That's me! I edited the shot to make it less risqué, but it got a little blurry.
As is all too often the case, my skin freaked out on me in a big way. I sampled a cult-favorite toner that did not agree with me at ALL. To be fair, this product gets rave reviews from the vast majority of reviewers and has even been called the "best toner ever." I love that its a vegan drugstore line, making ethical choices more accessible, but I'm going to have to disagree. I am not a fan because the pH was off for me and I had a serious reaction all over my face and neck that lasted for a full week before noticeable healing started to take place. (If this happens to you, go to the doctor! It was the kind of reaction where if you go to a doctor, they'll give you an actual shot in the butt!)
The Culprit: Pixi Glow Tonic ($15)
It contains 5% Glycolic acid as well as rockstar ingredients like Aloe Vera, Ginseng, Witch Hazel... and Urea (...which is incidentally also found in urine, just FYI). I patch tested the product, but not for long enough, before deciding to give it a try, swiping the sensitive skin-friendly blend all over my face and neck after just a couple days of sampling.
HUGE mistake. The very next day, I woke up with what looked like tiny red hives all over my face and neck. It felt like an allergic reaction; I even had weird patchy skin all over my legs and back. You could see the line of bumps across my neck to where I had stopped applying the product in a straight line across. It was the second worst reaction I have ever had in my entire life. (The first was post PDT and IPL and you just cannot top that in terms of gruesomeness.)
That day, I was supposed to be going to an event hosted by Kerstin Florian for Global Wellness Day, which was a yoga class at one of the most beautiful hotels in Laguna Beach, The Montage. Definitely had to cancel that — it was the type of skin reaction that is not appropriate for interpersonal interactions.
For the next week, my skin seemed to slightly reduce in redness and very gradually reduce in inflammation, but the texture of my skin was obliterated. For a full 6 days, my skin felt like sandpaper — not fine grain, the rough kind. I looked like Deadpool underneath his mask. My skin was not smooth; even from a distance it looked thick, shiny, uneven, and kind of like the surface of the moon.
My face was also the type of rough that didn't seem to absorb a thing — or even resemble skin! It was thick, dead, and I could tell it would eventually peel... but the waiting game kept me solidly out of commission, turning only to my most-trusted skincare products for when my skin needs Gwyneth Paltrow-level pampering, LOLI Beauty. (Why? It's food-grade, organic, raw, toxic chemical-free skin food that has gotten me out of a bind more than a time or two. The founder, Tina Hedges, is a goddess.)
This hotness is ALSO a brilliant esthetician + senior facialist at the JV Salon in WeHo.
The Skin angel
Thankfully, I talked to Sora from the Joanna Vargas Spa at the Sunset Towers Hotel in West Hollywood, CA. She has the type of It-girl style that makes her a natural trend-setter. She also gave me the most amazing microcurrent facial of my life back when Joanna Vargas first launched her Supernova retinol serum. (Microcurrent facials are the shit — you absolutely must try.)
I am obsessed with her — now more than ever. She recommend that I come in for back-to-back sessions in Joanna's patented Infrared LED Light Therapy bed ($150 per 20-minute session, $300 for a back-to-back session).
These types of treatments look just like tanning beds, but instead of shining damaging UV-light, youre getting heaping doses of red and infrared lights. This frequency does not damage the skin or stimulate melanocytes; conversely, it super-charges the skin's ability to heal itself by stimulating collagen production, circulation, and cellular turnover in the skin.
These light beds have been used for muscle regeneration and wound healing by the Navy SEALS, NASA scientists, and physicians for years; Joanna is the one who capitalized on their amazing anti-aging potential for the skin. Her patented LED-light beds are a recommended part of her celebrity-approved skincare treatment plans, and as a way to reverse some the sun damage and aging to my skin — even reversing fine lines and wrinkles — I was dying to try it out anyway. According to her blog, the best way to see major results is to commit to 8-12 sessions. After my back-to-back miracle session, I bought a package of 9, so I'll let you know how it goes after a full course of treatment.
