first few months of post-pill adjustment is a journey of personal discovery - one that is totally unique to the individual.
For myself, I relished in what I can only describe as the return to normality. With every passing day, as the excess estrogen left my system I found myself becoming less irritable, anxious and tired. However, for all the positives there was one nasty kick back I wasn’t prepared for, and that was the onslaught of adult acne.
I was mortified - throughout my highschool years and well into my 20s I could count the pimples I had had on one hand. Suddenly I felt like had been dragged kicking and screaming backwards through puberty, and regressed from a fairly confident 20 something into a shy 14 year old girl. After three months of trying every home remedy I could think of I decided to get serious about my skincare. Enter Lily.
By the time I arrived to my first appointment with Lily my hormonal acne had gone from a harmless sprinkle of whiteheads on my chin to a ripe crop of inflamed cystic acne that was keeping me awake at night. More than just embarrassed I was positively miserable. After greeting me in the foyer Lily ushered me gently into the treatment room and invited me to get comfortable. She gave me a moment alone to undress and slide myself beneath a warm blanket. Lily then returned and we began a brief but thorough consultation about my skin routine. By this time I was close to tears as I explained my frustration. Lily patiently listened to my problems and briefly touched on her own journey through the post-pill purge. I immediately started to relax, knowing that I was in safe and sympathetic hands.
We then began the treatment with a series of deep aromatherapy inhalations as Lily urged me to let go of all my stress and anxiety and to take a moment to be present. After a quick assessment of my skin,she began with a gentle oil cleanse to slough off the layers of sunscreen I apply liberally to my face (despite my blemishes I try not to wear foundation if I can possibly help it).
Massaging my face in figure 8 motion, Lily worked her way from my forehead to my neck, paying particular attention to the tight muscles around my jaw and between my eyebrows. This was followed with a quick cleanse and a gentle microdermabrasion. She commented on the amount of skin that had come up with this deep exfoliation, which could possibly be a contributing factor to my congestion.
Then came the gua sha, a delightful cooling and refreshing massage aided by two crystal wands. Lily worked gently, but firmly urging the dirt and toxins in my muscles to release and drain. Then came another cleanse, and a neck, shoulder, arm, hand and scalp massage that turned me from an anxious knot of tension into melted butter.
Feeling thoroughly relaxed, Lily then proceeded to paint my face with a detox mask that smelled so good it was positively edible. Wrapped up in a cocoon of blankets, she then placed a wheat bag over my eyes and lit a stick of palo santo that filled the room with a grounding and warm scent.
During this smudging ceremony Lily recited short guided meditation that felt relaxing and uplifting before leaving me alone for a moment to just sink even further into the bed. I felt so incredibly relaxed, safe and for the first time in a long time I had forgotten to worry about the state of my poor skin. Just before I had lulled myself to sleep Lily had returned. Inviting me to rejoin her in the present she mists me lightly with an invigorating botanical scent and gently peeled the wheat bag off my eyes. She then unwrapped the blankets around me and started to cleanse the mask from skin before rolling a crystal dermal roller of the surface of my skin to cool it down.
We finished with another series of deep inhalations, before she left me to redress and enjoy an ice cold cup of kombucha and vegan chocolate from Locavore. Greeting me warmly in the foyer Lily then proceeded to talk me through the products she had used, offering some recommendations on what ingredients would work best to calm the inflammation from my break outs, as well as some ideas on how I could adjust my diet to help fight my acne from the inside too. I left feeling calm with glowing skin that looked healthier and happier than I had seen it in months.
Nearly 9 months on, while I still have the occasional breakout, Lily has worked with my temperamental skin, adjusting her treatment to nourish and care for my breakouts, leaving me feel confident and happy. My areas of congestion are so much less inflamed, and the rest of my skin is glowing and clear. But more than just a great facialist, Lily has helped me understand the process of the post-pill purge and guided me through the side effects with care and understanding. She really has been my very own skin angel.