all about our chemical peels

a chemical peel is a form of exfoliation with acids that target the keratinized or dead skin cells on the very outer layers of the skin. chemical peels help to increase the rate of turnover and sloughing off of these dead layers so that newer cells can reach the surface more quickly.

there are different acids used in chemical peels that target a variety of desired results but they all promote the exfoliation of dead cells on the surface (and inside the pores) of the skin.

OUR CHEMICAL PEELS

we work with a variety of chemical peels at skinSALVATION. your esthetician will help you figure out which of our peels is the best choice for your skin. below is a description of the different peels we offer in our clinic.

MANDELIC PEELS

our 20% and 35% mandelic acid peels are oftentimes the only peels many of our clients ever need and this is because they do their job so incredibly well. we use these peels more than all the other peels combined at our clinic. the many benefits of our mandelic acid peels include:

  • anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties which translate to a reduction in inflammation and inflamed acne
  • regulating sebum production while improving skin cell turnover preventing and clearing clogged pores
  • lightening and brightening, lifting hyper-pigmentation and improving the overall tone of the skin
  • promoting collagen production which decreases as we age – many clients notice a difference in their complexion and appearance after just one mandelic peel treatment. this also has an effect on the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, resulting in a more vibrant, youthful appearance.
  • safe for all skin types – mandelic acid is the most gentle of all the acids used as chemical exfoliating agents. this makes it well tolerated by even the more sensitive skin types.

OTHER PEELS

lightening of hyper-pigmentation is a major concern for many of our clients. we have great peel options that work beautifully for lifting pigmentation quickly. however, we counsel our clients to first do the work to get cleared up before worrying about the left over pigmentation. talk to your esthetician if you think you might be ready to try one of the peels below.

  • our 10% TCA depigmentation peel is a mild but very effective peel that delivers lighteners down to the melanocyte (pigment producing skin cell) without traumatizing the skin. the TCA peel contains other buffering acids that target hyper-pigmentation and sun damage. this is a wonderful peel for evening skin tone, reducing acne, retexturing the skin and refining pore size.
  • our 20% lactic lightening peel contains lactic acid, a milk-based ingredient that hydrates and exfoliates the skin in a gentle manner. this peel also includes two superb lighteners: arbutin and kojic acid that work with lactic to lighten and hydrate the skin.
  • our progressive pro peel is our strongest facial chemical peel offering. check out our blog post on the pro peel to learn about this powerful peel.
  • our smoothing body peel consists of a 2 step process. the pre-peel accelerator mask (step 1) provides nourishing ingredients that soften and hydrate the skin’s surface. the smoothing body peel (step 2) improves the appearance and texture of the skin with a combination of exfoliating, smoothing and brightening ingredients. this treatment is an excellent choice for promoting an even skin tone and clear complexion on the upper arms, shoulders and back.

shining a light on LED Therapy

ABOUT LED

LED was first discovered by NASA and stands for light emitting diode, which is a tiny computer chip encased in a glass bulb. there are different LED wavelengths resulting in different colors. each wavelength or color provides unique therapeutic benefits to the skin. LED delivers light to the skin similar to how plants absorb light from the sun. LED therapy is non-invasive, painless, requires no recovery time and is safe for all skin types.

OUR ACNE TARGETED LED LIGHT

we offer LED light treatments at our clinic in San Francisco both in combination with other therapies like extractions and chemical peels or as a stand alone appointment. our LED treatments consist of exposing the entire face to our acne targeting LED light panel for up to 20 minutes depending on the treatment type. the light is engineered to feel warm and soothing and clients often will fall asleep during the LED portion of their treatment.

our professional LED light uses the red and blue wavelengths in combination. together these work to encourage the production of adenosine triphosphate or ATP. the skin cells and surrounding structures then utilize this abundance of ATP to carry out skin repair functions that produce visible results.

red light stimulates connective tissue cells called fibroblasts to secrete collagen proteins that are used to maintain and repair the structural framework of the skin. this translates to more efficient wound healing, reduction of redness and lifting of old pigmentation left from topical damage. existing breakouts heal faster and the overall appearance of the skin is visibly improved, healthy-looking and glowing.

blue light targets and destroys Cutibacterium acnes or c. acnes bacteria. these bacteria proliferate inside acne lesions and their waste products contribute to the inflammation that results in a breakout-type pimple. blue light also reduces excessive sebum production inside the pore which helps to prevent the development of the seeds that lead to inflamed and non-inflamed acne.

