If you're reading this post off my blog in its truest form, you're a champion in spirit because you seek the truth.
But before I get to explaining why, allow me to put my hands together, close my eyes and say thank you to everyone who has helped me in any way, in ways you probably didn’t know had a direct or indirect effect on my healing.
I’m sure you already understand my true intentions, but I have to repeat that all I wanted to do was document this terrible experience on my blog, and let my readers know how detrimental the effects of a facial, improper treatment and use of unsuitable products.
And then KABOOMZ!!! Share pandemonium broke out.
I must be the luckiest person who has ever had a skin allergy. *throws confetti into air
One with effects so severe my story has been published on platforms I never imagined Bun Bun Makeup Tips getting on – Huffington Post, Daily Mail, Buzzfeed, Reddit, Lian He Wan Bao, AsiaOne, Yahoo News, and thousands of big and small sites, blogs and social media channels. I didn’t – and still don’t – feel comfortable granting live interviews so even though I was ecstatic that Good Morning America, Huffington Post, RazorTV, etc asked if I could make an appearance, I… just couldn’t face the world. (Some people said they’ll help send my story to Ellen and Dr Oz. Lol.)
Contrary to what some haters are saying, there definitely wasn’t a moment where I thought ‘Hey! Let’s write a story that would go viral. I’m gonna get rich. I’m gonna get famous’.
When I wrote the first post describing the explosion of nonsense on my skin, I felt my world crumbling. The crippling fear of not knowing whether I would ever look the same again, the thoughts of being scarred for infinity and my hobby/career facing a full stop was overwhelming. I could feel the light bulb in me diminishing…
Let me remind you this was how I looked.
My chin. OMFG. >.<"
But through the sharing of my story, I have come to personally experience the true human spirit and am humbled and touched by everyone who has opened their hearts and given me warmth. I imagine you taking a fraction of your heart and say “Here Bun, you have my love”.
To be showered daily with so much love, from all over the world, from people from all walks of life, for all these, I’m immensely and eternally grateful.
I Was Never Alone
Holding my hand through this painful (and itchy) journey are my family, Mr Mode, friends, and all of you reading this.
To see a daughter go to bed one night, wake up the next morning with symptoms of something terrifying, and then having every inch of her face filled with greenish-yellow pus in a few days, must have broken any mother’s heart. I tried to hide my sorrow from my mother, but you see, I’m really bad at hiding my feelings. WYSIWYG. Haha.
One afternoon when I was napping from the effects of drowsy medicine, I awoke to some clanking sound. Mummy was climbing onto my bed with a cup containing a can of coconut water (so that I wouldn’t have to hold the icy can in my hand).
Me: Wah, feels like I’m on holiday. Can wake up to room service and coconut water. =)
Mum: I cannot bring coconut trees or a nice breeze to you, but I can bring you coconut water. Good enough.
I told you in my second post that finding humor in every situation helps a lot in healing; I must have inherited it from my mum.
It wasn’t until the journalist from Lian He Wan Bao came down to the bazaar (thank you everyone for coming and giving me big hugs!) to ask for an interview that I knew my mum actually cried when she read my story on my blog. My mum said she hid in her room to cry. And then she said she also hid in her room to eat prawn crackers so that I wouldn’t be tempted. HAHAHA!! I’m laughing as I type this. XD
Thank you mama for being there for me. Two days ago, she looked at me and said “Ah yes, finally I can look at you proper”. Lol.
As for my dad, up till now, we haven’t spoken of my ordeal. Don’t get me wrong, I love my dad very much. I love him so much that when it happened, I felt relieved he wasn’t around so that I didn’t have to deal with my dad’s reaction to a facial gone so terribly wrong. He was on a business trip but suddenly came back for a couple of days before flying off to another place.
Those couple of days I was like a ninja. Whenever he came near me, I’d make sure to lurk in the shadows or let him hear but not see me. I told mum I didn’t want to let dad see me like that. If I could, I didn’t want her to see it too, but she’s around all the time so I couldn’t not avoid it.
