Caution: This post contains graphic images of a face inflammed with red, angry pimples filled with pus. You might feel itchy and want to vomit after seeing these images. I totally understand if you run away from me if you saw me. Reader discretion advised.
However, I beseech you to carry on reading – for my sake, and yours.
Once upon a time not too long ago, I looked like this.
In fact, this was taken on the day of The Singapore Social Concerts, just 3 days before the skin-ravaging facial on Monday, 27 May 2013 .
I’ve never had ‘flawless skin’ – I’ve discussed that in my Garnier skincare post. I’ve been battling acne my whole post-puberty life and scars, freckles, hyperpigmentation, dark spots have constantly made themselves very much at home on my face.
No Photoshopping was done on the previous photo, to show you how my skin looks like with only makeup. Just in case you want to know, I used Lioele Dollish Veil Vita BB as a base, and Lancome Mat Miracle Foundation on my face. They’ve never given me any problems in the past few months of use. This is my best face paint combination in my life, in fact.
In this post, all the photos you see were edited only for size. There was no Photoshopping involved – I have no desire to make the condition seem better or worse than it really is.
I will not reveal the name of the facial salon in this post, NOT in the interest of protecting its reputation, but because I truly believe that no sane organization would intentionally cause harm to its customers. Okie, maybe you’d quote the China fake milk powder stories to show that people would do anything for a quick buck, but this was a sponsored facial and the salon would obviously not want to incur the wrath of the blogger and its potential clients.
Mr Mode is livid that despite them inflicting so much pain – physically and emotionally – on me, I still choose to keep the identity of the salon a secret.
If you see me on Sunday at the Bloggers Bazaar, I’d most probably be wearing a mask so that I won’t scare people away, and also to minimize further bacterial infection.
This was how my skin looked like minutes after the facial.
Dinner with ex-colleagues, feeling very happy and confident because I still looked decent enough to face the world.
Me and Min. I don't think I can smile so happily again, not at least for the next few months. ='(
This was how my skin looked on Day 2. I had on a sheer layer of foundation.
By night, things were starting to look bad.
I've rarely had outbreaks on my temples or forehead.
I woke up to a rude shock. I had to wear a mask coz I was starting to feel very self-conscious, although in retrospect that was only the tip of the iceberg.
The facial therapist simply said I have sensitive skin and extraction of the pus would solve everything.
They applied some cream thing to make the skin look better than it really did.
I thought nothing could be worse than Day 3. Apparently Day 4 proved me wrong.
They look like barnacles! Just that mine are filled with pus.
These are barnacles:
I'd sent images of my deteriorating skin condition to the people at the facial salon and they asked me to go down and have the pus extracted again, this time to their HQ, where their Director was around. I don't know how people who have been in the industry for THIRTY YEARS couldn't tell this was not your normal acne breakout or post-facial sensitivity.
A close-up. Just to annoy you. LOL. Imagine seeing this on your face when you wake up. Not funny at all.
I love how this self-shot was taken. I can see the tears welling up in my eyes, the sorrow and bewilderment of how my skin could become so terrible.
The facial people told me that 'It has to get worse before it gets better'. BULLSHIT. Anyone who tells you that about your skin is really just lying to you. I have friends who are aestheticians say there's no such thing. If it gets worse, it can only get worse.
From the first round of extraction, they kept lying to me that 'tomorrow your skin will be better'. It never did.
At home, my skin turned worse. The glistening layer is not my own oily skin! Mine's oily but not so disgustingly greasy. It's the anti-bacterial gel they applied.
I showed the facial people these pictures and in the evening, C and D told me they're coming to pick me up to see a dermatologist. Mr Mode was there with me.
My skin has been ravaged.
Your Doctor Can Kill You
The first doctor was terrible! The minute he saw my face he nonchalantly commented "Oh, it's an acne breakout". And then he scribbled some stuff and looked at me with the okie-i'm-done-with-my-diagnosis-please-get-out look. I was like WHATISTHIS!!! I tried to ask more, to better understand my condition and he just kept saying it's a normal acne breakout and he would prescribe me antibiotics, some cream and a cleanser.
While getting my medication, we could see that the nurse wasn't sure what she was doing, she had to double check with the doctor all the time. Worse still, D pointed out that I was given EXPIRED CREAM. WHAT??!?!?!?!!! The nurse tried to smoke us into saying that the printing's wrong and she'd get another box. The doctor had to come out of his room to help this girl. They rummaged the cupboards and found one new set and I heard the doctor asking the nurse "How many more expired boxes?". WTF, seriously.
On the way home, I told Mode I didn't have confidence in the first doctor's diagnosis. So we went to another clinic and luckily, this second doctor knew what he was doing.
