It's true that cell turnover slows dramatically as we age – from approximately 20 days in younger adults to over 30 days in older adults.
But the impact on an individual's skin is varied.
While some people experience skin thickening, fine lines and wrinkles, others may face acne, scarring, hyperpigmentation, age spots, dullness, open pores, blackheads – or a combination of all the above!
What Is A Chemical Peel?
Chemical peels are an excellent treatment choice and the most effective way to treat a wide range of skin concerns, from acne and hyperpigmentation to advanced signs of ageing.
Despite their varying uses, most peels work the same: they remove the skin's outermost layers by breaking the bonds that hold our skin cells together. This, in turn, stimulates cell renewal and cell turnover, improving skin texture and appearance. However, just as every client's skin is different, there's no such thing as "one peel fits all".
For a chemical peel to be truly efficient, it should be tailor-made to address your individual skin needs. It should be strong enough to accelerate cell turnover without inducing unnecessary inflammation.
Regarding chemical peels, I have always had a unique perspective. Regular resurfacing is crucial to accelerate cell turnover and renewal rates. So I opt for more frequent and less invasive peels rather than those that push the skin to the point of excessive inflammation. Still delivering excellent results but without damaging your skin.
Which Skin Concerns Can Benefit From A Peel?
- Thickening of the skin
- Fine lines
- Age spots
- Open pores
What Should I Expect Before A Peel Treatment?
I only perform chemical peels on clients I know and understand their skin, so all new clients would need to see me for one of my regular facial treatments first so I can have a good look and understanding of their skin.
This also ensures they are on the correct products at home and helps me create a treatment plan. It is important to start hydrating your skin for a few weeks before your peel. This is to increase the health and resilience of your skin during the treatment.
At least 48 hours before your first treatment, you should be seen by your skin care therapist to complete a full consultation and perform a patch test. This is an excellent opportunity to talk you through the treatment and homecare routine and answer any questions you may have.
What Should I Expect During A Peel Treatment?
My chemical peel course consists of three to six 1-hour treatments fortnightly spread out over six to twelve weeks. These treatments include a relaxing scalp massage and treatment masque.
I will also take photos of your skin before and after each treatment to record the results. I will continuously ask you during the session for any sensations/feelings on your skin with a 1-10 sensitivity gauge.
1 = very little to no sensation or warmth on your skin,
10 = very tingly and extremely warm
This gauge helps to keep communication flowing between myself and my clients, keeping them comfortable and relaxed. It is entirely normal for your skin to feel warm, tingly and itchy while having a peel. Relaxing music is played, but the lights are on so I can observe your skin.
Introducing My Dermalogica Pro Power Peel Treatment Course
Comprehensive and completely customisable, this all-inclusive collection puts the power to create tailor-made peels in my hands. Formulated with maximum strength ingredients and backed by science and education from the International Dermal Institute, The Pro Power Peel lets me deliver a custom peel every time with excellent results.
Dermalogica's Pro Peel professional products include three different acids that can be used individually, layered or mixed to customise each peel to each client's skin concerns. Applied by adding a few drops to a gauze pad and then applying in a sequence of sweeping movements over your face, neck and chest to achieve an even and consistent application.
Ultra bright - Lactic Acid has excellent brightening properties. It is used to brighten and lift pigmentation, brown spots and age spots while also giving the skin that youthful, healthy glow and brightness to our skin. This is very popular in my salon as we all want that golden glow to our skin that is lost while we age.
Advanced renewal - Glycolic Acid is brightening too but also works more profound into the skin's layers to help reduce the appearance of lines, wrinkles and the thickening of the skin. Again a very popular acid that is used in my salon for significant reversal of signs of ageing.
Power clear - Salicylic Acid is a fantastic acid for reducing acne, redness and sensitivity. It is used to treat spots, congestion and also rosacea. Perfect for its anti-bacterial and calming properties.
What Should I Expect After My Peel?
Immediately after your treatment, you will have a lovely hydrated glow on your skin. Your skin may appear slightly red and flushed. You may also be more sensitive depending on your skin condition. I give my clients an aftercare kit and leaflet to reinforce the conversation about the Do's and Dont's for following the treatment and regarding the weeks between treatments.
Day One - Side effects include but are not limited to warmth, dryness, stinging, itching, irritation, redness, swelling, tightness, peeling and scabbing. These are all very typical side effects of peel treatments. But please remember some clients hardly show any adverse side effects at all; everyone's skin is different.