The S.O.S. Regimen
Up until that point, I had been applying the only line of products I trust to touch my face when its at its most vulnerable: LOLI Beauty. I was using a ton of the Date Nut Brulee ($68) and mixing it with several drops of the anti-inflammatory Turmeric Root Mix-In ($24), stirring up my own little "Skin S.O.S. Salve." For six days, these products and my peppermint Kari Gran Naked Lip Whip ($20) were the only things allowed to touch my face — even SPF was off limits due to the damaged state of my skin. The scary thing was, my face felt so rough; as if it had been burnt to a crisp.
The texture looked visibly thick, bumpy, and what I liked to compare to Deadpool. It was seriously really, really bad. Looking back, I have had allergic reactions in the past and had to get shots to help them go down — I probably should have reached out to a dermatologist.
But the crazy part is that after one session in the LED bed, my skin's healing process really did rapidly speed up. The day before going to the session, my skin had begun to sting at times — getting the feeling it gets before starting to peel. The night after the session, my lips had already begun peeling, and I started applying the Aloe Blueberry Jelly ($38) to give my face some much-needed, cooling hydration. Once the dead, rough skin started to peel, the precious hydrators could get in. Aloe is even more hydrating than water, and the blueberries provided cell-reparative antioxidants.
Here is the best part: Most of your skin's cellular healing takes place while you're asleep! I learned this from Joanna Vargas herself. I am certain that this is why I spent the past weekend having a lavish sleep-a-thon — I'm talking, accidental naps daily, and such deep sleep that I had some crazy dreams. I also used a Sleep Silk Pillowcase ($78) to be extra gentle on my skin, and saged my apartment — using a too-pretty-to-burn sage Crafty Cake Smudge Bouquet ($14) — because my normally stellar luck seemed to be going awry. (My background as a clinician legitimately has me obsessed with the ultra-healing state of deep relaxation, so I get excited about things like accidental naps and super deep sleep states. Honestly, though, channel deep relaxation as often as you can — your body and soul will benefit.)
Immediately after getting out of the bed — 20 minutes under the LED lights and 20 minutes under the infrared lights — my skin appeared less red, but still mangled. By the next morning, the texture of my skin had visibly improved. I began alternating between massive amounts of the aloe jelly and LOLI Plum Elixir ($78); which, prior to this, I had only used on my lips. Two mornings after that, my face was back to normal. I have the tiniest bits of peeling in spots like the edges of where the irritation had been on my neck, the edges of my lips, underneath my chin, and along my jaw line.
Today, even the last bits of dryness around my eyes has resolved. This is magic!
LOLI + LED Is My Go-To for Skin S.O.S.
When your skin (and immune system) is prone to little freakouts from time to time, having a trusted line or product that you know wont do more damage than help is key. That is what LOLI is to me.
For over a week now, the only products to touch the skin on my face have been 100% natural, organic, raw, and food-grade; my skin has honestly been eating healthier than I have. Combined with the scientifically-backed reparative and expedited wound healing benefits of the collagen stimulating LED beds, my skin was treated to some of the very best science-backed and natural remedies that the beauty industry has to offer. Thank god for estheticians like Sora, who is a leader in her field and a serious skincare angel, who guided me directly to what my skin needed to heal.
Three days! 100% back to normal! Its like the healing got faster each day — definitely after each sleep, since skin repairs itself while youre asleep.
I am so obsessed with this innovative anti-aging treatment. Especially during the summer, I want to get as much protection into my regimen as possible, while also testing out whether its wrinkle-reducing, elasticity-promoting benefits are as amazing as they say. (I do not doubt that they are!)
I used to tan and even used to work in a tanning salon — Im definitely not proud of it! But reversing some of the photo-damage, the signs of aging, and giving my skin a powerful boost of healing superpowers, combined with natures most potent ingredients, gave my skin the quickest turnaround ever. Much quicker than I ever thought possible! Highly, highly recommend.
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