After listening intently to my narration of the past events, he said it's not your regular acne breakout, it's definitely an allergic reaction to the facial I had on Monday. Some people are allergic to certain ingredients, and the most common cause is herbal or plant extracts. C and D did mention that the products used on my face at the salon contained plant extracts.
I showed the second doctor the medication the first doctor prescribed and I was even more enraged when he told me that the antibiotics prescribed would cause gastrics and one of the creams would actually lead to very dry skin and redness. The first doctor really should not stay around in the market. Did you know that prescription drugs kill more people than illegal drugs??
I told the doctor to give me a new set of meds. He let me keep a gel and some tablets from the first doctor coz they would work.
He said this skin allergy should not cause any scarring, but will leave me with hyper-pigmentation for at least a few months. He also advised that I go back to my skincare regime before the facial because the new products given by the salon might be contributing to the allergy.
Actually there're many factors that could have caused my current skin condition:
- The facial itself, like the face massage
- The products and equipment used during the facial
- Subsequent extractions that made my skin angrier
- Products applied to my skin during subsequent extractions that hindered the healing process
- Products given by the beauty salon - cleanser + toner
I have sensitive skin but never this awful. The second doctor tried to say it in a nice way.
Me: Is is very bad?
Doctor: This is.. um... not mild, at all
Me: Is this the worst you've seen?
Doctor: Yes. This is definitely one of the worst I've ever seen.
The worst feeling, other than wanting to cry whenever I see myself in the mirror, is when I wash my face and cannot find a single smooth spot. My skin texture feels like those corals I've touched at the Sentosa Underwater World.
The only difference is that they look so pretty and I look like I have an incurable disease.
Help me. ='(
I'm sorry if I scared you. I have goosebumps too. You can't imagine how difficult it was to look at these photos and not cry. I cry the most when I'm washing my face.
My self-confidence has plummeted to rock bottom. I cannot remember the last time I was so depressed over an external condition. Mr Mode consoled me by saying that it's a good thing it's only temporary and it's not like I contracted a terminal disease. I guess I could thank the heavens that I'm lucky to be alive, but can my life ever go back to normal? I don't know. It's a great fall to take for a person who is image-conscious and with an online personality.
Did I also tell you that it's FUCKING ITCHY AND PAINFUL??
Close friends have urged me to make a police report and I could sue the beauty for negligence, damages and loss of income. This ordeal has caused me to be unable to take photos of myself for an advertorial and if I am unable to produce the post by next Tuesday, it’s highly likely that I might get dropped by the client. For the time being, I don’t think any company would want to have me endorse their products.
Also, as I’m one of the Top 10 finalist in the Singapore Blog Awards for the Best Beauty Blog category, being unable to publish posts with my face will put me at a great disadvantage. I have to do pictorials, how could I do that without showing my face at all? This Saturday is the briefing for Best Beauty Blog category, where if attendance is not guaranteed, immediate elimination is for certain.
I spoke to Janet, a member of the organizing team, about my skin condition and she said they’ll do away with the video recording of my introduction and will just take a shot of the room with me inside. But I’ll most probably in a mask and thick-framed glasses to hide as much of these barnacles on my skin as possible so I really don’t know how I’ll look ‘normal’ at all.
I will also have to give my girl friend’s wedding on Saturday a miss. Was so looking forward to it. FML.
Tyra Banks taught us that it’s possible to smile with the eyes. Yesterday I tried to smile with my eyes at Mr Mode, but when I was smiling my widest with stars in my eyes, he still couldn’t tell at all. My mask covers all the way to right under my eyes. On Sunday, if you do come down to the Bloggers Bazaar at Zouk and see me with my mask on, please don’t ask me for the name of the salon. I would appreciate if you could just say hi and buy cosmetics from me. BAHAHAHA! So I’m really smiling at you if you see me, but you just can’t tell.
Even if my skin gets better over time, which I believe it will, I will have to live with scarring and pigmentation for a period of time. The doctor said at least for a few months. Who is going to pay for all my treatments?? Tell me!
I have to film for Orchard Scotts Dental, I cannot attend events with this face – heck, I can’t even leave my house with this face, I can’t attend my beloved dance classes, Jay Chou concert is on 8 June, my wedding shoot in Taiwan is in February 2014.
However, I really cannot bring myself to think about police reports and court cases now. All I want to do is heal.
If you know of any reputable skin clinics, dermatologists who are good at treating skin allergies, please drop me an email (email@example.com). Even if you don’t know of anyone suitable, write to me on Facebook, tweet me, leave me a message on Instagram. Your love and kind words will definitely help me pull through this difficult time, and probably make me feel less disgusted by how grotesque I look now.
