Miss FQ - - Contents -

Fi­nally a cure for adult acne

You name it girl, I’ve tried it: Ac­cu­tane, an­tibi­otics, birth con­trol, in­fomer­cial prod­ucts, vi­ta­min sup­ple­ments and an elim­i­na­tion diet. Some meth­ods work for a few weeks, un­til bou­quets of break­outs reap­pear on my cheeks, jaw and chin, taunt­ing me like they never left.

My boyfriend has al­ways told me, “I think you’re beau­ti­ful” — there’s never any ‘any­way’ or ‘de­spite your skin’ at the end of that sen­tence — and I agree. Even though I Face­tune the shiz out of my self­ies, I’m ac­tu­ally a con­fi­dent per­son. I’m not ob­sessed with my­self, but I love how I look, and I’ll go makeup-free dur­ing the week­end and not GAF. That said, I to­tally de­spise my cys­tic acne, and af­ter suf­fer­ing through­out my teens and into my 20s, I’ve had enough.


Three months into chang­ing my diet for the sake of my skin — avoid­ing cof­fee and go­ing gluten and dairy-free — I’m over it. My life­style changes don’t seem to be work­ing. I’m sick of peo­ple star­ing at my blotchy chin, rather than my eyes, and of friends and fam­ily ask­ing if I’m eat­ing enough greens be­cause my skin “looks ter­ri­ble”. Like, can you not?

If you’ve suf­fered from acne, you’ll be fa­mil­iar with that pang of hurt when some­body points out what you al­ready see in the mir­ror. Every. Sin­gle. Day. Ugh, it sucks! But trust me when I say I’m em­bark­ing on this jour­ney for my­self — not to band-aid in­se­cu­rity or to stop the shock on ig­no­rant peo­ple’s faces when I choose to forgo foun­da­tion. I just want hap­pier skin af­ter 10 te­dious years of un­wa­ver­ing acne.

I’d heard of About Face, win­ner of Best Beauty Des­ti­na­tion at the NZ Best in Beauty Awards in 2016. They’re ‘se­ri­ous about skin’ and I’m se­ri­ous about fix­ing this painful (lit­er­ally) situ. They also have the most ad­vanced skin tech­nol­ogy in the biz. I’m sold – and am book­ing in STAT.


I meet Ha­ley Ti­et­jens, About Face’s busi­ness per­for­mance man­ager, and an ex­pe­ri­enced se­nior ther­a­pist at the Mt Eden clinic. They ask about my skin his­tory and cur­rent rou­tine to de­ter­mine the most ef­fec­tive treat­ment plan.

“Your skin has large, in­flamed and in­fected pores,” Ha­ley ex­plains. “This ac­tive acne is con­cen­trated mainly in the lower cheek area and lower half of the face. You also have black­heads caused by ex­cess oil and an ac­cu­mu­la­tion of dead skin cells.”

“Your acne is con­sid­ered mod­er­ate,” the ther­a­pist says, and with the ut­most con­fi­dence as­sures me I will see re­sults in six weeks as skin re­gen­er­ates every four. She im­me­di­ately asks me to quit us­ing my cur­rent sweep of beauty prod­ucts — in­clud­ing my cher­ished makeup. ‘Min­eral only’ is prescribed.

I’ll have to con­tinue with my diet changes, too. “We re­move dairy from the diet for some clients as this can cause break­outs, in­flam­ma­tion, and ir­ri­ta­tion in some skins,” Ha­ley tells me. “Many clients are gluten-sen­si­tive too — elim­i­nat­ing it can re­duce in­flam­ma­tion.” Sugar has been found to feed acne and cof­fee is also out. “Caf­feinated drinks can cause in­flam­ma­tion in the body and af­fect the skin’s heal­ing process.”

Next, I have a vis­ual as­sess­ment with the VISIA Com­plex­ion Anal­y­sis, a sci­en­tific tool that uses UV light to ac­cu­rately capture the skin’s con­di­tion with high res­o­lu­tion pho­tog­ra­phy. It tells me I only have three wrin­kles, phew! But my un­der-eye area is se­verely de­hy­drated so if I don’t start us­ing an eye cream ASAP, I’ll have a heck of a lot more lines in my 30s. Eep!

Ha­ley asks me if I wear sun­screen and I tell her I put it on re­li­giously be­fore go­ing out­side, but it turns out she meant all day, erry day. The VISIA shows that even spend­ing most of my day in­doors has dam­aged the deep hy­po­der­mis lay­ers of my skin, re­sult­ing in a skin age of 27 the VISIA tells me… but I’m only 23! WTH?

Miss FQ’S dig­i­tal and as­so­ciate edi­tor Skye Ross goes into se­ri­ous bat­tle with her cys­tic acne and gets life-chang­ing re­sults “I’m em­bark­ing on this jour­ney for my­self… I just want hap­pier skin af­ter 10 te­dious years of un­wa­ver­ing acne”

While UVB light is the evil sun­burn and skin can­cer-caus­ing cul­prit, UVA ra­di­a­tion can still pass through win­dows and fil­ter through in­side lights, lead­ing to wrin­kles, skin dam­age, and melanoma.

