I went for my first post-lockdown facial and it may have saved my maskne outbreak

Naturally, face mask-ing the hell up wasn’t helping the skin side of things either (obviously preventing the spread of Covid-19 is far more important and I’m not questioning that) but, bear with, the majority of my breakouts, like many women, tend to be on my chin, directly linked to my hormonal cycle.

With face masks mandatory on public transport and most indoor settings, the maskne situation was worsening, thanks to the perfect combination of sweat, bacteria and hormones. It was a party down there, and not the really fun kind.

As someone who recently came off the contraceptive pill (after 13 continuous years) my skin has been less than well-behaved. After about two months, just as we were gearing up for lockdown, all hell broke loose after what I can only describe as the coming-off-the-pill honeymoon period.

While I felt like I was able to hibernate while things were seriously bubbling, quite literally, across my face, the sunshine (which hides nothing) and constant Zoom-ing was enough to make me feel conscious and paranoid about my spotty skin, especially after a pretty zit-free existence since I was 18.

Things improved thanks to certain products, namely Paula’s Choice and La Roche Posay Effaclar, but I knew that, once lockdown was lifted, I wanted to be in the safe hands of a professional. Just like needing a haircut, my skin was yelling out for a bit of TLC, the sort I couldn’t conjure up from my bathroom cabinet.

So, when my hairdresser at Andy’s Salon in Wimbledon recommended I come back for a HydraFacial with their esthetician Vanessa, I booked in immediately. Of course, now beauty salons have reopened, there are a whole new set of rules and regulations in place to keep people safe, and unsurprisingly, some things have changed.

Firstly, walking into the salon, I had to wear a mask and was immediately squirted with hand sanitiser. Vanessa soon greeted me wearing a mask and visor, before leading me downstairs to the private beauty treatment room. Thankfully, you’re allowed to remove your mask for facials (otherwise things would be tricky) and I took mine off once I was inside so we could discuss my treatment and Vanessa could properly assess my skin.

Yes, it did feel more clinical than my last visit, a little more like being at the dentist at the start, especially when she was looking at my skin with a bright light and wearing her full mask protection but it’s reassuring too, I felt safe. And before you ask, talking during treatments is permitted but if you feel more comfortable not doing so, that’s totally okay too. The entire room was also cleaned thoroughly after the previous client left, ensuring that things were as Covid-safe as they could be.

Vanessa took me through the steps, confirmed that my skin problems were likely due to my face mask – she advised changing it throughout the day and making sure I cleaned my mouth area thoroughly in between so I’m preventing bacteria from building up in the first place.

If you’ve never had a HydraFacial before, here’s the lowdown: It’s high-tech wizardry and results-driven, not the old-fashioned, face-patting kind of facial that doesn’t do more than coat your face in lovely-smelling masks and creams.

Vanessa told me that it’s one of the most popular facials they’re given post-lockdown because of its effectiveness for tackling maskne, congestion caused by months of uncertainty and stress and for anyone suffering from lacklustre skin.

Best of all, with this facial there IS NO DOWN TIME. Yes, you heard that right. You won’t leave looking swollen, bleeding or blotchy. “I love giving this type of facial because it covers microdermabrasion, chemical peels and LED therapy without being too aggressive. Teamed with a relaxing lymphatic massage, it’s a feel-good, holistic experience too,” said Vanessa. Just what I needed, I thought.

The facial uses a HydraFacial machine that whizzes and whirls (it feels a little like the teeth-cleaning gadget at the dentist), using a vortex suction to extract and exfoliate your skin. No, it doesn’t hurt at all, I found the whole experience really relaxing and in between masks and LED therapy, Vanessa worked her magical hands on me, easing away tension on my face, neck and shoulders. There was something so soothing about experiencing the human touch again, a feeling so many of us missed during lockdown. I’m daydreaming just thinking about it again.

As soon as I got home, the difference in my skin was unbelievably noticeable. I was luminous, so fresh. The spots on my chin looked smoother and my blackheads had vanished. I shared a snap on my Instagram Stories and I had so many replies, “You’re literally glowing!!!” “What facial did you have, I NEED this”

Now, three days later, I’m still reaping the rewards. And not only did visiting my local salon improve my self-esteem, it also supported a small business who needs the help too. Go forth, book your post-lockdown facial, you won’t be disappointed.

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