This post is Part 2 of this facial incident.
What's scarier than having a facial disfigurement is knowing that what I related as a personal experience on my blog and what I write henceforth can be used against me, to make what I have suffered and am still suffering - physically, mentally, emotionally - a mere passing phase, one not worth atoning for, simply because I am... well, a mere individual.
Time, income, opportunities have been lost. Future time, income, opportunities will continue to be affected.
How and with whom should I seek redress for all these? Will justice prevail?
DOES JUSTICE EXIST?
Or will I get crushed under all the legal jargon and can only beg for all these to be over because I don't know better and can be easily classified as an outlier, a one-off case?
When did blogging become so incriminatory? When did my every word weigh so much to be scrutinized and nitpicked? When did a plain narration of personal experience become associated with big words such as 'untrue allegation','untrue accusation', 'untrue statement', 'legal framework', 'limited liability', 'defamation'? They are all letters in the alphabet that make up words - words that make no sense to me.
From the hundreds of messages I receive each day from all of you (thank you, and trust me when I say I read every single one of them), 80% have asked me to seek some form of compensation or the-word-I-would-rather-not-use-but-have-to-because-there-is-no-other-word SUE.
I hope you will read to the end of this post so that you understand why I need your help. It's a long post, but I guarantee you will not be bored.
Let me now share with you how my skin is faring.
We saw both the first GP who sold expired creams and the second good GP on the same night, 30 May.
I was at my lowest on Day 5. A small percentage of the pustules were starting to dry out, but more were forming, and they were MERGING.
They were spreading to my neck too, and were incredibly itchy.
Annoyed Is Me.
HAHAHA!! Actually this expression wasn't intentional, I was just waiting for my camera to focus and unknowingly frowned. It says a lot about how I was feeling then though. 🙁
From all your messages, I realized that a GP might not be able to treat me as effectively and a skin doctor would be better in expediting the recovery.
I took medicine given by the second GP and went to bed.
Early in the morning, I went to Dr Joyce Lim's clinic. I believe my skin was seeing slight improvements even before visiting Dr Joyce though. I could see the redness subsiding and more pustules drying up. I'll tell you why in a while.
Gosh, I would normally not take pictures of my face at such an angle. HAHAHA! How unflattering! But taking nicely angled photos is really the last thing on my mind right now.
I believe it was a magical combination of proper medication, encouragement and love from everyone around me - physically and virtually - that helped in my recovery. Thanks for the e-hugs, everyone! =D
Even though my skin was far from its previous self, I could finally smile a little. I steered my sadness into optimism and tried to focus on things I still have and should be grateful for.
Like how my eye area isn't affected, even though the allergy went all the way into my brows and made them very itchy too.
Like how my purple streaks still look amazing.
Like how fortunate I am, not battling this struggle alone, that I have my mum, Mr Mode, friends and readers who have been feeding me with moral and emotional support, and helping in all ways possible.
Like how the rest of my body is still functioning well, so that I can walk, see, laugh, and shop for cute Hello Kitty masks.
At the Singapore Blog Awards workshop which was compulsory for all finalists to attend, I was kinda sad that I couldn't participate in all the photo-taking and chatting. When I wanted to drink water, I had to bring my bottle to the toilet, hide in the cubicle, and then comfortably take my mask off within the confinement of beige walls.
I had to pack lunch and eat in someone's car because there was no way I could shed my mask and eat in public. I could have thought of this inconvenience as pathetic and pitiful, but I chose to think of it as spending quality time with my beloved. That's how K-pop stars date, you know? 😂
In all honesty, even though my skin was showing some signs of improvement, I was embarrassed of how I looked and not ready to expose my ravaged skin. I was more confident with a mask on. When the wind blew, I had to press my bangs firmly against my forehead to make sure nobody saw the grotesqueness beneath.
In the following pictures you can see that my skin has improved a lot.
These bad angles >.<" LOL!
I mean, it still looks red and awful, but in comparison to Night 4 and Night 5, I think it has improved by leaps and bounds. Some old pustules had dried up and new ones stopped sprouting out like wild mushrooms.
With the growth of new pustules stumped, my skin presents another set of problems - redness and pigmentation. Dr Joyce said I have post-injury pigmentation. How are we going to tackle these? Which company would want THIS FACE to endorse their brand and products???? YOU TELL ME!!!
2020 updated skincare routine
Here are recent posts I wrote in 2020, about 7 years since the horrific facial incident. I don't think my skin will ever get back to its original state, with its skin barrier severely damaged by the facial place. I also have plenty of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation as a result of that incident, something that I'm still struggling with even after all these years.
My Choice of Derm
(Update 2020: I no longer see a derm nor go for facials. Instead, I have established my own skincare routine through years of trial and error.)