Ul­traceu­ti­cals Ul­tra UV Pro­tec­tive Daily Mois­turiser SPF 50+ Mat­ti­fy­ing, $84,

is a new daily re­li­gion. Next, UV flu­o­res­cence im­agery re­veals ex­ten­sive porphyrins — the bac­te­ria that causes acne — all over my face. Hav­ing an ex­cess of porphyrins doesn’t make me dirty, my ther­a­pist re­as­sures; it’s ge­netic.

For some, acne is caused by a poor diet, stress, come­do­genic (pore-block­ing) cos­met­ics, or an im­bal­ance of hor­mones (think teenage acne). But mine is mainly due to bac­te­ria, mak­ing me an ex­cel­lent can­di­date for About Face’s Om­nilux Light Ther­apy treat­ments.

“Om­nilux is a safe, pain­less, non-in­va­sive treat­ment us­ing light of dif­fer­ent wave­lengths,” Ha­ley tells me. “It stim­u­lates nat­u­ral pro­cesses to re­ju­ve­nate the skin.”

Om­nilux has three types of light: ‘Blue’, ‘White’ and ‘Red’. Blue kills bac­te­ria, White calms and soothes and Red gives dull, dry-look­ing skin a boost. I’ll be hav­ing Blue and White. I’ll be treated at About Face Mount Eden as Blue is only avail­able there, and at Mairangi Bay.

Upon closer in­spec­tion, I’m told that I have tough skin — great for slow­ing down age­ing later on, but it means it’s harder for my skin to ex­pel block­ages now. My se­bum, the oil that pro­tects the skin from in­fec­tion and re­duces wa­ter loss, is also stick­ier than most peo­ple’s — an­other key pim­ple-caus­ing fac­tor.

My tai­lored treat­ment plan will use three dif­fer­ent treat­ments. “Us­ing a com­bi­na­tion of the two Om­nilux lights and peels we will be not only calm­ing and heal­ing the skin but also killing the bad bac­te­ria, nor­mal­is­ing skin cell turnover and get­ting strength and re­silience back to the skin,” Ha­ley ex­plains. “To en­sure the best re­sults, you’ll use skincare prescribed by us at home. Us­ing cos­me­ceu­ti­cal skincare and hav­ing treat­ments that work at a cel­lu­lar level in the skin will get great re­sults. The en­tire course will take six to eight weeks and then we will go onto more main­te­nance treat­ments.” Bring it on. VISIA IM­AGE SHOW­ING SUN DAM­AGE


Let the bat­tle com­mence. I have my first White light treat­ment two days be­fore my first peel and ‘ex­trac­tion’ ap­point­ment.

“The peels are a vital part of treat­ment as they speed up the process of treat­ing the in­fec­tion that is present,” my ther­a­pist tells me while the so­lu­tion tin­gles as it works. “They also break down block­ages in the pores, there­fore re­duc­ing the ap­pear­ance of blem­ishes and help­ing to pre­vent the cy­cle of pores get­ting blocked, bac­te­ria mul­ti­ply­ing and be­com­ing pus­tules.”

We’ve all heard we shouldn’t pop pim­ples at home as it can do more harm than good.

“Ex­trac­tions must be per­formed cor­rectly to not cause any dam­age to the skin and are not per­formed on in­fected pores as it is im­por­tant that the in­fec­tion is not spread,” my ther­a­pist in­sists. How­ever, quick im­prove­ments are the name of the game when it comes to ex­trac­tions car­ried out by the pro­fes­sion­als.

“We can treat skin with­out do­ing ex­trac­tions but it takes many months for the skin to be able to break down these block­ages, mak­ing the process much slower.”

The ap­point­ment fin­ishes with an­other White light treat­ment to help with heal­ing.

My ther­a­pist says I might ex­pe­ri­ence some flak­ing of the skin in the next few days. She rec­om­mends I use only Pure Fiji Dilo Oil, $65, to mois­turise and soothe the skin at night. The peel­ing is thank­fully min­i­mal and the week fin­ishes with two Blue Om­nilux treat­ments, leav­ing a day in be­tween each. This max­imises the light’s ben­e­fits which amaz­ingly con­tinue for 24 hours af­ter the ini­tial treat­ment.

My skin is al­ready less painful and no­tice­ably calmer. I’m full of hope there’s some­thing in this!


The week be­gins with three lights: White, Blue, White, again with a day be­tween each.

On Fri­day, I check in with the VISIA to see how I’m track­ing. Ha­ley and I are im­me­di­ately blown away by the re­duc­tion in porphyrins. My bac­te­ria score was a depressing 17/100 at my ini­tial con­sul­ta­tion, but to­day it’s 84/100. It has only been two weeks and I’m ecstatic.

