Of course, the number 1 reaction is one of fear and misunderstanding. The pop-culture reference to the Sex and the City episode where Samantha has to wear a “beekeeper” headdress after a chemical peel is almost always made during the initial conversation.
As an esthetician, the last thing I want is to be face-to-face with a new client if my skin is looking b-a-n-a-n-a-s.
If I do peels, so should you!
Let’s talk about the basics:
Peels, generally speaking, are a solution containing a low-pH acid, that are applied to the skin, and have the power to improve collagen production, kill bacteria, refine the texture, and improve certain skin conditions such as acne, hyperpigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles. Different acids (glycolic, lactic, malic, salicylic) have some variances in their functions, and some acids work better for individuals than others, depending on the condition (acne, sun spots). In very general terms, the acids create a controlled injury in the skin that initiates a production of new, healthy cells and collagen. They are both preventative, by way of creating that rapid-fire of new cells (mimicking the production levels at younger ages; production level and quality of cells declines with age and skin damage), and also corrective of certain conditions. Peels have so much appeal (a-peel) because they’re relatively simple, treat similar conditions as lasers, but do not harbor the risks, and are way more economical!
Of course, not all peels are created equal. There are many grades, from extremely light/superficial, to light, to medium, to deep, to very deep.
Often, the deeper you go, the faster, more dramatic, longer-lasting the result; the trade-off, however, are increased risks and lots of downtime.
Some products market themselves “peels”, and it is important to know what that implies. In my opinion, anything that will truly be effective would not be sold at a cosmetic retailer, and would have to be administered by a professional.
These are often made of natural enzymes, which simply digest and slough off the already dead tissue that is laying on the surface of the skin.
*I personally use enzymes 2-4 days after a peel to expedite the awkward sloughing process.
There are “spa peels”, which I consider in the range of 20-40% acid. These can make the surface look nice, but they are likely not potent enough to correct more stubborn conditions.
They will not have any ability to penetrate the intercellular “glue” and reach the lower layers of the skin where they could positively affect pigmentation or create enough of an “injury” where one would see improvement of wrinkles.
The opposite end of the spectrum are deep peels, which are generally administered by a physician, and require sedation or anesthetic. These peels, often made of pure Phenol, will dissolve most of the epidermis, and can ward off cancerous and pre-cancerous cells, deep within the skin, and will also immediately improve deep, vertical lines and wrinkles. These peels come with risks of infection, hyper- and hypo-pigmentation, and have a serious recovery period of at least two weeks in which the flesh needs lots of tending and protection, there will be darkening of the tissue, lots of scabbing and scaling.
There are medium peels, such as 35% TCA, which are effective at treating pigmentation, severe acne and scarring. With these peels, risks are lower than deep peels, however they still have 1-2 weeks of downtime, where the skin will scale, and peel like a snake. Several may be required for optimal results.
At The Vault, the majority of our clients are busy professionals, who seek treatments that give outstanding results, without interrupting their busy lives. Nobody wants to show up in the boardroom or at a gala with a complexion that is worse than normal.
In fact, the majority of Americans seek these types of treatments, which is why non-surgical aesthetic options are the fastest growing in the market.
We have chosen to partner with Image Skincare, and they have an exclusive line of designer I-Peels that work better than any other peel line I’ve worked with in this category.
So many things make these peels special. For one, the formulation contains both high-potency (medical-grade) acids and pure aloe, which prevents evaporation, and calms the skin, so that you experience less surface irritation while the acid is able to trickle down to the lower layers of the skin, where it is truly needed. Additionally, we can incorporate “I-Enhancers”, which are ultra-concentrated vials of magic to target very specific concerns. For example, I can cocktail 25% retinol into the Lightening Lift peel for extra lightening power and more collagen, or into the Acne Lift to help stubborn cysts heal faster and lighten scarring.
Or I can add Kojic Acid and Vitamin C to the Wrinkle Lift peel if I want more brightening and lightening.
The options are endless.
Another element that is unique to Image I-Peels is the protocol. Most peels in a spa or medspa are as basic as a cleanse, peel application, neutralization, moisturizer, out the door.
In contrast, I-Peels are a multi-phase process to ensure that when you leave, you look better than when you arrived, and your skin is in a state that is optimal for healing.
We start with an exfoliating cleanse to slough off any dead surface cells. Then, the peel is applied. At first, it can feel itchy/stingy, but not burning. There are so many nerves on the skin’s surface, but as it penetrates, the stinging subsides to almost zero sensation. Once the acids reach the lower layers, where there are blood vessels and nerve endings, the sensation will pick up again, and this is typically accompanied by slight flushing on the surface. That’s when we neutralize!
It doesn’t end there—the Image Stem Cell Masque is made of potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. This step immediately calms the skin, reduces the amount of awkward peeling, and supplies it with nourishment. When we remove the masque, we have to pick our jaw up from off of the floor! The skin is bright, light, plump, ultra-soft, and gives the appearance of having an hour-long facial!
The final application of nourishing, time-released I-enhancers and other leave-on treatments ensure that your skin is supplied with all of the vital nutrients needed to rebuild and regenerate.
To protect your investment, we also provide you a complimentary Post-Treatment skincare kit containing everything you will need to protect your skin and optimize results in the week to follow: a gentle cleanser; a night cream with plant stem cells, peptides, and growth factors; a lightening serum with vitamin c and powerful botanical lighteners; an enzyme masque to use when you start feeling the initial dry-cracking (similar to after a sunburn), that will immediately digest and slough off the dead cells, to prevent that awkward peeling/flaking process; and an SPF 50 to protect those incredibly sensitive “premature baby” cells that have been born as a result of the Chemical Peel treatment.
Doing one peel, one time, can definitely temporarily help with active acne lesion, as well as give an immediate, but short-lived glow, plump and tighten up the pores. This can easily be added to any facial.
To achieve long-term results, or to correct a skin condition like persistent acne or signs of aging, a series of 6 is recommended, at 2-week intervals. It is important to adhere to this timeline, as extending the time between treatments will result in the biological processes that we are trying to manipulate, to revert back.
It is also important to set clear expectations of outcomes. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, as they say, and treating a condition earlier than later is typically faster, easier, cheaper. Remember, in the case of sun damage and wrinkles, it didn’t take 1 year, 2 years, 5 years to create, so it will take some time, commitment, and compliance to correct.
Think about it: If in a mere 3 months you could rewind the clock on damage that you spent a decade or more creating, wouldn’t you do it?
We have seen such outstanding results in treating our clients with a series of peels and a few home care products to maintain. Often, slight changes are seen 1-2 peels in, and results are tangible certainly by peel 4.
Peels, in my opinion, are the fastest, safest, most convenient and economical way to correct a wide array of concerns, and jumpstart your path to good skin.
To learn more, and to find out if our bespoke peels are the best option to match your goals, we invite you to a free, one-on-one consultation.
To see a demonstration of an Image Peel click here!