The Facial That Calmed My Skin (And Mind) During This Very Stressful Summer

Taking care of my skin is helping me take care of my brain.
Publish date:
July 26, 2016
sensitive skin, breakouts, stress, facials, treatments, redness, hormonal acne

Moving is stressful. I know I'm not saying anything new with that statement, but it's more apparent to me than ever right now that I've moved twice in two months.

At the end of May, I moved out of my Toronto apartment and in with my parents, and I just dragged two suitcases over the Atlantic to London to live there for two years. So to say I'm feeling a bit panicky, well, that's putting it mildly.

Not at all mild, though, is how my skin has been reacting. My chin, cheeks, and jawline seem to take great pleasure in sprouting new breakouts on the regular. Isn't it funny how when we're stressed out, our bodies basically create acne to physically embody that stress and, in turn, make us feel even more stressed out? Thanks for that, hormones, you da real MVPs.

Amidst all of this skin aggravation, I found a ray of light when I was offered the chance to get a facial with the folks from Alumier MD. I did my best to squeeze a session into my schedule and looked forward to the brief moment of serenity the facial treatment would provide.

On the morning of my appointment, I woke up with approximately five fresh zits on my left cheek alone. Perfect timing, I thought to myself and hoped that the skin care wizards would extract my skin's congested surface into glowy beauty.

However, when I arrived, my specialist, Marcella, assured me she was going to be as gentle as possible with my cranky, sensitive skin. At first I was a bit concerned that my skin wouldn't get the workout it needed, but as I lay back in the dimly lit treatment room and she proceeded to cleanse and massage my face, my worries drifted away.

She specially tailored my treatment to address the immediate concerns of my hormonal acne by using gentle cleansers (first the Purifying Gel Cleanser to remove my makeup and penetrate the pores, and then a thorough massage with the SensiCalm Cleanser) and a gentle, deep-cleaning mask available only through in-spa treatments.

As I lay there, nearly falling asleep, I realized just how hard I'd been pushing myself. I'd been feeling so stressed out, trying to balance my social life with work and preparing for my move, and spending much of my bank account going back and forth between my parents' place in the suburbs and my sister's apartment in the city. It was taking a toll not only on my skin but on my mental health, too.

As the session began to wrap up, with Marcella massaging my shoulders and neck with the deeply rich yet non-sticky Neck and Décollete Cream and treating my eyes with a bit of the brand's hydrating and light-reflecting AluminEye cream, I knew I had to not only take better care of my skin, but also take better care of myself. I vowed to say no to plans I knew I wouldn't be able to sanely keep up with, and to take plenty of time to relax with my family before I left the country.

When I stepped outside of the treatment room and finally looked in the mirror, my previously dull, rough skin was glowing. It truly looked better than it had in months. The breakouts from that morning looked reduced in size, and my skin tone looked healthy and even.

Best of all, the gentle treatment hadn't included any harsh or intense extractions; instead, my skin had been babied and nurtured, and I left being encouraged to keep up the dewy, plump appearance by using the brand's dewy HydraCalm Moisturizer.

Over the next few days, I began to see the breakouts fade and the surface of my skin in general smoothed out. The light texture of the moisturizer and the clean ingredients gradually lessened the redness around my nose and on my chin. The formula is packed with hyaluronic acid, antioxidants, sea whip (a great marine-sourced redness soother that's sure to be the next "it" ingredient), honey, peptides, and vitamin B3. Phew! But on top of that, it's cruelty-, paraben-, petrolatum-, and sulfate-free and completely scentless.

Taking cues from my facial, I take the time to gently tap and massage it into my skin every night. It may not be the same as having a fabulous luxury treatment, but it makes me feel a little bit calmer, and it's showing in my skin, too.

  • Have you ever learned a life lesson from beauty?
  • What little product rituals give you a sense of calm?