Having worked as a beauty editor for 13 years, it's safe to say Heather Muir has had plenty of facials. She's currently the beauty director for both Health and Real Simple, so testing out new treatments is part of the job. Normally it's really exciting, but just two weeks ago, Muir tested a treatment that left her traumatized.
She got an invitation from a publicist to sample a free “red carpet” facial from a “board-certified master esthetician,” she tells Health. As a beauty director, Muir gets invitations like these all the time. She gets asked to try everything from new hair color treatments to the latest teeth whitening technology. They're usually super high quality, so she didn't think this one would be any different.
Before scheduling, Muir confirmed with the publicist that she wouldn't have any redness following the facial. She knew a bit of redness was normal with certain treatments, but she had to be in a video shoot for work later that day, so her skin needed to be camera ready. The publicist assured her there was nothing to worry about.
But as soon as the esthetician started the treatment, Muir knew something wasn't right. It started to get painful, and soon, her skin felt like it was on fire. She repeatedly said how uncomfortable she was, but the esthetician told her she must just be "sensitive." She assured Muir that no one had ever had this reaction before, and everything would be fine. By the end, Muir's skin was throbbing in pain.
Out of 13 years of getting facials similar to this one, Muir had never experienced anything like this. "When I saw myself in the mirror for the first time after the treatment, I knew something was terribly wrong," she says. Her skin was raw, red, and it was still throbbing.
She quickly told the esthetician how concerned she was, but Muir recalls she just shrugged it off and said this was the treatment she was told to promote. She instructed Muir to drink plenty of water and moisturize, but Muir knew that wasn't going to cut it.
She immediately went to her personal dermatologist and was prescribed the wound cream Luxamend. Her dermatologist said it seemed like she had chemical burns but hopefully wouldn’t have permanent scarring, although she did say if Muir had a darker skin tone, the lasting effects could have been much worse.
It took about a week and a half for her skin to start to improve, and now, two weeks after the facial, she says she feels nearly healed, with just a few scratches visible from certain angles.
"When you feel like something is off, you just have to listen to your gut," she says. "I did tell her multiple times that I was uncomfortable, but I never told her to stop, and I really regret not doing that. I wish I would have just told her, 'Thank you for your time, but this isn't okay with me. I'm going to leave.'"
Bottom line: Do your research before signing up for any treatment, no matter how credible it sounds. In her invitation, the publicist mentioned multiple celebrities who "love" this facial, so Muir obviously assumed she would love it, too. From now on, she'll always double-check the facts.