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My Acne Story (With Before/After Photos), And Why I Get Chemical Peels

This is one of those blog posts that’s suuuuuuper uncomfortable to write.. I’m posting an incredibly unflattering picture of me from right when I moved to Austin, talking about the emotional side of dealing with acne, and then the single most important thing I did to finally (FINALLY!) clear my skin.

This is a bit more vulnerable than usual, but I think a lot of you will be able to relate: my struggle with acne. It’s been about 3 years now since I’ve been clear, but before that I had been battling cystic acne on and off for about a decade. Finding a good facial spa is an important step to take in your 20s, and I’ve found on in Austin that I love.

I’ve been going to Face to Face Spa (Westlake location) to get treatments. I’ve been getting chemical peels for years, but just recently had my first facial (not a peel, but just a lovely 60-min of exfoliating, massaging, and extracting.) It was so relaxing! I’ll talk about the facial a little at the end of this post, but I’ll go ahead and say that it definitely gets my stamp of approval.

But first off, here’s a little background on my history with acne:

My Acne Timeline

2003: I’m 13 and start noticing my first breakouts. Normal, right? I’m a 13-year-old girl, so and everyone else is breaking out, too.

2006: My skin is still a mess. My mom took me to a dermatologist who put me on antibiotics and prescription-strength topical cream to try to dry out the acne. It worked…ish. Any time I went off the antibiotics, my skin would flair up again. (Also tried: Clinique skin care line, Proactive, just about every home-care remedy under the sun, and almost everything in the drug store aisle at CVS.) I was on antibiotics on and off for about 6 years….yikes!

2008-12: I went to college in Chicago, where I was a swimmer. The combination of harsh chlorine chemicals, cold, dry air, and a lack of proper care on my part led to big, painful acne cysts. Throughout all of college I was in a constant state of low self-esteem because my face was always red, swollen, and covered in acne.

My neck/jawline were my worst breakout spots, so I was careful to always face the camera front-on…my Facebook page looked pretty normal, but anyone who was near me in real life could see that my skin was a disaster. I was constantly worried about it.

2013: My skin hits an all-time low. I’m starting grad school AND a new job, moving, super stressed out, and my acne is angrier and more enflamed than ever. Someone (a stranger, actually, which was embarrassing at the time, but now I couldn’t be more grateful) recommended I start doing chemical peels and extractions. I had never so much as gone to an esthetician, so I was a little nervous about my first chemical peel. (Don’t you think the name should be changed? They sound scary, but they’re not!) A mere four months later, this is what happened to my skin:

July 2013 and December 2013

Why Get Chemical Peels?

First, in case you don’t know what it is, a chemical peel solution that’s applied to your skin that helps exfoliate and shed old skin in order to reveal newer, brighter skin. If you struggle with acne, this is an important step because your skin is constantly clogged with the old skin, making it impossible for acne to clear up.

If you’ve never had a peel, don’t be alarmed by the name. There are varying “levels” of peels, and your esthetician at Face to Face Spa will help you find a good level that won’t hurt your skin. (Like I said…I hate that they’re called chemical peels, because they sound scarier than they are!)

Chemical peels are typically a little pricey, but as you can see above, they are TOTALLY WORTH IT. I will be getting them for the rest of my life! And Face to Face Spa really does an excellent job keeping prices as low as possible. Seriously…I’ve gotten chemical peels in a few different places around Austin, and I’ve never seen prices as low as theirs!

So, yesterday I did something kind of fun… Instead of getting my normal chemical peel, I kicked off my birthday weekend early and treated myself to an hour-long Premium Facial at Face to Face Spa in Westlake. Friends… was absolutely lovely. After years of going to medi spas to get chemical peels (which are important, but not necessarily “fun”), I had an hour of upper-body massage, cleansing, exfoliating, extraction (which is the best part because it leaves my skin so clean!), and moisturizing, I left with rested, glowing skin. I can’t wait to have this treatment done again sometime.

The Premium Facial would be a fun thing to do when you’re pampering yourself before a big life event, like a wedding or graduation. You’ll leave the salon glowing!

I picked up this SkinCeuticals vitamin C serum on my way out. I’m still in my 20s, but I’m all about investing in my skin now so it looks good later, which is what this serum is supposed to help with. I’ve only been using it for a couple days, so I can’t give an honest opinion about it just yet.. But if you’re curious about investing in some good preventative products for your skin, ask me in a few weeks I’ll give you my opinion about this one.


Interested in visiting a Face to Face Spa location? Visit for locations and menu.

This post is sponsored by Face to Face Spa, but all opinions are certainly my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support So Much Life Blog!

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