Jessners Peel Application and Detailed F.A.Q.
Today I am going to talk about and demonstrate the Jessners peel.
It was named after German Dermatologist Dr. Max Jessner who created it in the early 1940’s … It’s now more commonly referred to as Jessners … and is a very popular peel with professionals due to its safety and predictability.
Let’s get started shall we!
First, what is this peel and why do I want to use it?
Jessners is a blend of 14% Saliyclic acid, 14% Lactic acid and 14% Resorcinol.
It’s commonly used on oily and blemish-prone skin, and because of the resorcinol – its excellent for pigmentation as well and is a staple – when dealing with discolorations.
Resorcinol may be a new ingredient name for you – and it’s a great one for pigmentation!
It’s basically a blend of 50% hydroquinone and 50% Cat-e-Kol. It digs deep into the pores and helps to lighten many forms of hyper-pigmentation including PIH.
Let’s do a quick FAQ
Many want to know if this is a good peel to use for melasma – and that’s a good question because you must be EXTREMELY careful to avoid excess inflammation when you are treating it or you will make it worse!
Luckily the salicylic and resorcinol are both excellent ANTI-inflammatories … so a couple of layers will be very acceptable as a treatment.
Will you see a frost (AKA blanching) with this peel?
You can. Resorcinol is known to cause a blanching of the skin and salicylic can cause some as well. This will generally be a speckly frost and not a solid one. What you MAY see is the salicylic crystallizing on the skin.
This isn’t the same and will wipe off with a wet cloth. A TRUE frost will remain on the skin for several minutes.
How will I know when I should stop applying layers?
If this is your first time applying a Jessners peel, we want you to stop after 2 layers. Get a feel of what that will do and how much social down-time you’re going to be dealing with.
This would be considered a Very Superficial Peel - with a light erythema on the skin. That means it’s pink. There’s a possibility you could see a few speckled dots of frost.
A Superficial To Medium peel will be the same – but there can be more speckled frosting across the skin.
How do I apply this peel?
This is applied just like a TCA peel – in layers. Each layer you apply will make the peel stronger. This is great because you can control how much flaking you’re going to get very easily. 1 or 2 layers will be very manageable.
Several layers can be applied to make this a deep peel – but we highly recommend only adding on ONE additional layer at a time as you move up.
Can I apply this with a TCA peel?
This is very common in a professional setting.
Jessners is usually applied as a pre-treatment since the salicylic and resorcinol help to dissolve the harder skin cells that could potentially block TCA penetration.
It’s also especially helpful with oilier skin types – where the excess oil can block acid penetration or lead to an uneven uptake.
This is something that you will move UP to if you feel that either the TCA or Jessners isn’t working well enough on their own. This is an advanced peeling method and we have a detailed tutorial video that you can follow if you are ready for this.
On that note…. I highly recommend that you use the acids INDIVIDUALLY before you think about mixing them in this manner.
Can I apply this with the Dream Peel?
Yes you can. By applying a layer of Vitamin A after a TCA or Jessners peel you can intensify the flaking. I will demonstrate that in this peel video.
How do you prepare for a medium depth peel such as this one?
We want your skin to be healthy and exfoliated before we apply an acid.
The perfect product to prepare your skin with is our Retinol Molecular Serum every evening to even out the skin. I suggest the .20%.
*If you have prescription Tretinoin that’s great too! Another alternative would be an acid serum like our Serum 15 or Serum 30.
Very Important Note Here for Ethnic skin coloring (Fitzpatrick 3-6):
If you have Olive toned or darker skin, we always recommend you to prepare with a melanin inhibitor such as our Fade Bright or a hydroquinone product for at least 2 weeks prior to a deeper peel.
This will help to prevent Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation. Nothing is ever 100% - but this helps immensely, so use it 2x per day – every day.
Then daily protect your skin with antioxidants such as Vitamin C and always wear a broad screen SPF of at least 30 and*preferably 40 or 50.
How many layers of Jessners can I apply?
We generally recommend no more than 4-5 layers. In a professional setting they may continue to apply based on how your skin is responding. So, it is POSSIBLE for you to work your way up to more … but you need to exert caution when applying salicylic and resorcinol.
