Sometimes in life we are unlucky and other times, well, things play out just fabulously. While I may be unlucky in being prone to break outs, I am certainly considered lucky that my good friend Liz is an esthetician who has been waiting to get her hands on my face for some time now.
Liz Kennedy , someone who I can say is very passionate about skincare, has been wanting me to try a chemical peel. The word ‘peel’ paired with ‘my face’ had been freaking me out for awhile, and also the word ‘chemical’ while we are at it. But Liz knows her stuff (she is currently in nursing school to continue her knowledge and skill set) and knows I am a model and that my face is a HUGE part of my job. As someone prone to break outs whose skin scars easily, especially because I wear lots of thick layers of make up at work, Liz informed me that “Chemical peels work to exfoliate the outermost layer of your skin as well as tell the deeper layers of your skin to essentially work faster and create new cell turnover.”
This past Monday I headed to lower Manhattan to the office Liz shares with a dermatologist to get my first peel. I was told there would be no down time and the entire process would take about 40 minutes. I could handle that.
After filling out some information about my health and skin, I sat down in a comfy reclining chair, not unlike a dental chair, in the clean, white space. Liz first cleansed my skin with an oil, a method that is gaining a lot of traction these days.
Next, and apparently this is a step a lot of estheticians doing a peel skip, is extraction. It hurt a bit, but clearing dirt out of stubborn blackheads is important and probably better done by a professional than myself. As you can see in the picture below, the poking and prodding left my skin temporarily red in some areas.
Finally it was time for the peel, applied by rubbing with fingertips. As you can see in the photo below, and you may have to zoom in, the little white dots are the top layer of my skin being sloughed off. Ew! Liz lectured me for not exfoliating regularly during this process. I’ve now learned it’s very important to do this once a week because removing the top layer of skin makes it easier to tackle acne and scars closer to the root.
Once the peel was applied, there was some serious itching and burning going on, so Liz likes to continue gently rubbing the face, taking the edge off that urge to scratch and rip your own face off. After a few minutes, the light therapy begins.
This is another step that Liz loves to do that is commonly left out of the peel process. By rubbing this bright and warm light over the face, the peel sinks even deeper into the pores. This was my favorite part. The warm light almost put me to sleep! It’s a great reprieve from the pain of the peel.
So what is the recovery time like in a light/medium peel like mine? As you can see in the image below, my face was rather red the moment I got out of the chair…
You may be wondering what are the effects of a chemical peel, right? Well, I can say that, having had the peel a few days ago, many of my flat, red scars have been lightly scabbing over. I am keeping them moisturized as they peel and as of day 4 post-peel, they have faded considerably. A few tiny pimples appeared in the chemical peel’s wake, which is supposedly a normal phenomenon after your first peel. A lot of deep-rooted gunk is effectively removed. Unfortunately, my results may have been tampered with as I had two shoots this week, post-peel, where I was wearing thick make-up for 8 hours+, but I think if I keep my make-up wearing to a minimum over the weekend I can recover just fine. For those with problem skin, they say it’s a good idea to follow up your peel with another one in about a month.
All in all, I’m glad I tried this peel, if not to try something new for my skin, but as a way to clean things up after a particularly messy and humid summer. If you are NYC based, I recommend Liz for all of your skin care woes. It’s best to contact her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and feel free to follow her on Instagram as she will be prepping skin at some exciting shows in this season’s upcoming New York Fashion Week.