My Journey to Clear Skin: Part One

my journey to clear skin part 1

Hello, my name is Melissa and I suffer from adult acne.

Even just writing these words brings to the surface a variety of emotions: anger and frustration. Helplessness. Shame. I’m nearly 40 years old, and it has been literally two decades since my skin has been clear. Two. Decades. My struggle with acne is older than social media, the iPhone, and Napster. My acne has outlived Napster.


After years of fighting what has felt like a losing battle, trying the gamut of products available at drug stores, at cosmetics counters, through infomercials and local estheticians, diet changes and every major category of facial, I’d resigned myself to the spotted face I kept seeing in the mirror. In 20 years, nothing has cleared my skin – I figured I’d just spend the next decade or so covered in concealer, lamenting the combination of fine lines and pimples that made me hate my complexion.

Then, I had a facial at Soak Spa, which led to a conversation with acne expert, Melissa Stewart. One month later, my journey to truly clear skin started. Throughout the next three months, I’ll be sharing my first-hand experience with the holistic acne treatment program offered through Soak Spa. I hope you’ll join me for the duration of this series.

results of first week of acne treatment

Posting this collage is my way of showing that I trust the experts at Soak Spa and Face Reality Skincare.

First Session

I consider my consultation and first treatment as the starting point of my journey. I prepared for my first session by quitting all of the spot treatments I used to slather all over my face on a daily basis – no salicylic acid, no benzoyl peroxide, nothing for two weeks. In mid-June, I met with Melissa to discuss my skin and the products that would work best for me.

Side note: this aspect of the treatment process is, to me, the most valuable – the personalized regimen and follow-up care are designed for my skin.

Melissa and I discussed other products I use in my daily life – makeup, laundry detergent, supplements, etc. – as well as my diet and self-care routines. (We’ll talk more about those sneaky contributors to clogged pores in future posts.) Then it was time for my first treatment.

She did a quick test to see if I had a negative reaction to any of the Face Reality Skincare products she thought would work best with my skin. Once she determined my skin would tolerate the products well, she exfoliated, extracted, treated, and hydrated my skin using the Face Reality products, walking me through each step with detailed information about each product, when I would be using it, and what it was meant to do for my skin.

First 24 Hours

Since I hadn’t used any spot treatments for the two weeks prior to my session, my skin was detoxing in a huge way, which is actually good…but looked pretty bad. Basically, my entire face broke out. I looked like I was suffering from a bad case of the chicken pox. It was not fun.

The morning after my first treatment session, I could already tell a difference in my outbreaks. While the pimples hadn’t disappeared (this isn’t magic, folks – it does take time), they weren’t as red or painful as they’d been.

First Week

Throughout the first week, my acne slowly improved, although I was probably the only person who really noticed…most likely because I’m the only person who obsessively stares at the spots on my face two inches away from the mirror. I met with a makeup consultant who matched my skin tone to the correct Mineralogie makeup, and taught me the right way to apply the mineral powder foundation and concealer that is recommended by Face Reality experts. I kept drinking water, avoiding fast food, taking my supplements, and following my skincare regimen.

The three most difficult adjustments in that first week were:

Eating clean, balanced meals

Paying attention to the food I eat is not in my nature. I eat sporadically and poorly, in general; however, I’ve had to adjust to eating according to the recommendations of the acne treatment program. Not only is this helping my complexion, it’s helping my overall energy and health, so I’ve been trying to stick to it.

Taking supplements

I am also terrible about taking vitamins and other supplements. (As I write this, I’m noticing a pattern – I think I’m bad at self-care. This experience is definitely changing that!) For the program, the recommended supplements are zinc, fish oil, and probiotics. The first day, I took all three at once…and proceeded to vomit them all. Apparently, my system takes some time to adjust to new things. It took me a few days, but I was finally able to figure out a routine for taking these without getting sick to my stomach. Again, I think they’re making a difference, not only in my skin but in my energy levels. Sticking to it.

Not picking at my face

This is the worst for me. My anxiety tends to manifest physically through picking at myself, especially my face. Combined with my self-consciousness around my acne, this means my hands are constantly on my face – picking, covering, and applying concealer. But part of the program is to not pick at your face, and I am training myself to break this habit. Approximately 500 times a day, I tell myself to leave myself alone and sit on my hands. Literally. It’s helping, and teaching me to be kinder to myself.

Coming Soon: First Month Recap

Overall, my journey to clear skin is off to a good start. Has it been easy? Not at all. I’ve had to do work, retraining old habits, forcing myself to take care of myself, and being intentional about following the program. However, in just the first week I saw an improvement in my skin, which has been motivating. It’s worth it. I’m worth it.

See you in a couple weeks.