Before we get started, here are a few warnings:
Always drink some water before and after applying your Jessners peel.
Vitamin A will cause extreme sensitivity. This can make your peel feel more intense than it needs too. To decrease this … stop usage of retinoids about 5 days prior to peel application. If you aren’t sensitive, you can use your products up to the peel application.
Stronger peels like Jessners and TCA could possibly cause unintended color changes in the skin. That’s why we recommend the application of Fade Bright or another melanin inhibitor before a peel. It is less likely with lighter skin tones – but can happen to anyone at any time. *The higher the percentage the higher the potential of this occurring.
Do not use any scrubbing granules or abrasive scrub sponges for a few days prior to a peel. This will lead to uneven application of the acid.
Do not use needling techniques the same week as a peel. If you perform needling, wait an entire week OR MORE…. before applying any peels to your skin. The same thing goes for after care. Be done flaking 100% before you start needling again.
Never apply a peel to tan skin. There is excess melanin and that can lead to spotting.
Do not apply Jessners if you are pregnant.
Do not apply to skin that has been waxed or shaved within 24 hours.
Do not use peels if you have been on Accutane in the past year.
Do not apply Jessners if you are unhealthy or have active herpes simplex. You may apply a peel after you are on a preventative prescription only.
Now let’s get onto the application. Do you have everything you need?
**Gloves if you don’t want your fingers to peel
Something to fan with
After care products: Luminosity or Dream Peel
Now you can peel along with me!
If you have extremely sensitive skin you can always use a numbing agent prior to any chemical peel. Any of the “caine” products work well. Just follow their instructions and once your time is up. Wipe it off and wash your face 2x with one of our acid cleansers to get all of the cream off.
Wash your face WELL. One of our acid cleansers would be an excellent choice. I used the AB for my acne prone skin. Our Revitalizing Glycolic is an excellent choice for anyone.
Pat everything dry and wipe your Prep Solution over all areas that you are going to be peeling.
--- WHY prep? If you don’t remove the oils and any serums or creams from your skin – the acid won’t penetrate evenly. This is VERY important.
*If you don’t have our solution you can use a 90% alcohol in its place. If you can’t find that locally, the 70% should be fine. Just go over your skin two times to make sure.
Follow Me. We will go horizontally working our way from the Top – Down.
Now down temples and between the brows
And now we continue down the face.
If you aren’t applying the acid down your neck – you can just feather this down a little bit. If you are going down the neck and onto the chest *which I highly recommend, then just apply everywhere until all areas have been covered.
Let that air dry
*****IF you don’t want to have peeling fingertips – it’s time to put on some gloves. Most of the time I skip this – but go right ahead if you want to.
Now it is time to apply the Jessners and I want to make a BIG POINT HERE.
It is very important that you have enough solution on the pad. We want it WET --- just not dripping wet.
An easy way to do this is to get a little bowl or cup .... I have a lid here.
Pour some solution in and you can use that to dip and also to squeeze any excess solution back into.
I like to completely saturate the gauze – and then give it a tiny squeeze or shake. As long as it isn’t dripping – you are ready to start applying.
My pad is ready so I am going to apply the first layer just like I did the prep solution. Top to bottom.
Re- dip and squeeze if needed.
Once I am all done applying I need to wait 5 minutes for the acid to react with my skin.
Ill set a timer and then we can talk about a few things…
By the 5-minute mark some people can see erythema on the skin. This is very common with Jessners and to be expected.
There is also a slight possibility you might see a tiny speck or two of a frost. This would be from the resorcinol – and is perfectly normal.
If you are seeing a white haze on the entire face – this is not a frost. This is going to be the salicylic crystals that remain once the alcohol dries off. You will see them magically vanish when you add the next layer of solution on. … and then return again once it dries.
Now that 5 minutes is up – I am ready to apply another layer of Jessners
I hate to waste solution – so I just re-use my original pad and just add a bit more solution to it and apply the same way.
Wait 5 minutes…..
Always wait a full 5 minutes in between layers…. you can absolutely wait LONGER before you apply another layer if you wish. I have waited up to 10 minutes before.
You don’t need to suffer. When your skin feels better you can move on.