The reasons for choosing Dr Joyce from Dr Joyce Lim Skin & Laser Clinic was because
- She's one of the most highly recommended dermatologist by readers
- An appointment for the very next morning was fortunately secured
My skin was in such a bad state they gave me emergency priority.
Like the second GP, Dr Joyce said it's an allergic reaction. She mentioned that subsequent extractions worsened the situation.
Some of you have looked at the possibility of an inflammation from poorly sanitized instruments at the salon. Most of you are enraged how the facial salon could not see the obvious and continued extracting pus from my face thus aggravating the situation. Some of you are pharmacists, nurses, doctors, beauticians from other salons, but most of you are regular folks who, like me, would trust what the experts at the salons and leave your precious face in their hands.
Dr Joyce looked through the medicine given by the GP and said Prednisolone is actually steroid pills and that was what helped in the recovery. She looked at the cleanser and toner given by the facial salon and said I could probably continue using them (I started using them right after the facial) if I wanted. I said "I'd rather not risk it. Please give me something else", and she prescribed me her own clinic's cleanser. The Joyce Lim cleanser is very gentle on my angry skin and I was given Desonide Desowen Lotion to use after cleansing.
I have been asked what medicine I was prescribed. Not sure if this helps because everyone skin's case is different but here are the drugs I'm currently taking:
- Prednisolene - Dosage increased from 2 to 6 pills. This drug was also prescribed by the second GP, and it's the reason Dr Joyce said my skin improved a little by the next day.
Dr Joyce confidently said "If your skin does not improve in 2 days, either the medication is not suitable or the diagnosis is wrong". My skin saw vast improvements in 2 days. Is this woman amazing or what?
Highly Recommended Skin Clinics In Singapore
Here are some of the most highly recommended skin clinics/derms you guys left me in your messages. Just laying out these options so that if you ever need one, know that these doctors worked for many people out there.
- Dr Joyce Lim Skin & Laser Clinic
- Niks Maple Clinic
- Specialist Skin Clinic
- The DRx Clinic (Singapore)
- Loke Skin Clinic Pte Ltd
- Dr Chan Clinic Pte Ltd
Why My Skin Healed Faster Than Expected
1. No More Extractions
My skin was angry from being subjected to something it was allergic to, it told me in the form of small bumps and a few pustules. Yet, all it received was ferocious extractions and getting lathered with suitable products that probably made it worse. IT WAS RAGING MAD!! It went through not once, but twice of that painful extraction process at the facial place and with each extraction my skin was crying for me to stop.
'Please! Please stop! This is wrong, Juli! Something's wrong with your skin and you're not giving it the right treatment!', my skin protested.
Once I stopped going for further extractions, the condition became more under control. With proper medication, the condition improved.
2. I Found A Good Skin Doctor
Knowing that I was under the care of a top-notch skin doctor eased a lot of the anxiety I'd been having prior to the consultation. She knew her stuff and I admire her no-nonsense attitude towards improper skin treatments. And of course because her prescriptions work.
3. Positive Thinking
When it first happened, my world looked like this:
I was sinking. Almost getting swallowed by the dark, sticky, evil substances of depression. Not knowing how much worse it could become, worrying how it will affect my present and future. I don’t have to repeat what I felt then because you could probably feel all of that in my first post on this traumatic facial experience. Thank you for feeling for me, for your precious tears and earnest prayers.
However, after seeing the second GP, I told myself I will get better because I now had medicine to take and a gel to apply. Even though my skin was the WORST on the evening of seeing the GP because the medicine hadn't taken effect, I somehow decided that I shall be optimistic and believe I will get better.
I found strength in knowing that I was surrounded by the most supportive family and friends, and very concerned readers who took the time to write in, encourage me, cried for me, told me how my story broke their hearts, shared their stories with me, and found the best doctors in town for me. This thick layer of love prevented me from sinking into depression. Suddenly, my mind just didn’t even bother feeling sad anymore.
I could not give up on myself. I remember this defining moment where after my bath, I looked at my skin condition and told myself that would be the last time I looked at it for its ugliness. Then I looked into my own eyes through the mirror and said ‘You will heal, you will get better’. I chanted what I believed, and multiplied that by all your messages. This was what you all would want to tell me if you saw me in person.
Then I took my first step... I crawled, knelt, walked, and finally bounced back into my happy, colorful world, even though I still looked… Oh, I can’t even find a word for that level of grotesqueness.
I must emphasize that the turning point from which to become happier was when I was at my lowest. There was no point in wallowing in self-pity. You can have all the support in the world, but only you have the power to decide what to do with it.
