My First Chemical Facial Peel

Y’all know I’m a skincare fanatic. So it could come as a shock to some that I don’t have glowing skin, and that I constantly struggle with breakouts. But that doesn’t mean I’ve given up hope for my skin to get better. I’m so excited to share today’s blog post about what I’ve been doing to take my skincare to the next level. Here we go!

Over the past three months, I got my first ever chemical face peel after the recommendation from my dermatologist. I’ve briefly touched on my skin concerns in the past but I have combination/oily skin that is acne prone. I’ve always struggled with breakouts here and there since I was a teenager, but this past May something was different. The breakouts weren’t coming in phases; it was all the time. And they were different kinds of blemishes – lots of under the skin pimples and whiteheads, and they would take forever to heal. I started to see a new dermatologist, Dr. Elizabeth Grieshaber, and she has been my saving grace! She immediately got me started on a new routine. After about two months, she was pleased with my progress but not 100 percent. She thought there could be more we could be doing, which is when she suggested doing a series of chemical peels to help even further. Enter Dawn, my aesthetician

There are many, many different types of peels, but after discussing my skin concerns as well as Dawn’s opinion, we ended up going with the SkinCeuticals Micropeel Plus 20 Solution. This chemical peel, also known as salicylic acid peel, features  20% salicylic acid to help reduce the appearance of acne, fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, laxity, dullness, and skin imperfections. Everything I was looking for! I was so pumped to start these treatments. Me and my high school best friend would always say back in the day that we wished we could peel like a snake and reveal gorgeous, new skin. Hello, chemical peel! I’ll tell you upfront, I’m obsessed with chemical peels! You can absolutely do one session but if you’re looking for optimal results, they suggest doing a series of three. So thank you to my mom for gifting me these for my birthday! 

From start to finish the peel lasted about 15 minutes (IF that). It was so fast! No machines, lasers, or anything like that. Your doctor or aesthetician will cleanse your skin, administer the peel, let it sit for about three to five minutes, wipe it off, and BOOM, you’re done! But let me tell you, those three to five minutes feel like an eternity. Why? Because it is one of the most painful, burning, stinging sensations EVER. Dawn tried to warn me; she really did. I mentally prepared myself, but I didn’t know exactly what was to come. As Dawn says, it feels “hot and spicy” on your face. For all my New Orleans people, say you just ate super spicy crawfish for three hours straight and your mouth is on fire. That’s what your face feels like. I’m not sugar coating this because it’s rough. BUT, you just got to know that pain is beauty! After the time is up, the aesthetician wipes the chemical off with water and it instantly starts to cool down. Trust me, if I can do it, y’all can, too!

Post peel I had some “down time” but nothing I couldn’t handle (or hide). I was beat red like a tomato for 24 hours after the peel, but I wore makeup and you couldn’t even tell. You’ll also feel a tightness in your skin, and it will be warm to the touch. After the redness faded, then the dry-ness arrived. It’s crazy how right after the peel your skin feels baby soft and within 24 hours, it feels like sandpaper. It’s wild the transformation your skin goes through during this process! Every person’s skin is different and will react to certain things differently. My aesthetician said some people peel for three days, some a week, and a few rare cases almost up to two weeks. I was fortunate enough to only peel for three days. I got the peels on Tuesday afternoons, and I was completely done peeling by Friday evening/Saturday morning. 

IMPORTANT Do’s and Don’ts Post Peel

  • Wash your face with cool water. I really don’t even need to say this because it will be obvious based on the burning and hot sensation your skin is feeling that you will not want to wash your face with warm or hot water post peel. Cool or cold water will help soothe the skin.
  • Moisturize and hydrate. Your skin is going to feel rough, dry, tight, and literally will be flaking off so make sure to use a medium-to-thick moisturizer reinforce your skin’s protective barrier. Drink more water, too. You don’t want to be dehydrated and have your skin feeling even more tight. 
  • Wear sunscreen. You should wear sunscreen every day already, but especially post peel. Your skin will be extremely delicate, so you need to protect it! Try to avoid direct sun exposure as much as possible, and wear at least an SPF 30+ sunscreen. Can’t stress this enough!
  • Skip your workout. Increased blood circulation to the face can escalate warming, tingling, redness or other of the uncomfortable side effects. Skip activities like exercising, dry saunas and steam rooms on the day you have the peel done. 
  • Don’t exfoliate. Your skin is going to be so rough and flaking off; you’re going to want to exfoliate, but DON’T! Peels are maximum-strength exfoliants so you don’t need to use a scrub, brush or exfoliating cleanser on top of it. Wait 3-4 days before using another exfoliator. Throughout this process it is important to remember to never exfoliate and let your skin do it’s thang, naturally. And exfoliating means picking at the skin, too! You’re going to be so tempted to pick at and peel the skin off your face, but if you do this, especially before the skin is ready, you can cause more redness, sensitivity, and even scarring. As you wash your face with your cleanser and water, using gentle circular motions is all of the “exfoliating” you need. 
  • Skip your normal skincare routine. If you use any retinol creams, serums, or toners in your everyday skincare routine, put those on hold for at least three days or even once your skin feels “back to normal.” After the peel, I just stuck it to cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen during the day, and cleanser, moisturizer, and eye cream at night until I was back to normal. Less is definitely more post peel!

It’s been almost two weeks since my third and final peel, and my skin is noticeably smoother, brighter, and clearer, just in time for all of the holidays coming up! Now don’t get me wrong, I still have blemishes. With my skin-type, I will always be prone to blemishes, but it’s such a sigh of relief to see how diminished they have become, and the change in my overall skintone. I definitely plan on continuing to get chemical peels, whether I stick with the salicylic acid since I’m acne prone, or switch it up to do a glycolic one every now and then to help with brightening so I can keep getting great results. 

If you have any questions regarding my skincare journey or regarding chemical peels in particular, let me know! And I would definitely recommend asking your doctor if peels are a good fit for you!

See y’all next time!

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