I advise my clients on minimising these side effects with the after care kit which accompanies my peel treatments. If your Peel treatment does not include an aftercare kit, you can purchase suitable products via my website (see below).
Day Two - By the second day, your skin may peel or look darker. Again this is very normal after peel treatments.
Day Three - On the third day, peeling may begin around the nose and mouth, followed by the cheeks, forehead, jawline and neck, just like the flaky skin experienced after sunburn. This only happens to some clients. But if it does, this is again all very typical behaviour of the skin after this treatment. Just keep well hydrated.
Day Four - You will now be able to re-introduce your usual home care routine, including exfoliation to help remove any shedding skin. Your skin is regenerating and healing, and you will soon start seeing excellent results. Keep in mind it's generally around day 8/10 that your skin is at its fully renewed state and looks fantastic. In case you are planning your peel treatment around a party or wedding.
Post Peel Aftercare
Aftercare advice should be given to you by your skin care therapist performing your treatment, as aftercare will vary depending on your peel. Here is the advice I provide my clients after one of my pro power peels.
Straight after treatment and the following three days, your skin is most vulnerable to inflammation, so you must strip back your home skincare routine. I provide an aftercare kit which contains four Dermalogica products Ultracalming Cleanser, Ultra Calming Serum, Calm Water Gel and Invisible Physical Defence SPF30.
These products will keep your skin calm, reduce sensitivity and replace the hydration lost during the peel to reinforce your natural barrier while your skin starts to heal and renew. No other products can be used on your skin until day four after a peel.
Do's and Dont's
DO wash your face, neck and chest with cool/cold water for the first three days rather than warm/hot water to help bring down the temperature of your skin. This will also soothe any post-peel sensation.
DO use plenty of moisturiser to keep hydrated. Since peels temporarily compromise your skin's protective barrier, it's important to reinforce that barrier with a medium-thick moisturiser. Drink more water to help avoid dehydration, which could make your skin feel tight.
DO apply sunscreen with SPF30 or more. Your skin is more delicate after a peel, so avoid direct sun exposure, which can lead to visible signs of ageing and avoid burning while your skin is more vulnerable. I avoid performing peel courses during summer as it is tough to avoid the sun's rays.
Do NOT use saunas and steam rooms and avoid strenuous workouts for three days after your peel as these will increase your blood circulation to your face and can intensify the warming, tingling, itching and redness side effects of your treatment.
Do NOT over-exfoliate. Peels are maximum-strength exfoliants, so you do not need to exfoliant. Do not use any scrub, facial brush or exfoliating cleanser within the first three days of your peel. Over-exfoliating can lead to more redness or sensitivity, so wait until your skin feels up to it; this usually is on day four.
Do NOT pick or squeeze at your skin. I know it is tempting to pick at a dry patch of skin but don't. This is to prevent scarring or hyperpigmentation. You need to let your skin fully heal.
Once your skin feels "back to normal" after your peel, it is generally considered OK to resume your regular skincare home regimen. For more personalised advice, ask your professional skin therapist. Ask how best to incorporate peels into your lifestyle and salon visits.
Who Should Not Have Chemical Peels?
- Pregnancy can affect your temperature and the sensitivity of your skin. Hormones produced during pregnancy can cause pigmentation and other skin conditions, so we do not advise anyone pregnant to have a peel treatment.
- Peels can not be performed on open grazes or sweeping skin.
- Some medications can prevent you from having a chemical peel, so seek advice from your therapist.
What Results Should I Expect From a Peel?
Please be aware that everyone's skin is very different, but you will expect to see a few of the following improvements to your skin after a course of peels and a good home care routine.
Your skin will feel smoother and look glowing. Pores and blackheads are minimised. Lines and wrinkles softened. The texture and tone of your skin improved.
Your accelerated cell turnover should still be evident for six to twelve months. But again, every client is different. Some clients will go on to have a peel every six to twelve weeks, while others will have a whole course once a year or two.
To keep your results going further, I recommend a fantastic home care routine to suit your skin and the results you are looking for. Please see my 10 step layering blog for more information about how best to look after your skin.
DIY Home Peels
If you can not make it into the salon and are looking to do a home peel, then I would recommend Dermalogica's Rapid Reveal Peel.
Although not as strong, you can still get many benefits from using this at home once a week for ten weeks.