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NO ONE HAS TO KNOW

Sathya Saran  (click here to know more about this blogger)

Reading Dr. Jamuna Pai's book, "No One Has To Know", written with Gayatri Pahalajanj, I was surprised that despite so many years of writing on beauty, the book could still tell me things I only half knew about skin care!

Written with a mix of first hand, technical and medical knowledge and quiet humour, the book proved a handy reference guide whenever I was in doubt. More laudable, however, is the fact that Dr. Pai has marked out all proceeds from the book's sales to charity to help the emotional and physical rehabilitation of victims of acid attacks. The take-home present at the launch of the book, (by a very gracious Kokilaben Ambani, at the Taj Land's End, Bombay) was a voucher for a special 'No One Has To Know' facial. And that is how I found myself subjecting myself to a facial treatment, after a very long time!

Formulated especially to commemorate the launch, the facial was a mix of cleansing, moisturising and pampering, I was told. Wondering what I could expect new, I surrendered my face to the waiting hands of Sujata who I had reportedly last met eight years ago. As Sujata set to work, she informed me that my treatment would tackle my very dry skin. There was an alternative for oily skin, but all the products she would use were to ensure I leave the room with my face fresher and my skin loaded with moisture. She would also perform procedures to ensure a betterment of blood circulation which in turn should speed up cell renewal. 

I got a quick mental image of my skin waking up and shovelling dead, old cells out like snow being shovelled off a road surface!! But the thought was blocked out by the fact that, with the swift and confident precision of a machine, Sujata was cleansing my face, applying a soft creamy cleanser that she wiped off with sweeping movements. She followed this with a massage... I learn later that what she was actually doing was getting to know the contours of my face and the quality of my skin in its different areas. It helped her choose the right mix of products for the subsequent steps of the facial. A hot towel followed, enveloping my face in what felt like a bear hug. I felt my shoulders relax further instantly, and settled down to enjoy this therapy completely as I put my mind on pause and let the sensations take over.

Sujata told me that she was going to apply a gentle peel. I pushed back a nasty image of a potato peeler working on my face, and smiled in response. The enzyme peel, created as a special formula by Dr. Pai for Blush Clinic, to exfoliate skin, was indeed mild. I felt no tickling or burning, and when it came off, there was a feeling of lightness as if my skin had taken a deep breath in mountain air. The exfoliation had opened the skin and readied it for the next set of applications, I was told. The mandatory warm towel to open the pores was laid on. Sujata then mined my face for blackheads and whiteheads. After assiduous searching, she found one lone, lost something, on the extreme edge of one nostril. I was pleased with the cleanliness of my skin surface!

At every step, Sujata told me what to expect. She told me the towel that she would lay on my face now would be very cold. It was, indeed. The mountain air had turned frosty; I was breathing now as if in a snowdrift. Luckily, the rest of me was warmly swathed. My open pores, I can well imagine, were firmly slammed shut! From the comfortable recesses of near sleep, the words AHA peel jolted me awake. But Sujata assured me it was very mild. Never having undergone a peel before, I did not know what to expect. But the cool, soft smelling mess that she layered on my face was indeed gentle and lay like a soft napkin over my skin. It was a quiet worker, because when it came off, I was told the results would be almost instantaneous. The arginine and lactic acid used had a brightening effect that could not be missed.

Then, I was plugged in. Sujata used an electrical device that was warm. She told me she could make it warmer and more effective if my skin would tolerate it. And luckily, as she pumped up the heat, my skin seemed to not mind it at all. The purpose, she told me was to warm up the skin tissue and ensure that the intense hydrating gel used locked the moisture in the deeper skin layer. Sounds good! And then, Sujata said, we had arrived at the high point of this treatment. She would use a brightening cream to massage my face. The massage that was alternately soft and firm was also meant to drain my lymph nodes. The lotion used was a mix of Moroccan oil with other oils, and was pleasant and glided on smoothly, letting no friction result as her hands traversed my face, neck and back. I was beginning to feel suspended in time. But the ministrations stopped soon enough. It was time for a specially formulated peel-off mask. Meant to  de-tan the skin and leave it fresh and rejuvenated, it contained sea weed but felt like rubber. For one moment I panicked, as it covered my mouth and closed my eyes. I wondered if this is how it felt to be buried. But the pleasant scent of the mask and the fact that it was light stemmed the moment of panic. I told myself not to try to speak, and relax. Taking the mask off is a bit of a disappointment. I was hoping to see an inverse cast of my face, but the mask came off in little bits, rolling out like elastic, rather than peeling off like clay. Fortunately so, I was told, for it had not loaded weight and gook on my skin, just fed it gently with nutrients.

Then it was over and time to return to the world outside my cocoon of a room. As Sujata handed me a mirror, I caught a glimpse of my face looking fresher than it had in many months!! The tan patches were gone, even the sharply delineated patch where the sun kissed my cheekbone, was lighter. Ah well, I murmured. The pollution outside would take its toll. But till that happened, if people wonder why I look different, I can tell them it was a treatment called “No One Has To Know”. Because, it is worth ensuring Everyone Gets To Know!
 

SATHYA SARAN
 
20-FEBRUARY-2015
 
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