Sunday 27 April 2014

Skin Health Spa Experience

On a sunny Wednesday afternoon last week, I was kindly invited to Manchester to receive a treatment of my choice at the Skin Health Spa. Tucked away on a quiet side street of St James Square in the city centre of Manchester you will find the beautiful and welcoming Skin Health Spa; one of 5 locations in the UK with other clinics in Birmingham, Nantwich and 2 in London. They specialise in advanced skin care and offer treatments that range from hair removal, acne, wrinkles, unwanted pigmentation and more. See a full treatment list here.

Before we crack on with talking about the day, 
I should briefly introduce you to the bane of my life.. my skin:

My Skin
I mention it on Twitter, and it's been touched upon on Instagram, but my real skin journey has never been divulged on my blog ..and I can't see that happening any time soon, as it's still a very raw and sensitive subject for me. All you need to know is that my acne used to be very bad, and now it's not so bad. See this picture for reference (2012 v 2013). My skin concerns are what hold me back more than anything, even with something as simple as blogging because I hate to take pictures of my face (..unless there's at least 10 filters on it ;) #selfie). 

Now, at age 21 and after years of trips to my GP and the dermatologist, my acne hasn't 'gone' - it is still there - but it's a lot less active and less aggravated as I'm currently taking long term antibiotics to control it (Oxytetracycline). I still get occasional breakouts but they're now much more isolated and don't cover the entire surface of my skin.  

My main skin concern now is the scarring that remains. Quite a lot of it is redness and surface scars, but there's also deep set 'ice pick' scars across my cheeks too (unflattering picture here). This is why I focus on a lot of skincare, especially masks, that target radiance and renewal of the skin, to try and fade some of these scars and marks.  

The Spa
The Spa was very easy to find and I received a friendly and warm welcome, offered a comfortable seat, a drink and asked to fill out a couple of forms. I then had a thorough consultation with Sophie as we chatted a little bit about my skin history, what I use at the moment and what I'm aiming for from the treatment. 

Sophie explained that she had once been a sufferer of acne herself, and it was so nice and comforting to speak to somebody who had experienced the same skin troubles in the past. She had almost gone on Roaccutane, but found that the peels and treatments offered at Skin Health Spa helped her complexion far more than packs of pills from the doctors ever did. Anyone who's been a long term sufferer with acne is probably nodding thinking 'yep, my doctor can't seem to fix me', and that's because your GP probably knows naff all about dermatology, they just hand out the pills. I felt like Sophie really cared; even though she'd only just met me I felt so comforted and really reassured by her and that she just wanted to help me and give me the best results for my skin.

I was originally booked in to receive an Ultimate Facial - a 4-in-1 facial consisting of: Microdermabrasion, a balancing enzyme facial, a transderm treatment, and a relaxing facial massage. Read more about the Ultimate Facial here. After a chat it was decided that, especially with having a current active breakout, the Ultimate Facial was likely to not offer the best results for my skin at that time. That treatment is more for relaxation, and there could be a risk of unnecessarily spreading the breakout with the exfoliation, so we decided on an alternate treatment of a Micro Peel, a treatment aimed for at giving instantly visible results of a smoother and brighter skin surface, and helps to target mild scars and lines. 

My Treatment* - Micro Peel (Single Face Treatment £125)
Instead of the Ultimate Facial, I was recommended a Micropeel; a duo of a peel and microdermabrasion. They offer a range of peels for this double act, but I was given the Mangobright Peel: a combination of all three acids - salicylic, lactic and glycolic, to combat blemishes, pigmentation and resurface the skin. 

Micro Peel = Microdermabrasion + Skin Peel

The gentle mango extract peel was activated and left on my skin for 7 minutes; slightly less than the usual time because it was my first peel, but longer than a typical first time because my skin is used to glycolic products with having used AHAs on my skin before (Alpha H Liquid Gold, Clarins Gentle Exfoliator, REN Radiance Renewal).

There was no discomfort during the peel as it sat on my skin, just a slight tingle and a gentle warming sensation. After the peel came the medical microdermabrasion which pushes the peel deeper into the skin and also removes any dead skin cells to brighten, stimulate cell regeneration, improve blood flow, regulate excess oil production, reduce flaking and dry skin, and fade scars, pigmentation and age spots. Medical microdermabrasion is like a miracle procedure! 

Microdermabrasion - 'The skin is treated to a deep, mechanical exfoliation. Using a vacuum, the machine passes micro-fine crystals across the skin. As the crystals make contact layers of the stratum corneum are exfoliated, then vacuumed away with the dead skin cells. The combination of skin exfoliation and slight vacuum stimulates new healthy living cells and improved blood flow for better cell turn over'. 

I enjoyed the microdermabrasion so much. It only lasted about 10 minutes and it was so gentle and relaxing, it was just like my face was being attacked with a teeny tiny mini Hoover! Just really gentle suction on your skin is the only thing that you can feel, but knowing that crystals are gently exfoliating the skin surface and then it's all being sucked away is an amazing feeling. 

To finish, SPF 50 and B5 Hydrating serum were applied and I was advised not to wear make up for at least the next 18 hours, and that my skin might be more sensitised than usual. 

