Julia Matthews, one half of health and wellness sister duo Julia & Libby, gives us the lowdown on her skin journey and how she went from hiding her face under makeup, to feeling confident to go makeup-free.
Lets talk about skin! Our skin is our largest organ and is composed of 2 main layers – the epidermis (outer) and dermis (inner). It prevents germs from entering the body and damaging our internal organs and plays a role in maintaining the immune system. It manufactures Vitamin D, can show early warning signs of disease, removes toxins and waste from the body, plus a whole list of other amazing things. So while our skin can do a lot for us, we also need to give it a bit of love. Not just sometimes, everyday.
When I was younger I never wore sunscreen on my face, unless of course my Mum applied it on me herself (thanks Mum!). Wearing sunscreen was not something I thought was important, even though it was something I would always hear needed to be done. In summer my freckles would appear and when winter came around they would fade. I loved having a golden glow on my face… “pffft who needs sunscreen,” I thought.
It was not until I got a boyfriend and would wake up in the morning before he did to apply makeup so that he was not able to see my face make-up free that I thought anything of it. At first, I didn’t think it was anything strange… didn’t everyone do this? Maybe, maybe not, but the more I think about it now, the crazier it sounds. I was not comfortable enough with my face to let my boyfriend see me without makeup on.
My skin tone was uneven, some parts of my face were completely different shades and I had lots of pigmentation. Those little brown spots – not noticeable from far away, but they were there – they bothered me. Uh oh: My years of going sunscreen-free, not wearing hats or covering up at the beach had finally caught up on me. I thought it was something that I just had to live with. I would wake up each morning look at my skin in the mirror and would not like what I saw. When I would tell people about how I felt, I was always met with the response: “Your skin is fine – just cover up what you don’t like with make up”. Yes, I could even up my skin tone with makeup but that is the point of this – I didn’t want to.
I really dislike wearing foundation. I want to leave the gym or go to the supermarket and not feel the need to apply even a touch of makeup. Does that make me superficial? Vain? Too worried about what other people think? No! My goal is to have even skin tone, to get my base right and not have to wear as many cosmetics. Most of us have insecurities – it could be not only something physical but emotional as well, and there is nothing wrong with that. It is so easy for people to say be happy with the skin you are in – and, to an extent, yes we should be – but I’m also of the thinking that if there really is something you do not like about yourself, go and change it.
Late last year I read about a beauty editor at a magazine who had a procedure called photo rejuvenation to help clear her skin. Her concerns were exactly the same as mine and her before and after photos looked too good to be true. She was basically telling me that a laser could pulse through my skin surface and encourage the production of collagen while getting rid of pigmentation (and acne scars too!) No chemicals, no creams and no down time. GIVE ME THAT LASER!
I did a bit of research and found that Caci Clinic in New Zealand offered the treatments. I booked myself in, went for a consultation and was mortified at what I saw: My skin was analysed under UV light and it showed significant sun damage. Guilt set in… I should have listened to my Mum and wore sunscreen! Not to worry, the nurse said, we can have your skin clear after a few treatments. I was so excited and the next week went in for my first treatment.
So to recap, my main skin concerns pre-photo rejuvenation were that my skin tone is very uneven and looks patchy up close. It is pigmented which I had noticed was getting worse as the years progressed on. I am 30 in a month and would like to keep looking my age as I get older. So it’s time to bring in the big guns. Lotions and potions on their own were not going to sort my skin issues!
What made me decide to start on a skin correcting journey?
I would love to be able to be skin confident and not have to worry about wearing so much makeup to hide the things that I do not like. To have even skin tone would mean I can use less cosmetics on my face and for me that is important.
How did I find the treatment, photo rejuvenation?
I was not quite sure what to expect, however I did know that the machine used for the treatment is the same machine used when you have hair removal, which I have had before. During the treatment the nurse said anytime I felt uncomfortable to let her know and she could give me a little rest which was reassuring. Some parts of the face did sting a little bit but the treatment is over so quickly I did not find it an issue. I did lots of deep breathing and squeezing of the stress ball.
What results have I noticed, after my treatments?
I have had two treatments and after the first I noticed a huge difference straight away – especially with pigmentation, which was my main concern. I had my second treatment in May and my skin is a lot softer since then and very smooth which is not something I was expecting. I am going to have my third treatment in June and from there assess if I will require any more. Since my second treatment I started on Murad products as the nurse said that aftercare is important, so I have been keeping up with sunscreen application during the day and using products with Vitamin C.
So why am I telling you this?
I know that others have acne scarring, pigmentation and uneven skin tone. It can affect your confidence and sometimes the only way you can feel okay about yourself is with a full face of makeup. I hope that there are younger girls reading this who can take something from it and start wearing sunscreen on their face every.single.day so that they don’t end up like me.
Drink lots of water, get adequate sleep, eat lots of fruit and vegetables, minimise sugary foods. And if you want clear skin go and have a consultation at Caci so that you too can have skin confidence!
* This article was brought to you by Caci. To find out whether photo rejuvenation is the right treatment to address your skin concerns, take the Caci Skin Quiz.