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29 July 2015

on reflection.

i'll be 31 this year. when i tell people my age, their response is normally shock, which kind of makes me feel great. i don't feel my age - whatever that means, i guess their response means i don't 'look' my age either, again, whatever that means. yes yes, age is but a number, sure, but it is also, ya know... an indication of how long you've been alive and lived on this planet. which, by my calculation, puts me exactly at 31. and lately, i've started seeing 'the change' in my skin that people talk about when they're starting to worry about their age. and it sucks.

when i was a teenager, i had great skin. never wore *real* make up, just a lot of glitter and lipgloss, and only really got the occasional hormonal spot.  after school when i went to work and started living as a young adult, my whole world changed - when my skin did. adult acne from the stress of life, from my mental health, from working three jobs, it all added up and left me with horrible skin. not just 'spots' but like those horrible lumpy boils that lie under the surface of your skin, waiting for the most inopportune time to erupt through your otherwise flawless skin and ruin your life.

i picked the spots until they bled. i packed on the make up to hide the scars. i hid in my room on my days off, and added hours to my morning routine to ensure i was suitable for public consumption every day. was it in my head? i think the scarring i now have on my skin would do as evidence, but sure - it probably seemed a lot worse at the time, when i was trying to impress boys, i worked as "the face of a company", and i had to smile and serve customers all day long while i felt absolutely disgusting. it seemed pretty bad at the time.

over time i've perfected a skin "care" (if you can call it that) routine that suits my skin; it lacks oils so i don't get greasy and lacks soaps so i don't dry out. it's a careful balance, but one i've settled on - with a combination of that and the pill that manages the hormonal element, and i'd kind of thought that was that. but now, my skin is a lot older than it used to be, and it's starting to show. i'm seeing fine lines start to appear, i'm noticing a loss in elasticity, i'm sensing a bit of a sag in my bitchy resting face. when i see candid snaps of me, or ones where i'm super animated or pulling a face, i kind of want to crawl into a hole and die.

extreme? maybe. but, it's got me thinking about *next steps*. a couple of my friends have had the old botox done. i'm not a fan of needles, and the horror stories you hear about the treatments have me all a bit ~nope over it, so that's off the table. anti-ageing creams - in my opinion, are just a marketing ploy - i don't really know if i believe a cream has all the answers. especially one that contains all the things i've tried to keep off my face for the last ten years. so.. what else is there? enter omniya london.

i'd never considered facials as a form of ongoing skin care; i suppose i'd always considered them a *cosmetic* or luxury treatment, and i guess, in a way, that's exactly what they are. whereas i'd happily shell out for a massage or for my nails to get done, or to have my hair cut or coloured, i ~apparently don't rate my skin as something worthy of clinical and expert care. colour me foolish! with the offer of a signature facial too good to refuse (thanks to the cynic slash tight bitch in me), i headed along on tuesday night to the knightsbridge clinic to see what the fuss was all about.

my therapist debbie took me through to her suite and asked me about the state of my life. i confessed to not drinking a lot of water, drinking a lot of wine, and having a pretty good diet. that i didn' sleep well, was always busy, and don't properly clean or moisturise my face. to my surprise, i wasn't kicked out on the spot, rather she assured me that it wasn't too late to start looking after my face, and that she'd have a proper looky and see what was up with my skin. i undressed my top half, and made myself comfortable on the bed, ready for the repair, restore and replenish treatment to begin. i was told that the treatment - which debbie devised herself for the omniya clinic, would combine her expert touch with an advanced led phototherapy, used to enhance the results of the high potency skinceuticals products she'd be using. fancy words that meant literally nothing to me. open minded, i was excited to relax!

the treatment began with a double cleanse then a micropolish to get rid of all the dead skin. sounds good, huh. she was gentle but firm on my face and neck, and i rather enjoyed the lush massage of the products into my skin, especially with the steam machine pumping warm air all over me! eventually all the gunk was washed away with warm towels, and was replaced with a light gel peel. i had visions of a red-faced kardashian leaving the clinic, but was quickly reassured that wouldn't be the case with this peel as at 20% it would be very gentle on the skin. it tingled a lot, but not in a stingy way, which was weird but good. a few minutes later, that too was removed and we were on to the next.

a customised vitamin c firming masque was applied, and debbie explained the next step would involve the light therapy. i don't know why, but this to me sounded like... light as in gentle, not light as in lights. bright ones. the led lamp was brought over my face and head - kind of like the space helmet they put you in at the hairdresser, and while it was turned off debbie explained that the lights would be bright, a bit shocking, but definitely not dangerous to the eyes or skin. i assumed there'd be eye shades, but again, was reassured there was no need, and my eyes would adjust. keen to try anything and to keep the lush treatment going (and looking forward to the deep tissue massage that accompanied the treatment), i prepared myself and away we went.

and my god, it was bright. brighter than anything i'd ever experienced before, and if i'm completely honest, it threw me off almost instantly. my heart started racing, i started breathing heavily, and cried out to debbie that i needed her to stop. in about thirty seconds, i'd undone all the goodness of the last twenty minutes, and was sat up in debbie's suite mid-panic attack, crying uncontrollably, and demanding to not be put back under the machine. she was shocked, to say the least. it was a first for both of us, i'd say; me, panic attacks normally come in the comfort of my own home, and her, not used to freaked out and crying patients on her bed.

so um yeah, we didn't carry on with the light therapy. because that's what's used to supercharge the vitamin c masque, debbie kind of just had no choice but to wipe that away with the warm towels and apply a calming and hydrating b5 gel to my hot and blotchy face while i sorted myself out and came back down to earth. and then she was forced to call it a day; with twenty minutes left of the treatment because of my refusal to try the light therapy, we were at an impasse. she left me to dress, and i was a tad disappointed at her reaction to my reaction. this treatment (when released properly in september) costs £250, and i would have expected an alternate ending to it in that circumstance, rather than a complete halt half way through it. 

nevertheless, the first half of the treatment was incredibly relaxing, and i could ~totally understand why women around the world, of all ages, opt for facials as part of their regular regime. i actually haven't been put off, at all, by this experience. if anything, i'd be keen to try *again* - just not with the light therapy. i think with a professional therapist like debbie in charge of my skin, i have every chance at regaining the elasticity and moisture that it has seemingly lost from years of neglect.

at the end of the day, i am ~only thirty, and age is but a number. and i have another sixty years to get old-looking, right? what are your anti-ageing tips and tricks? are you a facials kinda gal? tell me!

*thank you to omniya and debbie for the invitation to review this treatment*

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