Let’s talk chem peels, shall we?
We’ve all heard about Alpha and Beta HydroxyAcids and been told how important they are for healthier skin and a youthful look, but where did they come from? What are they? How do they work? Are they for me? Let’s start with where they came from. You may think peels are a new trend but you’d be wrong. They’ve been around for centuries! That’s right. The Egyptians wrote of using sour milk to help keep the skin bright and smooth. Why sour milk? Lactic acid is a derivative of sour milk. Legend has it that Cleopatra (or was that Elizabeth Taylor) bathed in a bathtub of sour milk. How about Marie Antoinette lounging in a bath of champagne? Now if you’re a wine aficionado, you know that as grapes ferment, they get more acidic. Tartaric acid is a derivative of fermented grapes. Dear Cleopatra and Marie, thank you for paving the way to our more beautiful and healthier skin!
AHAs vs. BHAs – what’s the scoop?
Many people are familiar with Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs). Using a professional chemical peel exfoliation process increases cell turnover which helps produce collagen and elastin and firms the skin. AHAs are water-soluble acids so when applied to the skin the solution cannot permeate into skin that has sebum (oil) build up. The most common AHAs are:
- Glycolic –is naturally found in sugars and has a low molecular weight so it penetrates into the skin very quickly. Sometimes causing irritation and inflammation it’snot the best choice for aging or sensitive skin or hyper-pigmentation.
- Mandelic Acid –is naturally found in bitter almonds and is a very strong, effective AHA. It has a long history in the medical community as an antibacterial agent and oral antibiotic. The chemistry of Mandelic acid makes it a far more efficient AHA than the widely used Glycolic acid. Clients experience far less irritation.Clinical trials have shown impressive results in treating acne with good results in short amount of time, as well as diminishing fine lines and wrinkles, brightening dull skin and improving skin texture.
- Lactic Acid –is naturally found in milk and sugars. The larger molecular size of this acid causes it to penetrate the skin slowly, reducing the chances of irritation and inflammation. It can penetrate the deeper layers of the skin, increasing the rate of dead cell shedding, new skin cell production and collagen formation.
In the Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) arena, there’s only one player:
Salicylic Acid, naturally found in Willow Bark. It’s a chemical compound found in aspirin and been used for ages in treating many inflammatory diseases. Unlike AHAs that are water-soluble; Salicylic acid is oilsoluble, and has the ability to exfoliate deep into the lining of the poresto get rid of dirt, sebum and debris that can cause blackheads, whiteheads and enlarged pores. Topical Salicylic treats acne by reducing swelling and redness and unplugging blocked skin pores to allow them to breath and diminish.(Bacteria cannot live in the presence of air.) It’s important to note that Salicylic acid is a good alternative to Benzoyl Peroxide because it’s less harsh on the skin, especially sensitive skin types. BHA is good for sensitive skin types or those with rosacea.
Light, medium and deep peels, deconstructed
There are primarily three types of peels: light peels often referred to as “superficial” or “lunchtime” peels. Usually applied with up to a 30% acid solution. The AHAs and BHAs are typically classified as light peels. They’re known as deep exfoliants and aid in the removal of dead skin cells in a non-invasive manner. AHA/BHAs only penetrate the epidermis (outermost layer). Some light sloughing of the skin may occur. No downtown.
Medium peels are trichloroacetic acid (TCA), Jessners, and Obaji Blue. Medium peels are known to penetrate into the dermis (true skin). You will experience some crusting and browning of the skin, similar to skin that is recovering from a bad sunburn. The recovery time is between 5-7 days. It’s important to leave it alone and don’t try to peel the brown bits off, causing more injury.
Deep peels are the strongest and most powerful. Phenol or carbonic acids are so potent it requires up to two months recovery time. This peel produces totally “new skin” and literally burns off the old skin. Deep peels are applied by dermatologists or cosmetic surgeons. Recommended to be applied only once in a lifetime. Sedation is required so you know this isn’t for the inexperienced peeler.
Why should I consider getting a peel?
Depending on your age, cellular renewal happens about every 30 to 45 days. If you’re not exfoliating, those dead skin cells will just sit on the surface of your skin. As each month passes, more and more layers of dead cells pile onto each other. Not only does this make your skin look dull and rough, any amount of creams and serums you put on your skin will not penetrate into the epidermis and dermis which is where they do their work. Imagine having film of saran wrap on your skin. Ultimately, you are wasting your money and your skin isn’t getting the nutrients it needs to rejuvenate. Benefits of a chemical peel:
- Promotes skin cell renewal and skin resurfacing
- Smoothes fine lines and wrinkles
- Smoothes rough skin
- Reduces acne scars
- Reduces hyper-pigmentation
- Improves overall skin complexion
- Unclogs pores
- Reduces appearance of blemishes andage spots
- Helps skin appear more youthful overall
What to expect if you’ve never had a peel:
After a good cleansing, an oil-reducing solution is applied to remove any remaining oil from your skin. A chemical peel solution is then applied and most clients will experience a warming or tingling sensation. To ensure your skin isn’t reacting adversely, getting overly red or frosting (blistering), we monitor very closely. After about 3-5 minutes the solution is neutralized to completely stop the chemical processing, and then your skin is thoroughly rinsed. Because your newer skin has been exposed, it is important to apply at least 30SPF.
It’s a good habit to get into…
Although a visible difference can be achieved from the initial treatment, it is recommended to be prescribed in a series of 4 to 6 treatments. A complete program consists of a peel treatment package coupled with mandatory home care products to ensure the desired results.
I use G.M. Collin clinical peel solutions: Derm Renewal Peel (blend of Lactic & Glycolic), Salicylic Acid Peel (blend of Salicylic & Glycolic with 24% Mandelic), and the Jessner Peel (Lactic, Salicylic, Resorcinol). All have 30% active ingredients and a pH of 3.0. My favorite go-to is the Salicylic Peel. It’s a nice blend of lactic and has predominance of Mandelic acid in the formula – it’s an effective, magic ingredient that addresses so many issues with less irritation.
And because I love ya…
When you purchase 4 stand-alone chemical peel treatments, you’ll receive the 5th free. This 45 minute treatment includes a deep cleansing, masque, hydration and SPF application. A series of 5 treatments is $260. That’s a 20% savings. Payment is required up front. Please call or text me to make a reservation.