When it comes to my personal grooming, I’ve had one wish: for my pores to stop being such attention seekers. I’ve tried everything and done everything (from serums to strips to peels to lasers) but my good intentions never paid off. My pores remained clogged and I had blackheads like China has inhabitants. I honestly gave up.
That was until I had a 5-hour facial at Porcelain Face Spa. Yeah, I said 5 hours. I was stunned myself because it didn’t feel like 5 hours had passed. I thought my iPhone had switched time zones. I missed lunch and two appointments. But more importantly, that facial changed the way I viewed facials. I never viewed them as necessity; I go for them because I find them relaxing but that all changed. The director of Porcelain, Jenny Teng, is a meister at extractions and eradicating acne. I was so blown away by her mad skills that I decided that I would embark on a 3 weeks/ 3 session blackhead boot camp.
Session 1 (5 Hours)
The session started with the traditional double cleansing and microdermabrasion by means of oxygen. Unlike traditional microdermabrasion that can sometimes cause irritation and redness, pressurized oxygen is released steadily like a jet; gently but effective removing dead skin cells. Next, a special warm gel is applied on my T-Zone and special strips are placed on top of the gel. The strips are then removed when dry and of course, my strips were filled with tiny white plugs. I was treated to a relaxing eye message after.
Jenny then starts working and she left no pore untouched. Every single one of my pores was pulled, poked, squeezed and some, multiple times. I held a hand-mirror as she worked; explaining her meticulous process at the same time. I looked on with an amalgamated mix of excitement, surprise and embarrassment. Out of my pores came deep-seated milia seeds (oil seeds) and gunk produced by my over-active sebaceous glands. There was just so much gunk that I actually felt a tad grossed-out by myself. After 2.5 hours, she was done.
My wearied skin was treated to a L.E.D. lamp (where the blue light helps with killing acne-causing bacteria and the red light with cellular renewal and anti-aging) and spritz of soothing water. A custom-blended soothing mask was applied next and after that was rinsed off, I had another round of the oxygen spray – this time, its purpose was to soothe, hydrate and nourish.
A 5-hours session is not something common but it showed me just how much I needed it. I left with red blotchy skin but my skin somehow felt lighter and I felt good.
Session 2 (3 Hours)
My second session was exactly a week after and my skin looked better but it was still clogged. Jenny got down to business and we talked about products and how using the wrong ones will actually be akin to moving two steps back. It did feel like that – the extractions this time was more uncomfortable since the next layer of gunk had reached the surface. This got me thinking and I made a mental note to find out exactly what products were hindering my new anti-blackhead initiative. An ampoule and a mask after helped calm my skin.
Hours of research and phone-calls to brand representatives later, I deleted 3 products that were neither oil-free nor non-comedogenic (non pore-clogging) from my grooming routine permanently. I think I might have found the answer to my conundrum and I was ready to test out my new hypothesis – my clogged pores stayed clogged because I was using the wrong kind of products.
Session 3 (3 Hours)
I was really looking forward to this session because I spent the last 10 days sticking to my new product diet of only oil-free and non-comedogenic products. I was waiting to see if that paid off. Jenny confirmed that it did and I was congratulating myself. Finally.
But because I have really active oil-glands, it’s all still a work in progress and it takes time to take that under control and for my pores to start shrinking like I wish they would. Jenny started and this session, I didn’t require so much of her time. I had a cyst-like bump on the side of my face underneath my side-burns that I had injected with Kenalog at my dermatologist’s and it flattened for a few days before growing again. With one single prick and a quick push, Jenny got to the root (literally) of the problem – a plug that looked longer than regular ones; it was rooted and clogging up that pore.
I was then given a cellulose mask that contoured to my skin and put under the trusty L.E.D. lamp. A refreshing spray of oxygen completed the treatment.
After three sessions, my pores are less noticeable and my skin never looked less clogged. I happened to catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror a few days after my third session and my reflection made me stop for a split second. My skin was glowing. It normally glows but this glow was different – there was a refinement that had plumpness and a radiant smoothness to it. It was a refined glow; the kind that was new to me.
I went into the first session treating it like something on my list of errands to run that day and I came out a convert. These were the best blackhead-busting facials I’ve had and you can bet that I am going back for more.