The Result
Although the results are instantaneous, it's not a quick and ultimate fix, because nothing ever is it :( You don't walk through the door with bad skin, walk out of the door an hour later with good skin and that's your life happily ever after (although I do really wish this was the case!!). Immediately after the treatment my skin appeared to be quite red and looked a little blotchy, but by the end of the day and especially in the next morning I was just staring at my complexion like 'wow!' and I was truly amazed. Nearly all of the redness had eased, my blemishes had shrunk to literally nothing, and post-blemish red marks has faded away dramatically. My skin was so much clearer, brighter and smoother. All that was remaining was the deep set, ice pick scars along with still lightly larger than average pores, and even they looked less noticeable. 

The results are supposed to be long lasting, but not permanent. What Skin Health Spa gave to me was the confidence that not all hope is lost with my skin, and the intense boost and kick start to really make some improvements by being persistent with home dermabrasions and lots of exfoliation.

Treatments are recommended in a course of 3 or 6. I'm going to continue to follow up with a routine of products at home (outlined below), but I'm aware the results won't be as drastic as what was acheived in that hour at Skin Health Spa. I'm definitely going to be booking back into Skin Health Spa for a course of peels; there's so many to choose from I'm not sure if I'd go for a Glycolic Peel, a Skin Brite Peel, or another Mango Bright Peel. I can also see myself potentially becoming addicted to the Microdermabrasion - I love the sucky sensation across the skin and I'm already booked into a small, local spa for another single treatment of this. 

Price list for treatments - link
They have so many treatments available, whether you have skin concerns or not, but there'll always be a treatment to relax you, stimulate dull skin, target wrinkles, pigmentation, acne, or scars. Skin Health Spa also frequently have offers on, such as all skin peels are buy one, get one free for April.

Special Offers Page - link

Aftercare and continuation..

..And here's what I've been using at home to keep up the good results:
They're all products that I've had lurking around in my cupboards, but I've pulled them out into action to maintain the effects of the skin peel. I am still been using the NSpa Hot Cloth Cleanser as a gentle morning cleanser but I've been more strict in the evenings: alternate nights using Elemis Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing Facial Wash* and twice a week using the Origins Modern Friction (Gentle Dermabrasion) or the Philosophy Microdelivery Peel (intense home dermabrasion) to work on shifting dead skin cells and encouraging skin cell renewal. The salicylic acid in the Philosophy Peel will help with any breakouts, and the lactic acid should help to fade pigmentation. 

Having an oily skin type, all I've ever feared is adding more oil to my skin and if there's any step I stick it's always been moisturiser. For damaged and scarred skin (actually, any skin) this is a big no no! Don't skip out on the moisturiser! It was recommended to me to find a 'dry oil' to moisturise, so I've been using the Balance Me Radiance Face Oil* which sinks in instantly and literally feels like there's nothing on the skin - just what I like, but I also need to find a really good serum too. Something to help repair the deeper layer of my skin as these troubles go beyond just the surface and top layer of my skin. 

To help with extra rejuvenation, I've also ordered another bottle of Alpha H Liquid Gold, a tub of Glam Glow, a home derma roller and I'm thinking about the Kiehls Midnight Recovery Concentrate too. 

Skincare overhaul! Any more recommendations for me?
Have you ever had a skin peel experience? 

A huge thanks to Skin Health Spa for the amazing treatment and changing the way I treat my skin. I'm now so glowing and happy; in less than two weeks my confidence levels have shot sky high all because of having better skin. 

Thanks for reading! 
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*My treatment was received c/o Skin Health Spa
**Products marked with * have been sent as separate PR samples
Check out my April Gold advertiser, Katrina, and her amazing blog:


  1. Fantastic post! The treatment sounds amazing, I'd love to try one some day! I am currently staring at your products with envy too, I've been wanting to try more Origins and Elemis for an age now but pay day never comes quick enough (or lasts long enough) to find my skin habit! I too have oily skin and I've found the Clarisonic has worked wonders, as well as Effaclar Due+ for oil control and breakout control!

    Sarah :)
    Saloca in Wonderland

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  2. Wow, it sounds like this was a real help! I remember seeing that 2012 and 2013 comparison photo on you Instagram and being just blown away. Hannah just remember even on your really bad skin days, you are still stunning! Good luck with the rest of your journey :) x

  3. Wonderful post :) you're still beautiful regardless of your skin but I completely understand what you mean. It's unfair to go through years of acne to be left with awful scarring! I was told that mine was never going to go away and if I could turn back the clocks, I most certainly would. But I suppose one good thing came out of my acne/scarring; blogging!

    I can't wait until I'm older and rich (we can all wish haha) and I can have lots of skin treatments to try and fade the scarring! This is one I will bookmark until then as it sounds fabulous :)


  4. Sounds like you had a brilliant time, what a lovely treat for your skin!

    Honestly though, from your pictures I'd never have noticed that you'd suffered such skin problems... You're still one beautiful girl! :)

    I'd love to go for a spa treatment, this place looks lovely!

    Laura - Laura's All Made Up ♥

    Bloglovin' | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

  5. Wonderful post :) you're still beautiful regardless of your skin but I completely understand what you mean. It's unfair to go through years of acne to be left with awful scarring! I was told that mine was never going to go away and if I could turn back the clocks, I most certainly would. But I suppose one good thing came out of my acne/scarring; blogging!

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