I used to literally have goosebumps when I see people with a skin condition. I’d think to myself ‘Why doesn’t she see a skin doctor?’, ‘Why would anyone leave the house like that?’. Or even on a more superficial level ‘How could people leave the house without makeup?’. To me, making up is a form of respect, for the event, for the host, for the people around me.
This ordeal has shed light to the fact that actually, there could be plenty of reasons why people look… well, different. Most of the time, they didn’t choose to look like that, they were just born this way. This person has probably seen more skin doctors in her life than I’ve seen a GP for a cold; that person probably has gone through years of depression due to low self-confidence from bad skin but has emerged stronger and immune to the stares of people; the other person probably has skin so sensitive she breaks out from the sheerest of makeup.
There are reasons why people are like that. I have learnt not to judge people by the result of their actions. I will learn to see more of what’s inside a person - a good nature, a pure heart, a fighter.
As a beauty blogger, everyone expects you to put your best face forward. This is an undeniable expectation, totally acceptable, despite it being extremely superficial. I don’t know how my skin will eventually turn out, I could be scarred for life, I could heal over time (after plenty of cash spent). Nobody knows. If I'm scarred, people will judge me the same way we all judge people with bad skin. I’ll just have to live with it.
Remember me this way:
I know it's difficult to relate to a condition so severe, but have you ever had a skin allergy or reaction this bad? Or worse? Even remotely similar will do to help in knowing that I have a circle of support. Even if you've never experienced this (I hope you've NEVER and NEVER WILL!), please write to me - in the comments section below, on Bun Bun Makeup Tips facebook page, on Instagram (@bunbunmakeuptips), or by email. Anything goes. I'm at my lowest point now. Feeling very vulnerable, self-conscious, zero self-confidence. I need all the support and love to pull me back up.
Thank you for reading thus far. Putting all these down in words has been cathartic.
Traumatic Facial Experience Series:
Post 1: My Horrific Post-Facial Experience. You Need To Read This.
Post 2: Jipaban Blogger Bazaar Party This Sunday! + Quick Update On Skin Condition
Post 3: More Than A Pretty Face – Update On My Skin Condition #2
Post 4: You Know, I’m Still A Beauty Blogger
Post 5: A Day At The Beach With A Special Someone
Hello, I hope you are well now and healed!!!
I had this problem too... I have it every summer the doctors just made it worse and worse ... on last summer even worse it was also on my chest and all my back!! And Even more worse I had my engagement on next week and I was so broke down , they’re so painful and I felt every word that you wrote... because of my bad experience I didn’t check a doctor just tried natural remedies (baking soda with lemon, vinegar, olive oil and coffee) sirencly everything I saw on internet and they work so good. For my good luck they wasn’t on me for my engagement day, can’t be more thankful at God ... but I still have so many pimples and I really lost my hope that I’ll bre cured on my life !!
So sorry you experienced this. I had a similar reaction to a tinted spf from heliocare. When I spoke to the company they said nobody else had reacted in the same way as me and maybe I should try their mineral range....no way i will use their products again. Luckily i saw a very understanding pharmacist who prescribed some cream with a mild salicylic acid and luckily it was gone in 2 days with no pigmentation left behind. I've since learned I can only use physical spf and not chemical.
I went to the hospital because my face looked similar. They diagnosed me with staph infection and gave me antibiotics.
Hi, I'm 33 and it was happening to me last 2 month all of sudden and becoming more often. Happened once, than 14 day nothing, then again. Then interval got shorter and it was 4 days acne and 3 days clean skin. I had only forehead and chin affected, also white bumbs, very itchy. I figured out it is because I started using newly Ziaja goat's milk+toner, which has following ingrediences:
Aqua (Water), Paraffinum Liquidum (Mineral Oil), Glycerin, Ceteareth-12, Cetyl Alcohol, Propylene Glycol, Panthenol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Lactobacillus/Milk Solids/Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil Ferment, Cyclodextrin, Goat Milk Extract, Dimethicone, Carbomer, DMDM Hydantoin, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Parfum (Fragrance), Linalool, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Citronellol, Hexyl Cinnamal, Geraniol, Eugenol, Benzyl Salicylate, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Sodium Hydroxide.
I stopped using it and I'm "clean" since. Hope it will help somebody.
Poor girl, that looks so sore. Has it healed yet?
