I basically called my mom for help. Except when I say mom, I mean an esthetician.
As soon as I met Nichola Weir, the Samoan skin guru and owner of Pacific Touch NYC, I knew I needed more time with her.
Within five minutes of our first conversation, she was making me question everything I knew about taking care of my skin. Not only is she an expert in skincare, she’s genuinely nice and has the most adorable Kiwi accent to boot. Being able to make people instantly love you can be very helpful when you’re giving them a reality check about their blackheads.
She invited me to come visit Pacific Touch NYC and half of the reason I said yes was just so I could hang out with her some more. The other half? The clogged pores decorating my forehead. (More on that in a bit.)
Pacific Touch NYC is located at Omni Wellness, a health center that resembles any quiet, calm doctor’s office, except these offices are filled with acupuncturists, massage therapists, and holistic healers of all sorts. Nichola called me in and let me know I was on “island time” now. That sounded nice as I wrapped myself in a lava-lava and awaited my holistic facial.
My visit to Nichola was like an investigation, trying to discover what was happening to my skin and how to fix it. Let’s call it “The Case of the Mysterious Tiny Forehead Bumps.”
I recently developed tiny little bumps across my forehead. They are clogged pores but never get red or inflamed like zits. I never seem to get new ones or get rid of old ones, they just sit there and don’t take well to extractions.
Throughout my facial, Nichola asked me questions and deducted the three main causes of my forehead bumpiness.
It didn’t take Sherlock Holmes to figure out that I was a stressed-out mess as I was gripping my phone, shoulders up to my ears and talking a mile a minute. Nichola told me that in our late twenties, women are focused on career and other life changes while our bodies are undergoing hormonal swings that impact the skin. It's important to pay attention to what’s happening to the skin and change up our routines the same way we may change what we’re eating depending on how we’re feeling.
Nichola’s goal with Pacific Touch is to bring the island mentality to overworked, stressed-out New Yorkers like me.
“Don’t fight what’s always going to be,” she told me, and I instantly felt like moving to a secluded beach and/or curling up in a ball and crying. Stress is part of the life in New York, and it was best that I learned how to cope and find ways to balance the stress in my life.
Her solution for my stress was the art of rituals. She has members of her Breakout Bootcamp meditate, keep gratitude journals, and drink warm lemon water every day because it puts them in the right mentality for their day. A breakout can be a big blow to self esteem, and Nichola told me you have to force your mentality to flip so you don’t stress out and make the breakout worse.
I love morning and evening rituals, but the minute I get stressed at work or overwhelmed, my rituals go out the window. Unfortunately, that’s the most important time to maintain these rituals. Stress accumulates, and I need to force myself to stick to the rituals in my life for the sake of my skin as well as my sanity.
Along with NYC pollution, makeup, hats and even bangs can irritate the skin. One of the major reasons Nichola deduced for my forehead bumps was using towels to wipe my sweat at the gym or yoga. These towels are often bleached to kill off bacteria, which can then cause a histamine reaction on the skin.
I also admitted that I am one of those creepy people whose eyes stay slightly open while asleep and am therefore addicted my eye mask in order to simultaneously prevent eye allergies and creeping out my husband too much. Nichola suggested I swap my favorite eye mask for a silk scarf that would cause less irritation to my skin.
Before arriving, I had tried to picture what a holistic facial would be like--essential oils, all natural scrubs, burning sage perhaps, definitely no extractions--but I was completely wrong.
Nichola started by cleansing my face first with Janesce Solutions Cleanser, then with Janesce Gentle Clearing Wash, which was made from soft almond meal, honey, lavender, rose, and sweet orange.
She applied steam and removed the excess with an ultrasonic spatula that sent sound-wave pulses into my pores. I was definitely not having the hippy dippy facial I had pictured.
After a round of gentle extractions, we moved onto the Robocop phase of the facial (naturally) wherein I underwent LED light therapy.
Nichola followed the LED light masks up with a calming clay mask containing zinc, calamine, and calendula.
Extractions, peels and acne medications are great for temporarily clearing up bumps, but if their cause is systemic, it’s important I take care of it at the root. This is why Nichola encourages all of her clients to be grateful for their breakouts because they are one of the first signs that something is going on in the body.
Nichola told me that in Chinese medicine, there is a systemic reasoning for breakouts on different parts of the face. Breakouts on the chin can signal adrenal stress (ditch the coffee), center of nose is connected to the heart (physical and emotional), and cheek breakouts are respiratory (smokers and allergy sufferers alike). Breakouts on the forehead can be a sign of poor digestion.
Not to toot my own horn, but I happen to have great digestion thanks to working in health and have rare easy access to organic anti-inflammatory foods. This would explain why the bumps on my forehead never get inflamed but not why the pores were clogged in the first place.
Nichola told me that she often sees the same bumps in dairy eaters. I’ve been off dairy for about eight years, but the bumps could be caused by the same hormonal imbalance often found in dairy eaters. Other symptoms include irregular periods (check) and unwanted body hair (double check). She suggested I get a blood test to check my hormone levels.
So, thank you forehead bumps! If this ends up fixing my PMS, I’ll throw my pimples a damn parade!
Nichola topped off the facial with Janesce Rose Mist to balance my hormones and Janesce Anti-Oxidant Solutions Moisturizer to protect my post-facial skin from the city pollution.
After I got dressed, she met me at the door with some warm lemon water and homemade vegan treats because everyone always wants a snack after a long facial. We talked more about coping with stress and a plan of action for my skin.
As I walked down the street toward the subway devouring my healthy snack and practicing the breathing exercises she had just taught me, I started to unwind.
Facials are always great because you get to lie there while someone clears your skin for you, but spending some island time at Pacific Touch NYC made me actually feel taken care of. This is what she meant by holistic--skin health and beauty from the inside and out.
Fire your facialists AND your therapists AND you best friend: Nichola Weir will take care of you.