There was one occasion where I was eating in the balcony, with very dim light emanating from the kitchen (somehow found the peace and darkness quite calming). He suddenly appeared out of nowhere to wash his plate.
Dad: Wow, so romantic, eating in darkness with all the clothes
Dad: What you eating?
Me: Food… something~
Dad: How was your day?
I was dying inside. When he walked away, I whispered to his back “I’m sorry, daddy”, and cried at how pathetic my life had become.
This was my reaction to all his attempts to engage me in a conversation. I’d appear super engrossed in whatever I was doing and give him extremely short answers to hint I didn’t want to talk. I was so rude, and I hated myself for that. But at that time, all I could think of was avoiding talk with my dad who would be going away again soon. There was no point in making him worry.
There was once I almost met my dad face-to-face, mere seconds away. I must have had a fraction of a minor cardiac arrest.
When dad left for his second trip, I couldn’t bear not saying goodbye so I hid behind my door and peeped at his back and shouted “Bye dad! Have a safe trip!”. Mum exclaimed “Why did you risk it?!!”. I giggled. That was all I could muster.
You know what, my mum told me much later that this conversation happened:
Mum: Erm, you know… ah girl… erm… her face… erm… allergic reaction. She doesn’t want to let you see her like that. She wants to let you see her when she’s pretty again.
Dad: Yea I know.
Dad: Can feel that she’s avoiding me. And I managed to steal a glance even though she’s been trying very hard to ‘siam’ me. No worries, I understand. I’ll let her be. It’s gonna be alright.
I wanted to cry.
Point 1, there are no secrets between my loving parents. Point 2, you can run but you cannot hide. Point 3, your parents will always be one level up. HAHA!
Update: My dad asked about it today. Lol.
My 2 younger brothers have been most understanding too. They never asked much, never made me feel like I looked any different, and just let me be. Brothers are like that, I guess. 🙂
The only person who saw my vulnerability in its full force was Mr Mode. Every time I saw my horrendous-looking self in the mirror, tears just spurt out as though my tear ducts had suddenly taken the form of water jets. I must have looked pathetic and pitiful, and was inconsolable. I was damaged outside and inside.
Yet, this person said he still wanted to kiss me. When he came close, I pushed him away so hard it must have hurt. But he held me firm and close and said “Let’s go through this together”. (OMG, I’m sorry I need to take a break. Face is wet now.)
He tells me he loves me very much, every day. And he shows it in every way.
We always tell each other, in jest, “You are so lucky to have me”, but we both know it really means “I’m so lucky to have you”. Mushy mushy. TEE-HEE-HEE.
(Mr Mode hates taking photos so to get him to look into the lens is a great achievement in itself. No hair never mind. LOL. By the way, I always look sickly beside Mr Mode coz of my very yellow undertone :()
Many friends have shown concern, but there are some who have really gone the distance for me. When I thanked my BFF for the nth time, he said “No problem, this is something I want to do”.
Hello, tears. (OMG why am I so emotional tonight!!)
To always have Pris and BFF with me for various appointments, to help with my thought process, have helped me greatly in keeping sane. People who find time in their busy schedules to do something for you without expecting anything in return, you know you have to cherish forever.
It is good to be strong and independent, but I always feel that when you need help, ask, and there’ll always be people in a better position or capacity to lend a hand, give advice or support.
‘Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find.’ I’m not a Christian; I don’t have a religion, but this phrase is very true. The concepts in The Secret are also built around this principle.
You Are Not Alone
When the first batch of comments arrived right after I wrote the first post, I couldn’t understand why people were saying my courage is an inspiration. I even asked my friends “Why are people saying I’m brave? I’m just showing disgusting pictures of myself”.
I really never thought it much of a hurdle to show those ugly pictures. All I had in my mind was to warn people the perils of having a facial. I think I'm just lucky that my overwhelming need to share my terrible experience overshadowed the desire to hide away. Brave, who? I didn’t see it.