Ok, time for the next layer. Notice that I am still NOT rinsing. I am going to Rewet my gauze pad with more solution – give it a squeeze and apply just like the first layer.
Now we time it for another 5 minutes.
When we have decided that this is the end of our peel – we just stop applying layers.
You can now do 1 of 2 things:
If you are truly bothered by the acid – you can rinse it off now with ice cold water.
Salicylic can only be diluted…. So continue rinsing for a few minutes until your skin feels normal again. Then, drink an 8oz. glass of water and apply your Dream Peel, Luminosity or just healing products such as emu oil or our Essentials Healing blend.
PREFERABLY you will want to leave the acid ON for the next 4+ hours. This helps you to get a better peel as the acids can work longer. Again… Drink an 8oz. glass of water - which is highly recommended when applying salicylic acid.
Now there are a couple of Schools Of Thought here once our 4 hours are up.
Do we RINSE the Jessners off now and apply the Finishing products…. OR… do we just leave it on and apply the finishing products?
Truly, either way is acceptable to us – including applying your Dream Peel or Luminosity immediately after finishing your layers.
Personally, I like to do my peels before I go to bed… so waiting around for 4 hours before I apply my Dream Peel isn’t going to work for me. I would just apply my Dream Peel and go to bed.
I am going to apply it NOW … since I am all done. Just 1 small pump is all that we need.
If you are doing this in the day hours though, you can wait your 4 hours and then rinse it off and apply the Dream Peel, Luminosity or just your healing products.
REMEMBER – if you are applying the Dream Peel …. You will only apply this ONE TIME as a finishing layer and will NOT apply any other retinoids (*such as luminosity)Norris the remaining days.
Rinse the DP off in about 6-8 hours and use only healing products from here on.
We are done!
So, let me answer a few common questions.
How long will my face be pink or have the frosting?
Most of the time any frosting will go away within 30 minutes. With jessners the erythema can last a few hours to a few days. This is normal.
I want to mention swelling when you are doing a deeper peel.
If you are applying several layers (3+) you could potentially see some swelling in the skin tomorrow. A cool compress should help and it will generally go away in a few hours.
Any pigmentation you have on your face will become temporarily darker!
If you are already dealing with hyperpigmentation you will notice that the spots will definitely look more intense. This is temporary and can happen with many people. It is the pigment dumping into the upper layers. This is actually something GREAT if you are dealing with spots as they will be flaking off and getting lighter in the next week or so.
Another reason for darkness in the skin is that it’s dead skin.
Dead skin tends to turn darker before it flakes. Some people will see this and others will not. It’s more prone in those doing several layers or a higher percentage. Just like before, the darkness will flake away once the skin starts peeling.
Will this get all of your pigmentation in a single peel?
Most likely not. Even deeper peels AREN’T a miracle!
Pigmentation runs very deep and can take an entire series of 8 – or more to get rid of. With peels it’s not a one-time event. Continue on and things will improve. Have patience and continue your daily treatments like our Fade Bright and SPF 50 in-between peels.
How long will it take for the skin to peel?
On average FACIAL skin will start to get dry and start the peeling process on day 3 or 4 after the application. It will start around the nose and mouth and will radiate outwards over the course of the next 4-6 days.
Neck and chest will take longer to flake. Generally they will just have a rough texture and you won’t see large flakes. Expect this to start around day 6-10 and then go on for another week or so.
Can I make it peel faster?
Generally speaking, Jessners will make the skin flake pretty fast. You can definitely intensify the flaking by using either the Luminosity for 3 days or by applying the Dream Peel one time. Any other methods aren’t really going to be beneficial. Just let the process happen.
Once your skin is actively flaking and the dead skin is mostly gone … an Enzyme Mask can help to get the remainder off more quickly. Enzymes ONLY target dead skin, so they are super beneficial to apply when you want to get this excess skin off. I like to apply a mask every day after about day 5 to help remove the last flakes.
How often can I do these peels?
This depends entirely on how many layers you are applying. Follow our recommendations in your Peel Manual. On average, most will be looking at maybe 1 peel per month.
If you have any more questions about applying acid peels, we are here to help Monday – Friday from 9am – 5pm eastern.
Just reach out to us.
Have a great day!