As part of my 2016 skin/hair/body makeover year, I decided to try a professional diamond microdermabrasion session with a professional Ultraceuticals skin therapist. Was it a success? How did it feel? How did my skin react in the first week? Was I happy with the treatment and the products and will I keep going with it? Read on (or skip straight to the end here if you want the quick answer.)
To get the best outcome, it’s suggested you have a series of sessions over several months and so I had the first session in January with a fantastic skin therapist. She was an absolute delight. Informative, creative, incredibly skilled and experienced and very professional. As part of a full facial, she gave me a thorough diamond microdermabrasion treatment and the whole process took around an hour and a half.
The treatment itself didn’t hurt one little bit and I walked out minus most of my stubborn blackheads, with skin that felt alive, fresh and very clean. She also had a go at relieving a cystic blind pimple (the first one I had ever had in my life!) that had been sitting on my chin for six weeks. I was also given enough Ultraceutical sample products (cleanser, serum, vit c, sunscreen etc.) to keep me going for a week or two while we figured out what my skin would work well with in the future. The plan was to keep doing regular microdermabrasion treatments, rebuild the collagen and also eventually apply BHAs and AHAs in a safe and productive way to bring some youthful vitality back to my skin.
By the evening of that day, my skin was feeling totally uncongested and I was in awe of how clear my nose looked without the years of blackheads that had been ‘decorating’ it. As instructed, I cleansed using the Ultraceuticals Ultra Balancing Gel Cleanser and followed that with the Ultraceuticals B2 Hydrating Serum. The therapist had also given me a little sample pot of one of the Ultraceuticals masks with instruction to apply that to the remains of my cystic blind pimple each evening. My skin felt a little tight, particularly my forehead but I figured that was just the after effects of the treatment.
I woke to find the cystic blind pimple perhaps slightly less irritated and inflamed than it was but no major change. My skin felt clean although it was feeling dry and tight and there was minor flaking on my nose. I had some minor red colouration above my nose between my eyebrows and on my chin but nothing major.
I cleansed with the sample cleanser again, applied the B2 serum and also some of the Ultraceuticals Ultra UV Daily Moisturiser SPF 30+ from the samples provided. I repeated the night time cleansing ritual in the evening and again noticed how tight and stretched my skin was feeling, especially my forehead and my outer cheeks.
Today was the day I was supposed to start using the Ultraceuticals Ultra C10+ Firming Serum in conjunction with the cleanser, B2 serum and the sunscreen. I applied them all as instructed to my dry, tight skin. I noticed my cystic blind pimple was no different, still overwhelmingly apparent and still as much of a pain in the rear end as it had been for the last six weeks. Agggghhhh!!!!
Not a good day! The first thing I noticed when looking in the mirror this morning was a bunch of red pimples and irritation on my left cheek. Now it would be fair to say that even when I never bothered with any skin care during the ‘neglectful years’, I almost never got pimples so to find a whole bunch of them was quite a shock.
Its also fair to say that many microdermabrasion reviews suggest that as the gunk in the skin gets drawn through the skin layers too the surface and teams up with any bacteria, it can produce some pimples. Ok, I can accept that… except my skin was also VERY dry and stretched and that dam blind pimple was still staring me in the face, mocking me every day. The red patches on my forehead and chin persisted too. This was not how I had envisaged it would be!
The instructions I had made no mention of moisturiser at all and I began wondering if that was an oversight. However, during the treatment, the therapist had asked me if I preferred serums or moisturisers. I had said I loved serums for their ability to deliver concentrated goodies to the skin so I was questioning if I was even supposed to apply moisturiser or not.
I also had to go out this day, which meant applying makeup, but my foundation (Estee Lauder Double Wear) wouldn’t stay on properly because my skin was so dry. I ended up leaving the house looking like it was a really bad makeup day and feeling very self-conscious. All the time, my left cheek was beginning to hurt with all these pimples coming up. Not happy Jan!!!
Dam blind pimple is still mocking me. Stupid left cheek full of pimples has joined the mocking party too and has thrown in more irritation pain just to get the party really rocking. My skin is so dry; it feels parched and delicate now. This is not going well!
Because my skin was so dry, I decided to also apply my own moisturiser on top of the instructed cleansing routine. I know the instructions didn’t include moisturizer but seriously, this dry skin was not part of the deal! I finished off with my gorgeous Estee Lauder moisturiser and what the?! My moisturizer literally peeled right off my skin! I kid you not! It came straight back off again in little rolls of cream! What fresh mayhem was this?!
At first I thought it was my own skin peeling, but no, it was the cream. My cream didn’t play well with the Ultraceuticals products having tested it all in different combinations on the back of my hands. So now my foundation and my moisturizer weren’t playing nicely with the sample products. My skin was feeling like fire on my left cheek, my blind pimple was still mocking me and my skin was as dry as parchment. Definitely not enjoying this party.
Enough is enough. My left cheek pimples and inflammation pain, my dry parched skin, my party pooper blind pimple, my red patches, all this has to stop! So I decided to stop all the Ultraceutical products and revert to my trusted favourites for the day and see if it made any difference. I used my Estee Lauder cleanser, serum and moisturizer and then went about my very busy day.
I didn’t get a chance to look in the mirror until the evening and I was shocked. The red patches had gone completely, the pimples on my left cheek had diminished noticeably and the glaringly obvious blind pimple on my chin wasn’t so glaringly obvious. My skin didn’t look or feel dry and taught and in fact it was looking bright, clean and happy, just like it did on day 1 of the treatment. Aha! Clearly my skin didn’t like the Ultraceuticals products.
That night I stuck with my own cleansing routine but also finished off with a smidgen of 1% hydrocortisone on the inflamed areas. This isn’t a cream I use often by any means but it is fantastic to bring down a minor rash or irritation when used rarely and sparingly.
Who is this in my mirror?! My skin looked great again! It was clear, the red cheek pimples had almost disappeared and the blind pimple party on my chin had all but disappeared. No red patches, no dry skin, just beautiful, clear, radiant skin.
So would I do microdermabrasion again? Possibly but probably not to be honest. Having done even more research on it than I did before I did the treatment, I think there are kinder ways to clear the dead top surface layer of skin. It may well be fantastic after several treatments but I’m just not sure it was right for me.
The more important question is, will I use Ultraceutical products again? The answer is an obvious no. It may well be that had I found a compatible moisturizer to add to the cleansing routine (Ultracueticals do make their own moisturisers) and used that from the beginning, then it may have reduced the dryness and therefore reduced the risk of pimple breakout, irritation and inflammation. It may be that it was just the vitamin C serum that played havoc with my skin and that if I dropped that and continued with the others, it may have helped. It may be that using a different, perhaps less drying cleanser in their range would have helped. It may be that had I used their products without having also just done a microdermabrasion treatment as well, they may have been less unkind to my skin too. I probably should also have rung the therapist to report what was happening and the routine may have been modified as a result but the final judgment really is that while many people love Ultracueticals, I found them too harsh, too drying and not supportive of skin rejuvenation for my mature skin. I love their philosophy of applying a good sunscreen every day to stop future sun damage and I love that they couple their products with professional and reputable practitioners who can really customize a routine for you but the end result for me is a personal thumbs down I’m afraid.
So the makeover year continues but with different products (I’ll review those for you as I use them) and new strategies. Watch this space for updates!
I’d love to hear your stories of discovery with products and treatments. Please comment below and share your success and failures. I love learning from other’s stories.