When I read your emails, comments and messages, I smile when you commend my bravery and positive attitude. I never knew my story and outlook on life would touch so many people and cheer them on. That my story brought ‘hope’ in this cruel world and inspire them to be a better person, as some say. Woah.
My heart went out to you when you shared your personal struggles with a skin condition. Your statements of ‘I totally understand how you feel’, ‘I know how it feels because I’ve gone through something similar’ and ‘You are not alone because it has happened to me’ let me feel like I could hold your virtual hand for support.
I had to post this again because it makes me happy! You need to read the third post to understand.
Let me tell you something. Whenever I finish reading something beautiful from a reader (it doesn’t have to be in perfect English; it’s the amount of love and thought that went into crafting the message), I smile and then I hug myself and pretend it’s you. HAHAHA! I hope you don’t think I'm psycho now. O.o
At the same time, it pains me to know that so many people are actually talking about their skin allergies and condition FOR THE FIRST TIME. =O They say they are so happy to have finally found someone to relate their struggles with, someone who is vocal enough to share her story with the world. It compelled them to want to write to me and share their own stories.
Through your stories I have come to realize that having a skin condition is a terribly isolating experience. Most of you battled or are battling it alone because (1) there are very few or no avenues for you to discuss your woes and struggles (2) you choose not to discuss it. Some even tell me they chose to email me and not leave a comment on my blog or facebook because they didn’t want others to know about their condition.
Someone told me ‘You are brave enough to share your experience and brought focus onto issue that is often ignored. You are really drawing attention to an issue that impacts people all over the world... an issue that people don't discuss.’
Is that what I have done? And do people really not discuss skin allergies? I don’t understand! Why would people be afraid to speak about skin conditions? It's just... like getting sick, no? I got better so quickly because I spoke to... the world. And knowing there are so many more people struggling in their own rights and reaching out to me comforted me in ways so important in my healing.
I honestly knew nothing about skin allergies prior to this. It makes it hard to understand why there are innumerous forums and incessant chatter on makeup, hair, nails, but those about skin conditions are few and far in between.
You thank me for creating an opportunity for many who have suffered or are suffering in silence to finally speak up, but I thank YOU for letting me know that I’ve helped in even the smallest way.
And now for updates!
No more pustules! YAY! 😀
Thanks to those who pointed out that there are side effects to Prednisolone, like bloatedness and weight gain. Dr Joyce gave me a very small prescription and I'd completed it in a few days. I now use only topical creams.
I had 2 pimples. And I was so happy. HAHAHA! At least I knew how to differentiate between a pimple with pus and an allergic reaction. I still don't understand how those people at the salon could NOT tell the difference.
I'm grateful to have naturally thick and defined eyebrows. Eyebrows frame your face. I must do an eyebrow tutorial soon. ^_^*
My skin can sometimes be quite dry from the creams prescribed. See the peeling? It's peeling even more now. That means the skin is regenerating. POWER TO ME!!! HADOUKEN!!!
I feel very lucky that the medicine and products prescribed so far have worked so well for me. Some people tell me they've been searching for YEARS and still haven't found a dermatologist who can cure them. Some are allergic to certain antibiotics which worsened their condition. =(
I apply the same rationale regarding the specific salon to finding a dermatologist. What I'm allergic to might be harmless to you, what my dermatologist prescribed to heal me may not work for you.
And please, please, please don't self-diagnose! Many have told me how they tried to self-diagnose, went to eat this eat that, tried over-the-shelf products, went for facials, and ended up worsening the condition. My advice really is to go and see a dermatologist. They exist for a good reason.
Real Stories, True Warriors
Remember I said that going through this ordeal has let me realize that nobody asked to have a skin condition? Many people say they don’t blame me for wondering why people with bad skin don’t do anything about it – because I didn’t know better.
After reading your stories, I feel even more ashamed and humbled.
There are real people out there with true stories of skin conditions, weight problems, hair loss issues and more. People HAVE tried means and ways, spent money they didn’t have, gone through years and years of pain and anguish, because they were given a condition they never asked for.