I went from getting sucked into all that negativity and crying into this:
The thick layer of red hearts represent your love, concern, support, encouragement, and they cushioned my path to recovery and dispelled thoughts that could be detrimental to my healing process.
Getting better was not an option, it was a decision. I chose to believe I will heal soon.
Mental health is as important as physical health. We cannot negate the importance of being under correct treatment and proper medication, but it is also imperative that we do not lose mental strength. Mental toughness is what will tide us through the darkest periods in our lives.
I’m saying all these because I realize from your stories that many of you can relate to my experience, albeit not to this extent, but could in some way understand how I felt, and stepped forward with your warm hearts to write to me. I found comfort in knowing I wasn't alone in experiencing sadness and frustration from a skin condition, and I want to encourage anyone who is going through a rough patch (pun intended because my skin feels like sandpaper haha. not funny.) right now that your skin WILL HEAL with proper treatment and medication. If this doctor doesn't create miracles, find another, keep searching, don't settle. You have only one life, one face. It may cost more than a facial, but personal experience now has told me that dermatologists/skin doctors exist for a good reason.
Many have told me that I’m an inspiration for the bravery, courage and confidence portrayed to pull through this difficult period, that I’m a role model. I was like WHeerrTt? I don’t know how that happened, because I thought I was the one learning and gaining strength from all of YOU.
I found it really funny that at the same time some people were probably digging into my every word to find statements to label as 'untrue allegation', or 'false accusation', I was happily making the above drawing of rainbows and hearts in Photoshop. LOL!
Find humor in everything you do, it helps a lot. 😀
Do you still dare to go for facials?
Many people have suddenly begun to feel fearful of the effects of a facial. I have been asked countless times whether this salon is safe to go, whether the one I went to is the one they are going to, what to look out for in a facial, etc. I wrote about my personal experience to share the risks involved in getting a facial. I do not know and cannot guarantee what will happen to anybody else.
You may or may not be allergic to the products the salon uses, the treatment may or may not be right for you, your beauticians may or may not know what to do when they see you with uncommon pus on your face, facials may or may not work for you at all. I cannot speak for anyone and am not qualified to say whether or not a facial or a trip to a dermatologist is right for you. I have been going for facials for the past ten years and as a beauty blogger tried a myriad of products on my skin, and NOTHING like that has ever happened.
I may be the only victim who has had such a severe reaction from their treatment and products but does that absolve them of responsibility towards a victim with obvious signs of distress??
And I still will not disclose the name of the salon despite many urging me to. I receive requests in the hundreds to reveal 'in secret', but I still feel that... this is a moral obligation.
Family and friends are furious and think I'm crazy that despite all the bad things the salon has done to me, I still think for them. I think I'm crazy too. 🙁
Okie, some of you say that I now bear social responsibility to reveal the salon's identity to shame the salon and let everyone know how negligent they were in their act, and moral obligation is in the form of helping fellow human beings steer clear of incompetent and negligent 'experts' but... I still believe.. actually I don't know what I believe anymore. Oh my brain.... my brain!!! >.<"
I AM NOT SAYING A FACIAL CAN DEFINITELY CAUSE REACTIONS (everything must come with a disclaimer now, FML -.-").
Again, I cannot say what is best for your skin, but from your messages, it seems like many have experienced similar results from facials and going to a dermatologist was the only cure. So if you are currently facing such skin issues, take the advice many have given me - go to a dermatologist!
Despite my current predicament, I am not afraid to try out new products once I recover. I'm a beauty blogger and asking me to stop putting anything on my face or trying new things in the market is like asking a dancer to stop dancing in case she breaks her toe. What we should take away from this experience is not to be afraid to try new things, but be more aware of what we put on our face and body. Check the ingredient list, expiry date and if you can, test it on other parts of your body first. It may be slightly more inconvenient but it sure beats battling barnacles on your face. When in doubt or if weird things start to happen, seek a doctor's advice immediately.
More Than A Pretty Face
Which brings us to the next topic - what should the salon do, what I should seek.
Everything I have written was from my point of view, what I experienced, my fears, my hurt. It was to share the risks involved in getting a facial - the treatment, equipment, products. It was not to bring down the name of the salon. If I harbored any ill intentions at all, the name would have been blasted right from the start.
Why did I keep mum? The reason is simple.
IMO, everyone has some kind of allergy, it is dormant because your body probably hasn't been triggered by that special one thing that applies only to you. We all have our own Kryptonite. It was the SUBSEQUENT ACTIONS that have infuriated everyone who has read about my experience, and got you all wanting to stand up for me.
As to how the case is currently developing, I am unable to fill you in on the details but I can do this.
Let me tell you a story.
