"From the age of 12 I started to suffer from small patches of dermatitis, which later developed into full blown acne and raging spots. I've always had oily and greasy skin that was hard to control. I relied heavily on concealer and blemish sticks, but because I didn't really know how to take care of my skin they never did what I wanted them to. It had a huge impact on my confidence - I never had a boyfriend until I left school - as pimples and breakouts make you feel dirty and unclean, no matter how much you clean your skin or how often you're told acne has nothing to do with washing. The breakouts became more frequent the older I got, so I started to use heavy foundations and makeup in an attempt to hide the blemishes. It didn't help - the cycle got worse. I wouldn't go out or even do the school run without applying a huge amount of makeup; it became so embarrassing that I just didn't feel like myself anymore."
"I've tried numerous different products and formulas in an attempt to control my acne, but nothing seemed to help other than offering temporary relief. I've tried everything from Clearasil to Proactiv, to simple cleansers and spot treatments. Although they would often help to smooth my skin and reduce inflammation initially, nothing stopped the spots altogether; as soon as I stopped using a product the spots would come back just as aggressive as before. In the last six months it became a real emotional problem and I started to reach for any products that I thought would help - tea tree oil, blemish busters, cleansing balms, exfoliators, pore refiners. The Isolaz Acne Treatment was the last resort; I'd gotten to the end of my tether and become so depressed and disheartened that I was ready for some drastic measure."
The Isolaz Acne Treatment procedure is administered using a vacuum suction device, which extracts skin debris, grime, dirt, oils and excess sebum from pores. Acne lesions (whiteheads) are also drawn into the vacuum, efficiently and effectively removing any acne-causing bacteria. Immediately after, the Isolaz laser emits a blue pulse of light that kills any bacteria remaining in the pores, leaving skin cleaner, clearer and infection-free. This process is then repeated all over the face up to four times, leaving skin clear and free from bacteria - offering not only an immediate effect, but a long-term one too.
Gemma says: "It's not painful or uncomfortable; it just feels like a teeny tiny bite as the light flashes onto skin. Only on the third or fourth time around the face does it start to get a little uncomfortable and sore, because the process is being repeated. The only part that was painful was when the device passed over big spots or scar tissue and removed all of the build-up. By the third treatment I was happily relaxed and enjoying the time out from everyday life - there was no pain at all!" The treatment is incredibly quick too, ensuring you can pop in and out in your lunch break: "It took only ten minutes to pass the device over three times, with another couple of minutes to apply cooling spray and serum to my skin afterwards. I was amazed it was so quick."
So, did Gemma see any positive results following the acne treatment? "There's an amazing difference to my skin after three treatments and around four weeks. After the first treatment I noticed a slight change, but the real difference came after three. My skin is much smoother and softer, my pores have reduced in size, my complexion looks fresher and I've got my confidence back. You can see from the pictures the difference it's made. I've noticed I'm really pale now without the redness and inflammation - I'm using bronzer and blusher for the first time in my life to add a touch of colour! I'm constantly smiling, much happier and more confident - even when I do get a small blemish or spot it's not the end of the world, because my skin looks so much better overall. I'm so pleased with the results that I may go back for some more treatments in a couple of months."
Although the treatment itself is pretty straightfoward and quick, there are a few things to take into consideration: "The aftercare prevented me from applying makeup for 24hrs, using only mineral makeup afterwards to prevent blocked pores or too much pressure on my skin. I also had to ensure I was avoiding the sun and using the prescribed Sk:n Clinics products to ensure the results were as good as possible. I've been using the foaming cleanser morning and night (which is really light and creamy without stripping my skin or leaving it feeling irritated,) a skin hydrator which helps soothe and hydrate without being heavy, a pore refining lotion which helps to improve the appearance of my skin overall, and a spot gel which provides targeted treatment for spots that do pop up - it really stings on open spots, but helps to soothe the area and reduce inflammation really quickly."
Gemma has finally been able to find a solution to her acne after a search for a resolution for nearly twenty years. I've been able to see somewhat of a transformation in her over the last month, both physically and emotionally, the smile on her face telling me more than her skin ever could. Even without any makeup her skin looks incredible, radiant and clear - the Isolaz treatment has been able to kick-start a new routine and enable her to keep spots and blemishes at bay. The real test will be how long she can keep her skin looking this great, but for now it's the 'best thing she's ever done.' Are you as impressed with the results as me?
Isolaz treatments are available at Sk:n Clinics around the country, priced £600 for a course of six treatments (or £130 for individual sessions.)
Disclaimer: Gemma was provided with three treatments of Isolaz free of charge, as well as the products to use after each session. It's been around two weeks since her last treatment in the final photos, where she is wearing no makeup on her skin. No editing has taken place on any of the images featured.