Someone said he/she felt sorry for my skin condition but when he/she came to part where I mentioned the thoughts that came to my mind when I saw a person with bad skin, he/she HATED me.
‘What really comes forward to me when I first meet anyone is how profound the person is, how interesting he/she is, and how unsuperficial and unjudgmental he/she is’, the person said.
MUAHAHAHA!!! How silly! It was so ridiculous I actually burst out laughing. Hello? How do you tell a person is profound JUST BY LOOKING?? Come on, get down from your imaginary high horse and stop thinking you’re any better, because you didn’t even get what I meant. By saying you hate me just from reading a few lines of my learning experience, YOU have just judged ME, haven’t you? Lol. Too funny!
We are engineered to use our face as our primary tool of communication. No matter how you fight it, the face is the first thing we see.
I forgive the people who said I deserve this allergic reaction because I was too beautiful for my own good before (THANKS!! ^_^*) and that I was superficial and vain because I use makeup to cover up; that I am overdramatizing my life because of some small disfigurement.
(By the way, I didn’t overdramatize any of this. They’re facts > People like facts > So they share my story. That’s all.)
A facial disfigurement does have a direct effect on a person’s self-esteem, well-being, and mental health. Those who have not gone through what we have simply cannot understand how damaging on the quality of life a facial disfigurement is. They are insensitive because they cannot relate. One day if they wake up with pus-filled craters on their faces, they'll know to stop calling victims 'superficial', 'vain', 'overdramatic', 'shallow'.
The next time you see a person with what you might deem ‘imperfections’, think about what this person has probably gone through. The courage to even step out of the house, for a start. This person has tried so hard to look ‘normal’, but nothing has worked so far.
In fact, people with these ‘imperfections’ are the strongest and bravest among us. These are the most beautiful and best people we ought to know. They have been through hardships unimaginable to most of us – cruel words, condescending stares, harsh treatments – and for that they deserve our respect. These people are survivors of a cruel life. These are the people we ought to learn from.
Don’t judge the lives of others, because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation. Remember, they never asked for any of this.
I wrote a post on ‘Why People Leave Negative Comments’; seeing how much a spike in traffic my blog has received from this debacle, I am happy to know that the positive ones far outweigh the negative ones.
I fail to comprehend why people take sick pleasure in hurting others with words, and then hide behind a face of anonymity. It is so sad to know that some people need to see others in misery for a false sense of superiority. The problem with these people is they are not happy with themselves. Poor souls.
I’m sorry to tell you that you’re just hitting a brick wall. IT DOESN’T GET TO ME. AT ALL. #YouFail
'If you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best', said Marilyn Monroe.
But even at your best, someone will have something to say. So be yourself, and the right people will love the real you. 🙂 I don’t know if I’m at my worst or best right now. I think I look my worst, but my mind and resolute are probably at their best. My conscience is clear and my soul still pure.
I have explained too many times the reasons for not revealing the salon's name. From some comments, I really wanted to clarify AGAIN. But while there are times when we need to explain our actions to others out of respect, I have come to realize that some people don't genuinely care.
In my case, they press me to name the salon. These people are not truly interested in my well-being nor how my life will change. They love the ‘suspense’ of my story and think that by throwing spanners at me, my determination will waver. Too wrong.
*spanners hit the brick wall
My Name Is Not 'Sue'
Imagine this is a bull-fighting tournament.
You are a spectator. You place a bet on me because you think I’ll win, you take your seat and wait for the show to begin.
I am the matador facing an angry, charging 800KG bull.
If I die, you say ‘Awww, that sucks’. You leave the stadium. You move on with your life.
I, the matador, am dead.
It is so easy to say ‘WHY ARE YOU NOT SUING THEM?!! YOU'RE BEING STUPID BY PROTECTING THEM!!’
Talk is cheap.
Will you sue the salon for me? Will you support me if this really ends up in court? Will you pay for my legal fees? Will you be there in the court room with me? Will you even care about how my case develops two months down the road?