Uncle Teo juggles flower pots for a living. Many people come and see his act and no one has ever been hurt. One day, Sam walks past and one of the flower pots hits him on the head and he is injured. Sam is unable to work for the next three months. Sam thought it only morally right that Uncle Two apologizes and assumes responsibility for all that he has suffered. Uncle Teo simply gives Sam a plaster and barks "Why did you not tell me you were coming this way?? If you had told me, I would not have thrown the flower pot at you!!!"
= End of story =
I'm sure you're smart enough to interpret it.
As you can see, my skin is much better now. But is it enough that I am just 'getting better'?
This ordeal has not only affected my face, it has affected my life in more ways than one.
When my skin was at its worst, I did not have control over my face, but I had control over my mind. By simply aligning my thoughts with my body’s natural ability to heal and faith that medication will work, my skin found peace and decided that I was trying my best to appease it. It was a battle I had to fight alone, with myself, for myself.
But now, we have progressed into another stage of this case. I have no control over anything because it is not so much an inner battle anymore, but one that involves external parties who have their own minds, interests, and agenda.
For every 10 messages I receive, at least 8 say even though my decision to keep the salon’s identity hidden is highly commendable, that I am far too generous for my own good and am putting many innocent others at risk in the hands of these people. That I am letting them off too easily for a heinous crime and am actually condoning ill practices and irresponsible conduct in the beauty industry. The salon does not deserve my generosity.
Not being able to identify an abnormal skin reaction, being ignorant how skin works and attempting to destroy surface evidence while ignoring root cause, claiming because no other customer has ever experienced this makes it less likely it's their fault in any way... All these actually make them even more guilty and should be put out of practice, because is it not imperative to ensure the safety of and be responsible for each and every customer?
I know you all feel the injustice hurled at me. I am being bullied and I know it. If by writing this post I have revealed just how helpless I am, then once again, I have said nothing but the truth. I FEEL HELPLESS.
Ruining the FACE of a beauty blogger is akin to hurting the voice of a singer, the knees of a dancer, the fingers of a pianist. Can they go about their normal activities? Yes, they can. Maybe with difficulty and inconvenience, but yes, they can eat, walk, sleep. But how much in the process was robbed from them? The anguish of not being able to work, earn an income, torn away from their passion, the helplessness of not knowing how long and how much this will affect their future, do these not contribute to the degradation of quality of life?
That's why the title of this post is 'More Than A Pretty Face'. It's hard to look at me and say 'You pretty girl!' anymore, honestly. You may say I have a beautiful heart and soul, but I need a face too. It is disconcerting that we should place much emphasis on appearances but you and I both know this is how the world spins.
More so because I AM A BEAUTY BLOGGER.
You took away my face, you took away my income, my opportunities, my time, my quality of life... and now it's all because I happened to walk under your flying flower pot without telling you I would be walking by??? Can anybody tell me if this is even logical???
I should fight for my rights. Fight for all that was taken away from me.
But I'm despondent. More than I have ever felt. Because I don't have control over what other people think and what they aim to get out of this situation.
Once again, I know this too will pass. But I wish for it to pass with flying colors, and not a result I have to live with and look back upon with regret knowing I was taken advantage of for my kind heart. I'm echoing the words of many who have stepped forth to advise.
Why must people play mind games? I don't like to play mind games. I don't understand why this is getting so blown out of proportion. Why must people make the world complicated? You do something wrong, you assume responsibility, you say sorry, you make amendments. That's all. I know it's really silly of me to see the world as simplified, because then there would be no wars. That's why it's eating into my life. I have seen the dark side of people and the things they would do to cover their asses.
I feel helpless and vexed not knowing what to do.
Therefore, thank you for your recommendations on skin doctors and what to do to help my skin heal, but I need your help again. Sorry, I know I am very troublesome. HOHOHO! 😛
Please write to me if you have any sort of advice on legal matters, like what should I do now, what are my chances. Seriously, I know nuts. Have you gone through anything like that? Do you know anyone who would be able to professionally advise me?
Even if you know nuts about legal stuff HAHA!, you can still leave me some love in the comments section below, email me ([email protected]), leave me a message on Bun Bun Makeup Tips Facebook page, Instagram (@bunbunmakeuptips), Twitter (@bunbunmakeup). We all have our roles to play in this life and being a legal know-how is just not one of them. I may not be able to reply all your messages, but you can see that your words have encouraged me and helped me see things from different perspectives. So please keep them coming. 🙂
Please help me again, if you don't mind. I thank you in advance.
Traumatic Facial Experience Series:
*Update in 2017*
Thank you for your support, I have long since recovered from the outbreak, but my skin has become more sensitive than ever. The following posts were written after this incident and document my struggles with a new skin condition. If you suffer from acne or sensitive skin, I hope some of my skincare-related will help you in some way. =) You can also explore all my skincare posts here.