Hi, my face looks very similar to yours after trying a new face wash. Could anyone tell me how long it took for the little white heads to go away? And then how long for the texture to go back to normal? I'd really appreciate it
I'm so sorry this happened to you! I had a facial a few weeks ago. I have the type of skin that tends toward redness in the cheeks. I have only had one other facial in my life, which left me with scaring around my nose for ages, (from broken blood vessels). They used something they insisted was gentle but my face got very read. I still have a patch of redness three weeks later. It's not severe but I don't think it's going to go away without laser treatment or something and that makes me really mad. Maybe it will with time. I am an outdoorsy person and refuse to stay out of the sun! This one size fits all approach is so wrong. I told them I was sensitive and they shrugged it away, as they did your obvious allergic reaction.
Reading the blog while dealing with the same exact thing. I don't know what caused it and I don't know the solution either.
This happened to me when I got a cheap facial in Thailand. I got deep cystic acne and I never had acne in my life. Took months to go away and left me with scars. I think it as due to poor hygiene practices during the facial.
This happened to me after too much sun exposure following a facial. The chemicals used in the facials (even if theyre botanical) can make your face extremely sensitive to UV rays and my face pretty much looked EXACTLY like yours. I was told to stay out of the sun -- which I do anyway. What I wasn't told was that even mild sun exposure (like standing outside talking for 5 - 10 minutes) can do this. Lesson learned. :/ it will clear up, I promise.
I've had this from an eye cream, normally it heals pretty well but you really should not have the blisters extracted.
Omg this happened to me. I used to have clear skin. Never had a pimple in my life. Im only 13. My skin always was the best. Always. It always felt smooth like a baby bum. And then i used a face mask. For no reason but to have fun. But then... i woke up and my face was just like yours. Its horrible. I keep telling myself it will go away. Please keep updating on your story i wanna know if there is any hope to get rid of it before school. My face doesnt have discolouration because i have dark skin but there are so many pimple things. I hate things that come without planning. I just want to wake up and realise this is all a nightmare. Im going to a water park tomorrow. First time in public with my new face.
I haven't read the whole post but I keep getting something like this happening to me - it's just started going off on one again for the third time. -_- We're clearly allergic to something but I haven't a clue what!
I know this post is super old but I can tell you from seeing the third day that more products and extracting active acne is a NO NO. When it comes to minority skin, specifically asian.Your skin is super sensitive and I would recommend if you do decide to get a facial again that you get a very light treatment quarterly. I hope things have gotten alot better now.
This is what happens to me if I come in contact with propylene glycol, polyethylene glycol,or other variants of synthetic glycols. And they are in just about everything. Even some foods. It takes a month to recover, and yes the pain and itch are very real. You have all my sympathy. The only thing that has taken the pain down a notch is pure aloe vera gel. If you can, get a plant and mash it directly from the leaves.
Happened to me as well, and Propylene Glycol was in cream I identified as a cause. Thank you for your post, I will be carefull about this ingredience.
hi, unfortunately I also had this condition too, it started on Wednesday after I used a cream product (never mind the brand) then the next day I felt that my face seems to be rough, i thought it won't get worse but the day after (Thursday) it became worst.. I wasnt able to had my check up today because the dermatologist is not available. I will have the check up tom, I hope it will be cured. Any suggestions please?
Hi Bun, Same thing happend to me yesterday.. its due to facial I did 3 days back.. Can you tell me how much time it took to get it cure fully !! Wen u got ur normal skin back.. am very much worried.. Thanks a lot for sharing..
I tried foderma serum when I was bothered by itching and swelling on face, neck, and eyelids caused by contact dermatitis from sawdust. It was very soothing. Then I started applying it to some scaly skin on my elbows and cracks on my thumbs, which have been that way for years. Not a complete cure yet, but after three weeks those symptoms are almost gone. Happy!
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Thanks for sharing this and I'm SOOO, SOO, SOOO sorry this happened to you! 🙁 Really hope your skin gets better soon and really want to know which clinic this is so I can avoid it!!!
This happened to me once! It was due to a Neutrogena product. It was far too strong for my skin. I hope the doctor gave you antihistamines and steroids. If that happens again, make sure you get at least antihistamines. It will stop the reaction from spreading. I'm so sorry this happen to you 🙁
What did the second doctor say it was and what did he give you?
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Going through the same ordeal at this very moment, after stupidly trying a cheap argan face oil discounted at a dollarstore!!! There's probably a reason it ended up on them shelves! Ugh. I've had this before too, my face is ultra sensitive and I'm prone to weird allergies. I drink TONS of water when it happens and take some oil of oregano capsules, it's a natural antibiotic. I keep my face as clean as possible, no make up obviously, and smear some over the counter antibiotic hydrating cream over the affected areas. Otherwise I stay home and feel like crap ... 🙁
Thanks for sharing your experience with us.Helpful content 🙂
I have the same skin reaction like yours. and i dont know what to do right now. i didnt do facial before but i use herbal product for two days and now theres a white dots like what happened to you. Hope you can help me about this. Thanks and more power!