I will be, by then, old news. You will move on with your life while mine is in shambles.
Only the intelligent have told me my decision to not disclose the name thus far is a wise move. Only those who truly care say my decision is commendable and shows just how sensible/mature I am in handling the situation.
The general misconception is that if someone does you wrong, you sue. The reality is far from this, really. There are many steps and actions you can take before you actually stand trial.
As much as I'm hurting and suffering from all that the salon has subjected to, I am logical. Right from the start, even with physical and mental torture, I have been rational.
My intention was to share. I never wanted to defame the salon, I never craved any personal fame from this, I never yearned to stage a legal fight. When I saw my blog statistics hit an all-time high, I was shocked that things had gotten so big (my server crashed so many times I couldn’t even log in to my own blog to post the second update post lol).
How was I to know so many people around the world could relate to my experience and find it so compelling to share it with others?
It is because of the extent to which my story has been publicized that the salon is behaving, well, behaving the way they are. My actions of peace have not been reciprocated.
It’s not about how many times you have done something right, it’s about what you do when you do something WRONG. Geddit? #MustRepeatHowManyTimes
Always remember that the person who loses temper in a fight will lose. If I had let anger get to my head right from the start and published the salon’s name on my blog, I might be facing a libel suit right now, as you smart people rightly pointed out. I was lucky that my head was so filled with devastation there was no space to entertain thoughts of revenge.
Even now, I don’t seek revenge. Revenge is inflicting harm on the party that causes you to suffer. I’m not inflicting harm on them, I’m just seeking justice for what’s been TAKEN FROM ME.
They have put their company’s interest above my pain and suffering. At the touch of a button, their reputation will go down the drain. They know it, I know it, you know it. Yet, they continue taking a hard stand, thinking that it might weaken my resolve. Funny how people react differently to circumstances, isn’t it?
I’m sorry to tell you that the more you want to see me break, the stronger I become.
Once again, I cannot reveal details of the legal phase of my journey. What I can say is a huge thank you to all the lawyers or those who know a bit of law, both local and international, for writing to me. Laws in each country may differ, but the core concepts and logic remain the same. Talking to the right people have also allowed me to gain a better understanding of my case.
Even though my skin is healing, the fact that I have been out of work for three weeks, getting around with much inconvenience, unable to attend events, missing out on opportunities, being unable to use makeup which disrupts my job, remains. And this will remain for months to come. I also have to continue wearing a mask to shield my fragile skin from harmful UV rays to prevent hyper-pigmentation. I'll ask about sunscreen when I go for my next review.
You Are The Best Readers I Could Ever Ask For
I thank my readers who love what I’ve been doing and new readers who after reading about my story tell me they enjoy reading my blog and will continue to read it. If you don’t, I completely understand as well. I mean, I have men, boys, people working in law firms, engineering, doctors, and other professions who came by to read for the real, complete story.
Some third-party platforms have reported half truths. =.=" and it's really out of my control.
Therefore I thank you for reading this post off my blog and not elsewhere because people who read my story off other sites will not completely understand and are the ones who say the nastiest things. I don’t read them, can’t be bothered to, but my friends tell me that they feel like killing those people when they read insensitive comments about me. HAHAHA!
Thank you to those who have stood up for me against people who leave negative/illogical comments. You truly understand my story, what I'm going through and the reasons for my actions. AND you stood up for me. I really cannot ask for better readers. *wipes tear
Why me? Why now?
This was the question I kept asking myself when it first happened, and before I sorted out my thoughts. I'm in the middle of an advertorial and the Singapore Blog Awards competition. WHY NOW?!?!!
Now that it has happened, I ask ‘If not now, when?’. It could have been worse – it could have happened right before my wedding shoot in Taiwan, it could have happened right before my wedding.
My skin is getting better. It still is rather far from its former self, but I celebrate the fact that there is improvement and not a deterioration.
‘If not me, who else?' Another victim who would otherwise hide under the sheets and cry into her pillow?
