I've been tweeting away recently about a lot of my skincare and I wanted to carry that through to a written blog regarding my skin, the journey I've been on and what's been happening in the JH world. So 2017 was a really amazing year for me because of so many reasons and I'm just in a very grateful space. I feel very much like I'm on the precipice of my completion and I'm so glad I've been so financially smart enough to have achieved it at the right time. Part of my ambition with youtube was to facilitate a way to combat my dysphoria. Back in the day on 5AT there was actually a week where we discussed surgery and what we wanted to achieve if that was the choice, I remember discussing this off camera with MJ more so than in my video but there were a lot of issues I had that caused me complete emotional turmoil. Mostly the issues pertained to my symmetry in my face and at the time my skin was suffering.
I never really thought I'd be able to pay for any of this as a teenager and there wasn't a light at the end of a youtube career that there is today, people had yet to start making money so it was more so a hope in the very distant future. But as with everything, I cannot stop until I've achieved my goals and it affected me to an extreme level. I never took photos straight on, I never let people take candids. This was a requirement in some of my contracts. It stopped me being sociable, it sounds absurd looking back but you can't articulate the feeling of displacement when you aren't what you are.
The first thing I did when I won the initial part of YouGen for makeup, which I received a second cash prize, I investigated a way to get these issues resolved. The things that I felt made such a significant difference were my right eyelid which was hooded, my nose which had a break in it from an incident at school, my mouth which I felt drooped to one side and the lack of fat distribution in the right side of my face. I never noticed any of these issues in the mirror, because I read from left to right and to me the left side was pretty together! I never felt that I had any issues relating to gender, when I was a teenager I was addressed as female with no contention so I thought I was there lol. It was just the difference between what I saw in the mirror vs what I would look like from an unreflected camera. It stopped me doing a huge amount of work as a model. So I constantly tried to get help from my doctors who did nothing, I attended many private consultations and visited surgeons in the south of the UK. Every single blepharoplasty consultation that I went to advised me that I would have to have both eyelids worked on and I simply didn't need it. I didn't want to change what I looked like to myself. I wanted to change the asymmetry. Exactly the same thing happened with my nose, where surgeons said that they wouldn't want to touch my nose because it's already perfectly straight in profile and the aesthetical issues were minimal. But not to me. I blogged about this at the time.
So surgery was too much of a risky principle for me to go forward with and I was very scared that I would no longer resemble myself, so I investigated constantly until I found an amazing clinic in London called Botonics. Narushka who works at Botonics just did the most fantastic job at tweaking the issues without changing the parts I liked, and I think this is why people can't distinguish the work I've had done today. What people do when they go to amateur injectors, is say I want cheeks I want lips. So what really confuses me is why they don't fix the symmetrical issues first? Most people have asymmetry and simply putting the same amount of filler on both sides of your face actually exaggerates that which is why it's 'clockable'. I just think you have to err with caution and go with someone who is technically able enough to correct instead of change. Or at least start with correction before building your desired result, and to each their own. But for me, we targeted areas step by step over the last four years and I am amazed at the results. We lifted my right eyelid with cleverly placed botox which retrained the musculature, often after double eyelid surgery people can have botox to do so whilst the muscle is healing and it works in the same way. My eyelids are pretty the same today. Next we injected carefully in every dip and break in my nose to smooth the 'trunk' from the bridge down to the tip which resulted in scar tissue forming which remained after the filler metabolised. With the tip we enlarged my tip on the side where it was lesser, injected into the septum to prop up the nose and it built back up the symmetry that was lost. It's phenomenal. With the side of my face with lesser fat in, we slowly built up layers until they became more similar in half profile and filled spaces where I had 'holes' in the structure, like under my mouth which propped up my lip and supported it. Everything has been pretty much documented on my channel and it's been so wonderful for me because today, I don't feel like I have any dysphoria with my face and I'm so grateful. But I'm so happy with everything as it is now.
I could go into this relating to my body but since we've got the surge happening on camera I think we'll save that for then! So ultimately my concerns were all minimised and at the moment I really only have a slight issue with my nose where my tip is a little bit wider on the right side than the left, which I normally get fixed by injecting thicker filler in the base of my septum to lift it more. I'd definitely like to improve my nose tip one day, and as our faces lengthen and fold as we age I could consider a tiny bit done to my chin. But that's definitely maintenance and I kinda got there this year. Everything else I'm pretty happy with.
Next on my issues to fix, was my skin. Now I've been very transparent about my skin journey on Youtube and documented my isotretinoin treatment that really cured my acne. I've also been very open about using bleaching products on my skin which have caused pigmentation to form on my neck, (from using them without SPF and watching the sun do twice as much damage as if I'd left it alone lol), my freckles which were dark brown as a child are now pretty uneven and extreme dryness and sensitivity. So my skin is clear of blemishes, I never have acne anymore although when I shave I have some sensitivity issues, my main contention is the fact my skin isn't airbrushed perfection every day.
I hear your voices saying there's no such thing. Well there is and it's called great skincare and no sun damage and that is the challenge I have given myself. So last year I looked into a number of options to smooth out my skin. I've had TCA chemical peels, Obagi peels. Dermarollers. Traditional and combo peels. Vampire lift facials. Dermabrasion. IR + Deep Frequency treatments. If you've been a fan of my blog for a while, you know I own IPL machines and wands and deep layer IR zappers and lasers myself. I mix up my own peels and have removed 96% of my scarring from acne. But I still feel that there is an issue to my skin that looks rougher. If I take the skin on my arm, which is smooth & pretty baby soft, that skin does not have any texture to it and that is what I want for my face. So why the hell can I not achieve it?
So when we were working on Fran at Botonics, Narushka mentioned that a lot of people who take HRT can also benefit from using retinoids which are the same vitamin A derivative found in Isotretinoin. You can probably see from the retin added to it. Now this is the only cosmeceutical that is approved by the FDA for age reversal in the skin. It is the only thing that's subscribed by doctors. You can buy over the counter retinoids and they basically are very low percentages. Sunday Riley is famous for the Luna product which works in the same way but combines restorative agents with it, but the principle is the same. They work by speeding up the shedding process of the skin which tricks your skin into healing and repairing and restoring. Building up the layers of collagen that give structure to the skin. Restoring hydration levels over time. Thickening the tissues and resurfacing the look of the face.
You basically start by applying nightly, they may be warming or irritating at first or give a burning sensation but they are pretty easy to endure, nothing like a peel. You see a difference straight away, like a great exfoliator has been on the skin, then it starts to dehydrate and dry out. You then have a week of really irritating peeling, it looks like you've had a light chemical peel. The skin then heals but you maintain the nightly use. Then when your skin heals it's a texture that is different, it gives a combination of smoothing the layer out with a more plump look?
As you can see in these candids, my skin is very uneven in pigmentation. At one point believe it or not my freckles were all very dark and I don't advise using any lightening creams whatsoever. But immediately on use the retinoids brought the pigmentation back and started to create a difference. I noticed redness, a shineyness at night, a tightness but the following few days complete insane smooth skin.
I would definitely recommend speaking to your doctor or dermatologist about retinoids and find a balance that works for you. I really like the Vichy over the counter cream, there is also a great one for any acne sufferers out there that is combined with benzyl peroxide which in a weird way heightens the effects. I'm experimenting with a lot of them at the moment and I wouldn't want to recommend anything I haven't used for longer than four months, so stay with but here is the results!