Today I want to talk about what NOT to do when you are going to be performing peels.
So many people have absolutely wonderful peel experiences – but then there are those that end up with something negative happening. For the most part, these negative experiences can be reduced or even eradicated with some knowledge. I am going to give you some tips today so that all of your peel experiences are positive.
Listening to a friend (or the internet) instead of the manufacturer
This is a biggie. We all have different skin and therefore – different needs. So your favorite Vlogger may have “normal” skin. She has been using acids for years, and her complexion is very light… and on the other hand you have a medium tone. You find your skin easily irritated, and have never used an acid in your life.
The stronger peel that she is using will not work for you. You need to use a milder acid peel – or even just start with a daily acid serum – like our Serum 15 - and work your way up to a peel. If you start off with the stronger acid that someone ELSE is using.. you will be looking at red, burning and irritated skin in the mirror. Not to mention the fact that since your skin is a different color, you may end up with Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation.
So the lesson with this one is to do your own research directly with the manufacturer and never use something just because someone else did. This isn’t makeup – this is acid!
Not preparing dark skin properly.
I used the different skin coloring example prior so that I could talk about this one. There are many, many people out there with darker skin that have used ridiculously strong acids – such as higher percentages of TCA – without issues. … *SO FAR!!!
I want to stress right now that this is NOT the norm. More than ½ of the people with melanin-rich skin will end up with PIH if they don’t pretreat their skin prior to applying an acid. PIH happens when a strong irritant is applied to the skin. It inflames… and then the skin turns dark *up to several shades darker* and becomes very difficult to lighten again.
I will pop in some pictures of what happens when melanin-rich skin types use acids too strong.
Call us cautious – but we want to give you the best chance out there to have beautiful clear, balanced skin – and not a dark, blotchy embarrassing mess.
So always ignore any internet advice out there saying that a TCA 20 or higher is “just fine” because they never had issues. It is NOT and you will end up with a big problem if you don’t follow our advice.
Always start with the lower percentages and make sure that you proceed slowly and with great caution. Use your Fade Bright (or hydroquinone) 2x per day every day for at LEAST 2 weeks – preferably up to 4 or 5 weeks if your skin is darker and wear your SPF of 50 or more always.
Using too high of a percentage – this one I also attribute to the internet.
There are a lot of vloggers out there who are all about using the highest percentage and doing 1 or 2 peels. This is not the way to get beautiful skin. The key is using the acid in the lowest percentage you can that still gives you the benefits you need.
You want to work up slowly – not apply an extremely strong peels and cause pigmentation, redness and prolonged irritation.
You will apply a peel series. That is 6-8 peels in a row to get a nice end result. At that point you can continue on and do another series if you still have problems to address. Or, you can stop for a few weeks and then do a peel periodically to keep your skin looking great.
Skipping the directions
Many times I will be talking with someone and they are telling me that they did X amount of layers of their mandelic acid peel. … I am a bit confused at that point because you don’t layer hydroxy acids… They are just timed and then rinsed off to neutralize.
So why are they applying it that way? I am going to assume that it is just because they didn’t read the instructions. Maybe they heard something about a TCA or Jessners application and just “assumed” all acids are applied the same way.
With acid peels we never want to assume anything. Always read the manual and apply the peel according to the instructions. Also always read any warnings or contraindications for your skin type or coloring.
Don’t wax or shave prior to applying a peel
When you wax or shave you are removing dead skin from your face or body. Waxing is more aggressive than shaving. So men, if you want to do a peel and you don’t have a full beard you can apply the acid to your scruff and not have any issues. If you want to shave, we suggest that you shave 1-2 days prior to applying your peel.
If you are getting waxing done, please wait 1 full week before applying a peel to your face/body. Same thing if you have peeled and then want to do waxing. Wait until the skin is 100% peeled and feeling normal again. This can be anywhere between 1-2 weeks average.
Don’t mix treatment modalities
There is always someone out there wanting to combine needling and peels or laser treatments and peels. Yes indeed you can use all of your favorite treatments… but… you need to space them out – not apply them in a single setting.
We suggest waiting 1 week in-between your treatments. So if you had a microdermabrasion this week, wait until next week to do that peel.
You just did a peel but want to do some needling? Wait 1 week after your peel before you do your needling.
Understand that your skin needs downtime. You need healthy, healed skin before you stress it again. If you don’t follow these recommendations you are going to end up with slow-healing, irritated and possibly pigmented skin.
Treat your skin with care and baby it in-between sessions.
Stopping Retinoids before peels
I want to stress that everyone has different skin tolerances. Some are just fine to use their retinols or retinA right up to the day before their peels. And others are more sensitive.
As a precaution, we recommend that you stop using your retinoids for at least 3 days – and up to 7 days prior to applying your acid peels.
Retinol can caused increased sensitivity in the skin. If you are applying your peels and they are much sharper feeling than they used to be – you can probably attribute that to your retinol. Make sure to give your skin a break prior to your peels to avoid this excess irritation.
Luminosity isn’t forever
Yes, our Luminosity .50 retinol is truly amazing – but it isn’t meant to be an everyday product.
Our .50 retinol is to applied for about 3-5 days after your TCA or Jessners peel was performed.
Apply it the first time right after you rinse off your peel. Then again the next evening … and again … and again… until your skin starts to show signs of flaking. Now you can stop. Seal up your bottle and put it away until the next time you do your peel.
Do NOT pick at the flaking skin
This is a tough one – as those flakes are as tempting to pull on as a pimple is to pop. But try not to do it.
I do have a couple of suggestions for you though.
- If your skin is flaking tiny baby flakes that are dry and itchy. Wash your face. Use your fingertips or a small facial sponge – or even a rough wash cloth. Circular motions on wet skin will help to get some of those off easily – without pulling. Then rinse well and apply something super hydrating like Nano Hyaluronic + emu oil or healing oil to your skin while it’s still moist. Seal it in with some Aquaphor if you are peeling intensely. It will be over in a few days.
- Another option for you is to use an Enzyme Mask such as our Antioxidant Enzyme mask. Let natural enzymes dissolve the dead skin that is ready to come off instead of pulling at it. You can use an enzyme mask as often as you want.
The danger with pulling - is that if the skin isn’t ready to come off – you will end up removing an area ahead of schedule and you will be left with a red mark. Many times that red mark will turn into a dark mark after a few days or weeks. We don’t want that. So exercise caution and if all else fails – wash your face again.
Do NOT go into the sun
This is a biggie. Your freshly peeled skin is super sensitive to irritants and UV rays. Going out into the suns could cause a quick burn – and will most likely cause hyperpigmentation. We understand that dark skin doesn’t burn easily – but after a peel we are all the same and problems can ensue.
Always make sure to apply an SPF of at least 40 or preferably 50 when you are heading out for the day – no matter what your skin coloring.
Wear a hat if possible or long sleeves or pants if you have peeled your body.
I hope that this has helped you understand what NOT to do when you are ready to start performing peels. Take care to follow our recommendations and you will get the very best results possible.
If you still have more questions – just reach out to us … we are here to help.