Skin-Care Tips

I tried a chemical peel at home, which caused my skin to shed.

 

BUTAs our skin care cabinets are increasingly being filled with medical grade formulations, finding a chemical peel equivalent at home has become easier and more affordable. There are highly concentrated acids that promise to restore the surface of your skin overnight, exfoliating pads that make your complexion look very smooth, and masks that effectively melt dead skin cells in 15 minutes. But while these options are pretty close to what you would get in a beautician’s office, there is nothing better than a real deal. This is because certain concentrations of ingredients can only be used under the guidance of a professional, which means that you usually cannot access the hardest things in your own bathroom. That is, unless you have a professional literally sitting in the bathroom with you. Input: a virtual chemical peel that I had a chance to try thanks to the team from Plastic surgery Aristocrat and a stable Wi-Fi connection.

Chemical peels are essentially the most active exfoliation you can get, and you need to use intense active ingredients to remove them. literally clean the skin surface. The result, as you can imagine, is a delicate baby complexion that looks like it has never been exposed to the elements. “Peeling is an anti-aging treatment with many benefits, including exfoliation, but it also builds up collagen, reduces fine lines and wrinkles, enhances radiance, reduces pore size, reduces dark spots, unclogs complexion, and may even help with rosacea.” Dennis Gross, M.D., board certified dermatologist and founder of Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare, previously featured in Well + Good. Thanks to the solid ingredients used in this type of treatment, you will get months of exfoliation in just a few days.

Although the process usually takes place in a dermatologist or beautician’s office, it was surprisingly easy to translate it into video chat. The process began with a virtual consultation, during which Louise Agat, a medical esthetician at Aristocrat Plastic Surgery, took a close look at my skin and asked what problems I was going to solve with the peel. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and acne scars have always been my biggest concerns, so I told her that I needed a formula that evens out my skin tone and texture and relieves dullness.

A few days later, I received my personal peeling kit in the mail. It contained everything I needed to prepare my skin for treatment, the treatment itself, and two post-care products (vitamin C and a retinoid). “I added a combination of trichloroacetic acid, retinoic acid, mandelic acid, resorcinol, some salicylic acid and lactic acid,” says Agat. “PCA improves texture, lactic and mandelic acids help moisturize and soothe skin, and help unclog pores to make other ingredients more effective.”

The morning before the real peel, I did a FaceTime with Agatha so she could help me through the step-by-step application process. I started with clean, dry skin and used alcohol wipes to remove any residual grease so the exfoliating products could penetrate completely. Then, using a Q-tip, I applied a thin layer of Aquaphor to the eyebrows, lash line, nostrils, corners of the eyes and lips to protect these areas from peeling. Using a cotton swab, I applied the acid peel to my face in long, slow strokes from the top of my forehead to the bottom of my chin. I continued this process four more times until all of the product was used up, starting from different points and alternating vertical and horizontal brush strokes to make sure my entire face was evenly covered. After the second layer my skin started to tingle, and by the fourth pass it was almost on fire. Agate made me watch out for white spots called “icing” which indicate that the rind is actually working.

After applying five coats of acid peel, I repeated the process with retinoid serum. Because retinoids help stimulate cell turnover, this step helped provide a deeper, smoother exfoliation overall, Agatha said. I left the serums for the rest of the day (and got a rather odd look in the dog park considering they made my skin the color of carrots) and then rinsed them off with water before bed. After that my only task was to wait for the peeling to start.

The next morning I noticed slight peeling around my lips, and by the end of the night my skin was peeling like a snake. So what exactly was going on? “If you look at the skin under a magnifying glass, it looks like fish scales held by the intercellular glue,” says Agat. “The acids I put together dissolve the intercellular glue that holds these scales, so when it dissolves this glue, your skin starts to peel off and shed.”

The peel continued for three more days – at one point it got so intense that I had to cancel the date – and it took every ounce of willpower to keep from ruining it. However, the resistance was worth it, because by the end of the weekend my skin looked better than it had been since I reached puberty. The acne scars on my cheeks were completely gone and there was no sign of hyperpigmentation that had surrounded my lips since last summer. As a person using lot Due to the exfoliating acids in my daily routine, I was shocked at how much my skin color had changed with medications. It had a steady, even glow inside out, and after a few weeks I am still reaping the benefits of it.

It’s also important to exfoliate reg. Watch the video below to find out why.

 

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