I have never had a facial in all 20 years of my life.
A few years ago, I was hanging out at a neighbourhood mall with a friend after school when we decided we would go for our maiden facial experience at a newly-opened salon. My friend began her treatment first and I entered the room with her, both of us immensely excited at the prospect of a glowing complexion. It was a traumatizing experience I regretted almost immediately.
After using just wet wipes to cleanse my friend's face, the lady boss proceeded to roughly extract the blackheads from her face. Tears were streaming down my friend's face and many areas on her face were bleeding but the therapist never hesitated – not even when she begged her for a respite. After watching my friend struggle with the pain throughout her hour-long facial, I chickened out and politely explained that I was pressed for time. Luckily I did - the redness on my friend's face did not subside and pimples started breaking out although she has never had an acne problem before. Thankfully, the rawness subsided three weeks later.
Since that harrowing experience, I have always shied away from going for a facial - whether neighbourhood or professional. But last week, I finally decided it was time to confront my fear and find out once and for all if all facials were as bad as my friend's unfortunate first experience.
I walked into the Medical Aesthetics Spa (UK) Tras Street outlet with a mixture of apprehension and hope. A staff member helped to alleviate my fears as she addressed my concerns in a pre-therapy session. I explained that it was my first time doing a facial and I was afraid of breaking out as I have sensitive, acne-prone skin. I was also afraid of the pain.
She explained that the "breaking out" period was actually known as the "healing process", when pimples, whiteheads and blackheads seem to develop quickly over a few days as the toxins are being purged out. She also reassured me that since it was my first time, they would go easy on my pores with a brief extraction procedure and softer face massage so the "healing process" would be shorter.
I was recommended the "pure" facial treatment ($180), a 115-minute treatment that reportedly helps to stimulate collagen formation and encourage optimal cellular regulation. It's best suited for those with dull and stressed skin - perfect for a high-strung individual like myself.
The treatment started with a relaxing face and neck massage followed by a thorough cleansing and refreshing cucumber scrub.
Next was my most-dreaded, the extraction process. Xiaoni, my therapist, started off gently extracting the whiteheads on my forehead before slowly moving to work on my cheeks. Surprisingly, I found the process hardly painful and rather relaxing actually - save for the nose area which slightly stung. What a big difference compared to the lady at the neighbourhood salon! P.S. Don't get me wrong, I hear some neighbourhood spas offer pretty good services, but that one in Tampines was definitely not one of them.
The next step in my treatment was three different kind of massages. First up was an electric device that zapped at my skin's open pores. It served as an antiseptic to soothe my raw skin. It gave a slightly tingly sensation that was not very comfortable, but not unpleasant either.
Then, Xiaoni used a form of light therapy known as LED Pure Light. The blue light was concentrated on any one area of my face at one time and worked on penetrating the surface of my skin. Blue light, a low-intensity light was used as acne-causing bacteria is usually found underneath the surface of the skin. Hence the light used does not have to be as strong as it would be if you were trying to reduce wrinkles.
Next, she gave me a lymph drainage massage and I slowly drifted into a light sleep. The massage helps to improve the circulation of blood, reduce water retention and hasten the purging of the bacteria in my skin.
Finally, Xiaoni applied an algae mask on my skin that felt so refreshing after all the treatments my skin had been subject to that afternoon.
While it was an extremely relaxing experience, I still had a nagging worry at the back of my mind - what if my skin is red and swollen? I was deeply relieved when I checked myself out in the mirror after the treatment. My face was not red at all but in fact, I felt my skin looked brighter than before and felt extremely soft to the touch. Needless to say, I was pleased with the results.
I would strongly recommend Medical Aesthetics Spa (UK) for first-timers and those who have had less-than-pleasant experiences with facials.
Other signature treatments you can try include the "age antidote treatment" facial which promises to plump up your skin from within, the "age antidote eye contour" to restore elasticity and reduce the appearance of fatigue in the eye area. Slimming treatments as well as botox and fillers treatment are also available.
From now till Feb 28, you can bring along the receipt for any facial or body treatment packages you have purchased from other spas and redeem its full value for treatments at Medical Aesthetics Spa (UK) in the "Balance Transfer Deal." First 50 customers to do so will receive a complimentary face/body treatment worth $200.
Medical Aesthetics Spa (UK) has branches at Palais Renaissance, Market Street, Tras Street and The Sail (exclusive to residents only). For more information, visit http://www.medicalaestheticsuk.com.sg