Now, now, I may be kind but I'm not stupid to wish a tragedy upon myself. But since it has already happened, what else can I do but embrace this rare opportunity that has been bestowed upon me?
Somehow, I was 'chosen' to walk this painful path, I tell myself. I have a boundary-less platform; I have the ability to tell my story in a language understood by most people in the world; and I have the power to reach out to people with my words. Unfortunate or not, I was given the chance to experience the full crippling effects of a facial turned disaster.
I'm not saying that I DESERVE this; I do not have any obligation to suffer. But just like many others who have suffered and survived, this is about taking the bull by the horns when we have been thrown into the bullring.
From this episode in my life, I have gained an understanding towards people who have flaws in their appearances, an appreciation for their fight in life, and a respect for people no matter how they look. I hope you have too.
I went from one point of grotesqueness to a new point of ugly. The barnacles are all gone, leaving behind redness, brown marks and peeling.
But I wake up every morning and thank my skin for giving me hope. My skin’s healing ability is simply amazing.
However, it is still far from looking like its previous self. One salon’s inability to admit its own mistakes and to recommend that I seek treatment elsewhere earlier, and their inability to see that they were only making it worse has caused me to be unable to work for the next few months.
I’ve never felt more inferior in my life when I attempted to attend an event this week. I wore a mask, I couldn’t eat or drink because I couldn’t bear to see the shock on people’s faces if I took it down so I just swallowed my saliva and went hungry, and I didn’t bother to dress up because I felt incomplete anyway. I don't mind posting photos online for everyone to see, but to reveal my red and raw skin in front of people, to look into their eyes and see the shock, I...... still cannot.
Yes, I am physically and emotionally scarred and I have every right to feel that way.
I’m a beauty blogger, remember? The events I attend, the things I talk about, are all related to skin-deep beauty.
You Know, I’m Still A Beauty Blogger
Which brings me to the next point and the title of this post – that I’m still a beauty blogger.
These are the things I talk about on Bun Bun Makeup Tips:
My Favorite Mascara - Lioele Volume & Curling Mascara Review
What I Use To Wash My Makeup Brushes - Make Up Store Soap Review
(When I had the pus outbreak, I dreamt that they were just makeup and I could wash it all off when I woke up :()
This kinda stuff.
You probably got to know about my humble little blog only because of my horrific facial experience, but you need to understand that before even any of this happened, my blog consists of makeup tutorials, beauty tips and tricks, reviews on products and the sort. Topics you would think of as ‘superficial’ if you didn’t understand the power of makeup, that looking one's best can do lots to boost one's self-esteem and enable one to reach great heights. Yes, just because of makeup.
When I look good, I feel freaking awesome. This is why I created Bun Bun Makeup Tips. It was to share with people makeup techniques and my honest opinions on products I have tried.
I realized that I don’t have to stop blogging about makeup and beauty completely, I have a lot of unpublished material that I never had time to work on. So when I do get back to my typical blogging style and topics, don’t pounce on me about my ‘lack of insight about life’. LOL. This is what I’ve been doing all along! How much insight can one reveal when discussing about her favorite mascara or foundation??
I started REALLY late on the Singapore Blog Awards contest. This whole allergic reaction thing hit me when the contest started and when it happened, I had absolutely no interest in anything in life. But now I'm trying to get my life back.
So... because I promised myself to go ahead with the competition in the Best Beauty Blog category, I'm gonna try, to the best of my abilities, with current limitations, to fulfill the requirements - 4 posts. People had three weeks to work on it and call for votes, I have.... three days. That's why I'm gonna shamelessly ask for your vote. HAHAHA! NO TIME ALREADY!
(You'll know soon the reason for the hole in my mask in the first photo of this post :P)
*voting has ended*
I'll definitely keep you guys posted on my skin condition and the case development, whatever the outcome.
Wish me luck! 😀
Bun Bun The Beauty Blogger
(You just read 5k+ words. I took 3-4 days to write it. Maybe I can write a book. LOL)
Traumatic Facial Experience Series: