Getting a chemical peel can sound like a daunting prospect, but it doesn't have to end with a red, swollen face and peeling skin. There are more gentle, but still very effective, peels that allow you to carry on with your day straight away.
A chemical peel involves an acid solution being applied to the face to chemically break down and exfoliate dead and damaged skin cells, as well as encouraging new ones to grow and stimulating collagen synthesis.
It leaves you with fresher, smoother and younger looking skin that has a real glow to it. So many people can benefit from a chemical peel as they can bring life to dull skin, tackle fine lines and wrinkles, improve the appearance of age spots or other skin discolouration, improve skin texture, and generally just rejuvenate your skin.
I went for a chemical peel (£50) at the Proform Aesthetics Clinic in Glasgow. It's a medium peel and is one of the strongest peels you can get before you go into that territory of needing some down-time afterwards - which you get with a deep peel. The peel they used was 50/50 of the Dermedics Medicated 40% Lactic & Glycolic Acid Chemical Skin Peels.
The treatment begins with your skin being cleansed and toned with Dermedics products. The Pre-Peel Solutions Cleansing Milk is a gentle cleanser that purifies the skin. It's free from SLS, parabens and soap, and it has a neutral pH of 5.5. The Pre-Peel Solutions Toner also maintains the skin's acid mantle for the treatment, with a pH of 5.5.
The peel solution is then applied and is massaged into the skin for 4-5 minutes. You will feel a stinging sensation almost immediately. It's a bit uncomfortable, but isn't painful. You may feel in more in some areas of your face than others too - if this skin is more damaged. I really felt it sting around my nose and on my forehead. The stinging sensation calms as the minutes go on and your skin adjusts to having the acid on it. It's then neutralised, i.e. wiped off, with a solution that stops the acid activity. They finish off with a collagen and SPF moisturiser.
Ideally, you would follow a chemical peel with in-clinic LED Light Therapy (£50). I got this at Proform, straight after my peel. A plastic face mask filled with coloured LED lights that shine on and penetrate the skin, is worn for 20 minutes. You feel absolutely nothing at all, and it's very relaxing. It helps your skin to heal and repair after a peel.
I had 10 minutes of red light therapy (which has anti-ageing and anti-inflammatory effects e.g. stimulating collagen and elastin production, increasing circulation and improving skin elasticity); followed by 10 minutes of green light therapy (to fade age spots and skin discolouration e.g. freckles, red patches, hyperpigmentation or age spots).
After the treatment, my skin was slightly red; like when you come out of a hot bath, but after a few hours, this faded away and my skin already looked brighter and fresher. These results will improve and really show in the weeks after the treatment. Following your treatment, for the rest of the day, you should avoid the sun, do nothing else to your skin, and use fresh pillowcases that night to prevent bacteria.
If you are pregnant, you should completely avoid a chemical peel.
A chemical peel is a great treatment for anyone with dull, dehydrated, tired, oily, breakout-prone or visibly ageing skin, and it may be something worth turning to if you need to give your skin a real boost. How often you should get a chemical peel will depend on your own individual skin condition, but it can be as often as monthly for some.
If you are considering this treatment, talk to the practicioners at your clinic. They will be happy to answer any questions you have.
Main Image - Zenspa1 via Flickr