Please help me 🙁
I have the same skin reaction like yours. and i dont know what to do right now. i didnt do facial before but i use herbal product for two days and now theres a white dots like what happened to you. Hope you can help me about this. Thanks and more power!
I found something of interest at YouTube.
You will hear about what aspirin masks do for your cystic acnes in the videos below.
You might try first the weakest concentration of aspirin in your mask, just to see how your skin reacts. If I were you, I'd try olive oil mixed with grounded aspirin. Make sure you're using non-coated aspirin.
Video: get rid of cystic acnes naturally.
(Read her statements beneath video.)
Video: soft skin with an aspirin mask.
(It might be wise to cut out honey in case you might have allergy to honey. Use olive oil instead of honey.)
How to make aspirin mask.
(Again, you might have to cut out honey)
Look up YouTube as to what you can do olive oil and apple cider vinegar for your skin problems.
If you have eczema and psoriasis, I recommend Betnovate. It is one of the BEST. Apply that once or twice a day and apply E45 cream at regular intervals.
Take food supplements of multivitamins and multiminerals all inside each capsule. Make sure they include zinc. Up to 11 - 15mg zinc is desired. Zinc is brilliant for acnes.
Use Neutrogena Rapid Clear Acne Defense Face Lotion or salycylic acid products. But not over 2.0 salycylic acid. This will help clear it all up and close pores i believe try it! Im like 100% to 99.99% sure it will help and work but it might take time not sure, like prolly 2 or 3 months because you have a lot of bumps but again try it!+
This was so superficial and shallow. Your so full of yourself that you can't function without makeup. get over yourself. The damage isn't permanent so that's a blessing. You are a complete dumb ass to even go back to that same salon twice, so shame on you. I am not even surprised.
Take 200 mg of zinc. Zinc heal the skin i had acne. I know what youre suffereing from may. Ot be acne but my skin cleareed in a month. Zinc is the skins best friend . Buy zinc picolionate ( not sure if spelt right. Make sure you buy tht kind. Some zincs dont absorb as well into tht body but this kind does. Be patient. You need to give it a month to work. Im very sorry this is happening to you YOU ARE BEAUTIUL keep going. This will passs.
Good stuff, that zinc. It is a great antioxidant against acnes. I always ensure my multivitamins and multiminerals in a bottle includes zinc.
I have very sensitive skin and often break out if I use foundation, lotions or even use laundry detergents with scent and dyes. I've learned that benadryl is my friend and to stay away from perfumes and dyes as much as I can. I am fortunate that I have good skin (probably because I don't wear a lot of make up - because I can't). I found that when I was in my teens and I tried anti breakout or acne treatments, they often made things worse. I was told by a dr that it is because they can strip too much of your natural oils and skin protectants which cause a nasty cyle of overproduction of said oils. Honestly, witch hazel and simple brand make up remover cloths/facial cleansing cloths seem to be the best combination for me. I hope your skin clears up and that there is no scarring. Another thing to watch out for at salons is that they don't always clean their tools well before using them or have contamination in their lotions,etc. You may want to consider bringing your own lotions the next time you go, something that you know won't upset your skin.
I once had a reaction that looked exactly like what you had. Mine was due to a topical tea tree oil allergy. Once I realized what was causing it, I obviously stopped using tea tree oil but a real help was to stop using EVERYTHING temporarily. Anything was making my skin worse at that point. Fortunately for me, I only put plain warm water on my face about 5-6 times a day (sometimes by just keeping a warm washcloth on my face for a few minutes) and used an extremely thin layer of Vaseline afterwards to keep the moisture in. VERY thin layer, as in your hands have practically no Vaseline on them and then you lightly dab you face with your hands. These little pus dots were about 80% gone in 3 days. So, if anyone has something that looks like this, it's an allergic reaction. Try to refrain from irritating it more by trying different remedies. It's difficult to leave it alone, but that is your best bet! I thought it was going to take months for me to look better and, like I said, it only took days. Hope this information helps.
PS: A dermatologist wanted to give me antibiotics and steroids and I didn't take them, it was completely unnecessary.
Hi Elaine. Hi Elaine! I think I'm on your same boat right now. I've got these things on my cheeks and chin and I'm really worried it will spread or get worse. I have no idea where it came from... maybe an allergic reaction to something on a pillow? I'm not sure. I'm following your suggestion and hoping for the best... any more tips?