Af­ter that good news, I’m onto an­other peel, and it’s more in­tense than the first. It feels how sour tastes; defs not re­lax­ing, but not par­tic­u­larly un­com­fort­able ei­ther.

The ex­trac­tions on my jaw­line are pretty painful TBH but it’s over quickly — and no, it’s not as gory as Dr. Pim­ple Popper.

I am sur­prised at how lit­tle bleed­ing there is when my ther­a­pist un­blocks my pores, es­pe­cially com­pared to when I’ve re­gret­fully popped pim­ples in the past. I’m def­i­nitely go­ing to leave it to the pros from now on.

A few hours later my face feels as dry as my mouth af­ter a big night out. A mix­ture of Dilo Oil and Ul­traceu­ti­cals

Ul­tra Mois­turiser Cream, $89, is a wel­come re­lief.

The week­end rolls around and the flak­ing is sig­nif­i­cantly more no­tice­able than last time — my face is lit­er­ally peel­ing into my lap!

Af­ter a cou­ple of days, how­ever, the re­duc­tion in red­ness and in­creased smooth­ness makes it to­tally worth­while. The dif­fer­ence is out­stand­ing and I have far fewer pus­tules. Peo­ple are start­ing to no­tice the im­prove­ments which is the best feel­ing of all.


This week I’ve had one White light, then two Blue, and an­other White. BTW, the light treat­ments are totes re­lax­ing. While the ma­chine works its magic in just 30 min­utes (it ra­di­ates warmth but is to­tally pain­less) the lovely ther­a­pist gives me a hand massage. I of­ten fall asleep!

See­ing as I haven’t had a peel this week, I’ve re­ally been notic­ing the ben­e­fits of ex­fo­li­at­ing with Pri­ori Ad­vanced AHA In­vig­o­rat­ing Face and Body Scrub, $81, which buffs away dead skin cells. I only use it twice a week but I en­joy us­ing it. It’s so gen­tle and re­ju­ve­nat­ing.

I’m of­fi­cially half way through and the dif­fer­ence is amaz­ing! The last time I was able to run my fin­gers over my face and feel so few bumps was pre-pu­berty.


I have my third peel of the treat­ment plan to start the week and it doesn’t tin­gle or peel as much — my skin’s get­ting used to this. I tell my ther­a­pist it feels like she’s per­form­ing the least ex­trac­tions to date, which she proudly con­firms. I’m down to just a few juicy pim­ples and a hand­ful of hard black­heads.

The facial fin­ishes with a White light. Two days later I have a Blue, then a White to fin­ish the week.

Words can’t ex­press what it was like to wake up, catch a glimpse of my skin in the mir­ror, smile con­fi­dently and walk out the door sans foun­da­tion.

I lit­er­ally don’t have a white­head in sight. There are a cou­ple of hor­monal ones brew­ing be­low, but I’m not com­plain­ing. PMS pim­ples are the def­i­ni­tion of skin #goals when you’ve had acne for as long as I have. For the most part, the only lin­ger­ing break­outs are ones that, I like to say, are in re­cov­ery. I’m in shock at my re­sults — it’s as­tound­ing.

I have a Blue light and a White light this week and that’s it for my ini­tial stint at About Face.


Af­ter five weeks of treat­ments and one of let­ting my skin “catch up”, it’s time to dis­cuss next steps. My jour­ney isn’t over; it’s a process obvs, but I’m freakin’ stoked with this des­ti­na­tion, let me tell you!

My ther­a­pist ad­vises me to re­turn for “three weekly skin-chang­ing fa­cials for three to six months”, de­pend­ing on how long it takes for my skin to com­pletely re­cover. Com­plete re­cov­ery? Se­ri­ously? I never, ever thought that was an op­tion.

Fol­low­ing that, we’ll be “pro­gress­ing onto Col­la­gen In­duc­tion Ther­apy or Fraxel to tackle scar­ring”. Watch this space. In the mean­time, I’ll con­tinue to use

Ul­traceu­ti­cals Ul­tra A Skin Per­fect­ing Serum, $152,

every other night to sup­port my skin’s own pro­duc­tion of hyaluronic acid which helps to heal scars. Also, now that my por­phyrin lev­els are down dras­ti­cally, I’m done with the Blue light. Yay for nor­mal bac­te­ria lev­els!

So, with a sig­nif­i­cantly clearer face, this used-to-be scep­tic is fi­nally acne-free. It may have taken me 10 years but I’m so glad I went to see the ex­perts at About Face. They say a pic­ture is worth a thou­sand words, so I’ll let this post­treat­ment photo (be­low) do the talk­ing.



About Face is of­fer­ing Miss FQ read­ers a FREE 30-minute con­sul­ta­tion (worth $55). Book at about­face.co.nz. Skye’s in­di­vid­u­alised treat­ment plan cost $1867, plus prescribed skincare prod­ucts. About Face work one-on-one with each client on a plan best...

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