Getting a healthy glow can’t always be achieved at home, even with a thorough beauty regime. Using over the counter exfoliants to sloughing off your dead skin isn’t always enough. It’s now time to step it up a notch with something stronger like a chemical peel.
Since the 90's this treatment has had a bad rap for making your skin raw and blistered, who can forget Samantha’s beet red face after a chemical peel in Sex and the City? “Those days are over,” says Vitahl’s Aesthetician and Laser Specialist, Michelina Quaranta, “they are now formulated smarter, instead of a single acid at a higher strength they are using lower amounts of multiple acids as well as purer ingredients for a better outcome."
A peel will speed up the exfoliation process encouraging increased cell turnover quicker. They can calm rosacea, even out skin tone including acne scars and sun spots, reduce fine lines and wrinkles. They will improve the texture of the skin as well as help control oil production and prevent dead skin from clogging your pores, which in turn means fewer breakouts.
There are different strengths of peels depending on what you want to achieve and also the time of year. Quaranta believes for this time of year try a self-neutralizing PCA Skin Sensi Peel, it’s excellent for sensitive skin, suitable year around and can be customizable to fit the individual’s needs. Because the peel is applied in layers it’s a buildable treatment allowing you to control the strength.
A relatively quick and painless procedure that only takes about half an hour. Your face is cleansed and toned making sure all the oil is removed thus allowing the peel to penetrate into the skin more effectively, for some this may tingle. Next, using a cotton square, the first layer is applied.
Your face can feel warm or again tingle a bit, which is temporary and usually subsides after a few minutes. Your skin will continue to be monitored after each layer. Quaranta uses a small facial fan to help dry and cool down the surface. If the tingling remains relatively low, under a five, on a scale of 1-10 then the next layer is applied, this can be repeated up to four layers. However, if the skin gets very red and irritated or blanches then no more applications will be administered.
Once the layers are completed, a spot treatment of Intensive Pigment Eraser can be applied for any brown spots followed by an Advanced Treatment Booster of retinol, which Quaranta says “will help kick-start the shedding process.”
Lastly, a calming balm of hydrocortisone and aloe is applied before the ReBalance moisturizer and a mineral based sunscreen. “Stay clear of chemical sunscreens," says Quaranta "instead use natural ingredients like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide as it won’t irritate the skin.”
On completion, you’re leaving with a glowing (possibly slightly red) face, which you don’t want to wash until the next day and with only lukewarm water. It’s important to remain cool for the next 48 hours, no hot showers, steam rooms, saunas or any excessive perspiration -a perfect excuse not to go to the gym!
You might wonder when the peeling will start. However, despite the name, you won’t actually peel with this treatment. As Sensi peels are gentler on the skin you could experience some light eraser flaking in localized areas, which generally start 48-72 hours after your treatment and can last 2-7 days, but everyone’s experience is slightly different.
Application of the provided ReBalance hydrating moisturizer twice a day is recommended to relieve dryness and control peeling. You can also add a hydrocortisone if the skin starts to feel crepey. It's best to avoid prolonged sun exposure for 7 days and continue to use the mineral sunscreen. After a week you can go back to your usual beauty routine.
TOP TIP: For a cooling and soothing sensation on your face, keep your ReBalance moisturizer in the fridge. Also, you can add PCA Skin’s Intensive Brightening Treatment ($109, pcaskin.com) to your skincare routine to continue targeting discoloration and promote overall brightening and radiance to the skin.
PCA Skin Sensi Peel with Michelina Quaranta, $115, at Vitahl Medical Aesthetics, 1135 W Madison St, 312 634 6100