November is peels month!

The summer is long past (sob!) and we are well into autumn. While we need the sun for our health – did you know we convert cholesterol (a symptom of inflammation) into lovely, anti-inflammatory happy Vitamin D! – we really should be avoiding it on our faces as it causes damage to skin cells and collagen, and ultimately causes sun spots, uneven skin tone, and lines and wrinkles. The advice to wear SPF does not change in the winter, as you will have heard me say many times! UV(A) rays are the ones responsible for this skin damage, (UV(B) are the hot burning ones – we generally know we should protect ourselves against these!), and UV(A) are in the same concentrations all year round, even when it is cold, grey and murky!

So now the sun has gone, we are able to treat the skin more assertively – we wouldn’t be doing full on chemical peels if someone had just spent time in the sun, for example. So Autumn is the perfect time to start with a course of treatment – particularly skin peels!

What is a chemical peel?

A chemical peel is a solution of varying ingredients, applied topically to the skin to improve the condition and texture of the skin, and tackle skin concerns such as ageing, rosacea, acne, scarring, redness and general skin health.

What is a peel made from?

There are a variety of ingredients that can make up a peel – but ultimately it is a combination of acids. (please don’t let the word acid put you off – acids are a vital component of our skin, skin care products and life in general! Think vitamin C – this is actually L-Ascorbic Acid – not scary, but essential!)

The key acids that we are concerned with are

  • Citrus Fruit acids – these are a key component of our Enzyme Peel
  • AHA’s – Alpha Hydroxyacids – these include
  • Glycolic Acid – this is a cheaply produced, very common acid used in a multitude of skin treatments and products
  • Lactic Acid – this is more predictable (but more expensive) than glycolic, but very effective and used in peels and products
  • Salicylic Acid (BHA – Betahydroxyacid) – this is a key product in the treatment of acne, and is used in combination with other acids and ingredients
  • Retinoic Acid – Retinol. This key ingredient is derived from Vitamin A, and is crucial in almost all the functions in the surface of the skin. I recommend a retinol serum to almost all of my clients!

How do acids work on the skin?

Acids work by loosening the bonds between dead cells on the surface of the skin, allowing them to shed naturally. This leads to smooth skin, a thicker epidermis over time, which leads to better hydration, reduced lines and wrinkles, and increased collagen production. They can be used to reduce sun damage and pigmentation, and help control acne, and even rosacea.

Are Chemical peels safe?

In short, if they are done by someone who is trained and qualified, and understand the ingredients and effects on the skin then yes. As with all skin treatments it is vital that the practitioner understands what they are doing and why, and use the most appropriate peel for you.

The correct aftercare is also essential – for example, if the advice of not doing vigorous exercise after a glow peel is ignored, it can lead to blistering of the skin – please do listen to the advice you are given (and you will be given it in writing too!) and follow it carefully – after all, there’s no point investing in your skin if you are not going to do what you are told afterwards! You will usually be given a kit of aftercare products – please make sure you use these – and nothing else! – for the length of time that you are advised, to make sure there are no adverse effects, and vitally you get the best results from your treatment!

What will happen after a peel?

Immediately afterwards, your skin will feel lively and fresh, and possibly a bit zingy. It may be a bit pink, but it is unlikely you will look terribly red! I always advise to NOT wear a face covering for as long as possible as this can lead to side effects, so make sure you book it when you know you will not be required to wear one for at least 24-48 hours afterwards. The next morning, you are likely to feel lovely and fresh and hydrated. With Radiant peels, you are unlikely to visibly shed skin – it’s possible but more often than not the skin just generally recovers beautifully, with maybe a day or two of slight dryness (which you will treat with your aftercare products). After a deeper peel such as a glow peel, it is possible to get some visible shedding, particularly if you have not had one before, but this tends to be powdery, minor peeling and should only last a couple of days. Plenty of recovery balm and sheer hydration SPF should mean that you will be fine to go out and no-one will notice!

“I only want one peel to see what they are like”
If you want a nice skin treatment to brighten and freshen your skin, then great, but a single peel is probably not the right treatment for you – for this I would almost always recommend a Geneo+ facial, or a hydrating facial with an LED booster. Peels are for a planned, progressive result for skin concerns, although a light peel can be added to other treatment modalities to give a fresh finish! One peel will not get rid of lines and wrinkles, pigment patches or cure rosacea – but it will make your skin feel fresher, brighter and more hydrated if you have a light peel such as a Radiant 30 – and even better if you have an Aqua Infusion treatment or Deep Moisture mask at the same time! Sally will chat this through with you when you come in – some people are nervous about the thought of a peel as they don’t know what will happen, so may want to try just one first before committing – that’s fine, but once you have had one we know you will be hooked!!

Peels are often prescribed as part of an ongoing skin treatment pathway, or may be used ad-hoc for a flare up of acne, for example. Prices start at £99 for a Radiant Peel, or £135 for a Glow Peel, and all treatments can be upgraded to include a 30 minute Celluma LED treatment too. Why not arrange a skin consultation and find out more?