Let's Talk About Professional Exfoliation, Also Known as Chemical Peels!
We'll give you a brief skin science lesson first.
Every time we step outside, we expose our skin to harmful ultraviolet rays, changes in climate, pollutants and other elements that do damage. They can cause sunspots, wrinkles and other blemishes that ages skin. Luckily, we have a few biological processes working in our favor, and chemical peels give us the ability to use those processes to our advantage.
Here's what you need to know. We are constantly shedding our skin. In fact, we shed our entire skin about once a month, and as fast as we shed those cells, our body makes new ones to replace them, we call this your cell turnover rate. These new cells gradually push their way to the top to form the stratum corneum and eventually shed off. We lose roughly 30,000-40,000 skin cells every hour, and almost a million cells every day. When we develop imperfections such as sunspots or scars, they only affect the top few layers of skin. So logic would tell us that removing those layers of skin would help remove those imperfections.
It's the cell turnover rate that slows down over time and causes for increased signs of aging, such as dull skin, dryness, and fine lines. Also slowed cell turnover rate can clog hair follicles and lead to congestion under the skin. That's where chemical peels can help. When you shed layers of skin your body activates new layers of skin cells to grow.
This is what the layers of your skin looks like. Most manual or gritty exfoliants slough off the first few layers of the stratum corneum, the layer of skin you see. As shown here, the active cells live in the lower layers of the skin, such as melanocytes which are responsible for pigmentation and sun spots, we'll get more into that later. Also in the lower layers are the stem cells, which are responsible for new cell growth. By doing a professional exfoliation and removing more superficial layers you activate new cell growth, and can keep your natural cell turnover rate high. The best part is that chemical peels take advantage of a natural biological process that is constantly at work in our bodies, one that most don't even know about.
How do peels actually work?
Without going into too much chemistry, because that would even give us a headache, each professional exfoliation targets different layers of the skin.
Enzymes break the protein bonds found in the stratum corneum, and are the most gentle of exfoliants or peels. Because they do not penetrate into live tissue, they do not have any negative affects on the skin, and can be used on all skin types. This is a great start to peels if you are wary.
Dermaplaning is using a blade with specialized techniques to go past the stratum corneum and slightly into the stratum lucidum. This is a very skilled service that should always be done under the supervision of a dermatologist or physician.
Microdermabrasion can vary based on the type, whether it is a diamond tip, diamond crystals, or other ingredients such as flower petals. Yes we said flower petals. The technique is basically to do a manual exfoliation that also sucks of the dead skin cells, and creates an acute inflammatory response to force blood to the skin and to heal damage. This is another treatment that should be done under the care of a physician or dermatologist.
Acid peels are what we use! Esthetic peels are less aggressive than medical peels but allow more control with the treatment results. There are various peels that penetrate different levels, but the idea is the activate the keratinoyctes to create new growth, and lift away pigmentation, congestion, and damage in the process. This can also increase stem cell activity and cause for new collagen and elastin, helping us look younger. YAY!
Lasers penetrate the deepest, into the dermis, and should only be done by a trained licensed professional directly supervised by the dermatologist or physician!
Who should get peels or professional exfoliation?
Every individual can have a peel. The key is to match the correct peel to the skin type and lifestyle of the individual. Even the most sensitive skin type can benefit from peels.
Which peel is right for me?
This is something you should consult with your skin professional about. They will have you fill out a questionnaire, do a skin assessment, and figure out which peel is right for your concerns.
Do peels hurt?
This can all vary on your skin type, and your pain tolerance. Most often a warming tingling sensation is felt, some have described it as a mild sun burn. The skin does develop a tolerance overtime, and soon enough you will enjoy the feeling of your skin feeling alive!
Is there downtime for peels?
It all depends once again on the peel and the person. You will always want to go home with aftercare, please follow this! Most often you'll see some slight redness, and after a day or two you will only see how great your skin feels.
Is there anything I should do before a peel?
A custom facial is recommended before your first peel series. That way the esthetician can access your skin, recommend an at home regimen, and answer any questions. You will also want to be honest on any medications, or products being used, as to make sure you have no adverse reactions.
What results will I see?
This can depend on how many treatments you decide to do. It can take anywhere from 4-12 treatments to get the desired affect. Your skin professional will go over this with you. You should definitely notice glowing, hydrated, healthy looking skin.
Did You Know!
Hooves, claws, horns, and even the shells of turtles and spines of porcupines are composed of keratin, the same same cells that make up our skin, hair, and nails.