TREATMENT RESULTS

results differ from person to person. some can be seen immediately after one treatment and others happen more slowly with several treatments over time.

immediate results:

  • a noticeable reduction in healing time post treatment for both peels and extractions with less rebound inflammation after treatments
  • when the light is applied to an area at the very beginning of the inflammation process it can completely reverse it preventing the breakout that was bound to occur without the help of the light. this may not work every time for everyone but it is something we have seen occur for many clients over the years.

results seen over time with several treatments spaced close together:

  • reduced visible signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles
  • improved tone and rejuvenation of the skin
  • accelerated lifting of post inflammatory hyper-pigmentation left from old acne breakouts or picking
  • a more pronounced reduction of inflamed breakout frequency and severity

client’s can book any of our LED treatments through our online scheduling platform. feel free to reach out to your esthetician with any questions regarding this or any of our treatment offerings.

what’s a pro peel and should i get one?

ABOUT THE PEEL

the PROGRESSIVE PRO PEEL was originally developed by our acne researcher and guru, Dr. James Fulton. he created this TCA and lactic-acid based peel system for the most congested types of acne, as well as for anti-aging and brightening purposes. it’s also a good option for those who:

    • are in a hurry to clear up as soon as possible
    • are sensitive to extractions and must rely solely on exfoliation to get clear
    • have plateaued in clarity with the regular acne treatments and peels
    • have very deep pores and the seeds are buried too far under the skin to fully extract with the regular treatments, and you typically get rebound inflamed breakouts after treatments
    • are looking to lift pigmentation left from old inflamed or picked acne lesions
    • are interested in smoothing fine lines and wrinkles
    • would like to improve the overall texture of your skin

here are some guidelines and information to read up on, when considering this more aggressive yet highly effective peel.

BEFORE THE PEEL

    • be careful to avoid sun exposure for the 2-4 weeks leading up to and the 1-2 weeks after the peel. we cannot perform this peel if you have a sunburn or sensitivity of any kind.
    • the peel application can make for an intense experience, so getting mentally prepared to deal with the discomfort of the peel application will be helpful. clients oftentimes will reach an 8-10 on the peeling sensation scale.
    • you will need your esthetician’s approval and a patch test before booking this peel to ensure that you are a good candidate

THE PEEL TREATMENT ITSELF

during the 30-minute treatment, we won’t cleanse your skin like we normally do with the signature acne treatments. that being said, it’s best to come in with a clean face – no makeup, but spf is fine. the peel is composed of 4 different chemical peel solutions that are applied onto the skin in layers. we will give you a large fan to keep you as cool as possible, but given the nature of the peel, a burning sensation is somewhat unavoidable. however, this is only present during the peel application, and we’ll wait for the sensation to come down in-between the application of each layer.

    • level 1 of the peel degreases the skin and wipes away the dead skin cells sitting on the surface layer. clients normally feel 1 or 2 on a scale of 1-10 of heat and spiciness with this layer.
    • level 2 is a slightly stronger blend of acids than in level 1, and clients might feel a 3 or 4.
    • level 3 is an even stronger blend of acids than level 2, and is the most intense layer. clients often will reach an 8, 9 or 10. keep in mind, that layer 3 may be skipped depending on the skin’s reaction to the first two layers. not to worry though, great results can still be achieved even if we skip this layer – it’s important to honor the health of your skin vs being overly aggressive with chemicals, to keep your skin healthy and happy.
    • level 4 is a blend of vitamin a and lactic acids. happily, this layer is not as stimulating as the rest, so it tends to cool things down. this layer leaves a yellow tint to the skin, which makes it difficult to apply makeup on top. we will however, finish off the treatment with an application of moisturizing spf.

IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE PEEL

  • you can wear a face shield (cone ones like this work best or a hat with a shield like this) instead of a mask after the PRO PEEL appointment to prevent rubbing and friction on your way out the door. or you can bring a loose light and clean face mask to wear out and take off when you get in your car. you’ll also want to avoid situations were you have to wear a mask as much as possible in the week after your PRO PEEL.
  • make sure to stock up on any post treatment products that you’ll need for healing in the week after the peel. you can pick these up at your appointment.
  • given the activity of this treatment and the yellow tint left by the last layer, we recommend that you lay low for the rest of the day and go home, relax, and stay out of the sun and heat. stay hydrated, and stay cool!

WHAT TO EXPECT IN THE DAYS AFTER THE PEEL

you’ll do the healing regimen (no active products) at home for the 5-7 days after the PRO PEEL. as soon as all peeling has completed, you may start back up on your active clearing regimen.

day 1: expect the skin to look shiny, with a healthy glow, and feel a bit tight. the tightness means that the skin is getting ready to peel!

days 2-5: peeling normally starts a few days after the peel, and lasts about 4 days and sometimes a little longer. the peeling will start around the mouth and inner face, moving towards the outer face and forehead in the next day or two, with the end of the peeling occurring around the hairline. sometimes the peeling is much more minimal. if this happens, don’t worry, you will still have good results and we can graduate you to the extra strength version for your next PRO PEEL.

results may vary but these photos depict the type of peeling that can occur in days 2-5.

 

*during the peeling days 2-5, it’s important to keep as hydrated (topically and internally) as possible to encourage the best results. you can use your hydrating gel, cream, shea butter or rosewater spray as much as you like throughout the day to support this process.

LAST THOUGHTS:

we have seen this peel improve the clarity of everyone who has done them, though it may take a few peels to see a change. clients can accelerate their treatment plan by getting PRO PEELS every 2-3 weeks for the best and fastest results.

also, keep in mind, any underlying systemic issues present that are not dealt with are beyond any topical treatment – the acne will be resistant until these are addressed, no matter how many PRO PEELS we do.

this is a service that must be booked on approval of your esthetician, so reach out to her by email for this and with any other questions you may have.

 

acne safe toothpaste testing results are in!

we have some good news and we have some sad news about acne safe toothpastes:

first the sad news: our beloved kiss my face toothpaste gels that our clients have been using successfully for many years have been discontinued, as the manufacturer – kiss my face – appears to have shut down. they are no longer available.

the good news is that kim found several natural great looking alternatives and we have been testing these out on ourselves and on our clients for the last couple months. the testing results are in and the following toothpastes and gels have been deemed to be acne safe and can be found online and at many whole foods stores.

AS ALWAYS, make sure to double and triple check the ingredients of what you are looking to buy and use, because manufacturers often will change up ingredients to non-acne-safe ones without any notice. rest assured that skinSALVATION brand products are always acne-safe, and we would never reformulate with cloggy ingredients!

the safest bets

schimdt’s wondermint toothpaste is our favorite, and is so minty! most natural and acne-safe toothpastes are very mild and not minty at all. rainbow grocery doesn’t carry this, so you’ll have to find it at a whole foods or online. we’ve only tested the wondermint so far, and will update as we test out other flavors. to be safe, avoid the coconut-lime flavor!

ingredients: water, hydrated silica, glycerin, xylitol, calcium carbonate, dicalcium phosphate, magnolia acuminate bark extract, sodium phosphate, zinc citrate, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, stevia rebaudiana leaf/stem powder, melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) leaf oil, lycium barbarum (goji berry) fruit extract, punica granatum (pomegranate) extract, ubiquinone (coenzyme q10), tocopherol (vitamin e; sunflower-derived), natural flavor, xanthan gum, sodium methyl cocoyl taurate, sodium benzoate

this spry xylitol peppermint toothpaste was also safe, easily found at rainbow grocery here in sf.

ingredients: water, glycerin, silica, xylitol, erythritol, lauryl glucoside, sodium methyl cocoyl taurate, zinc citrate, cranberry extract, aloe vera, xanthan gum, cellulose gum, stevia, natural peppermint flavor, sodium benzoate, titanium dioxide

the maybe’s

this nature’s gate creme de peppermint one has mixed reviews – kerry broke out the first day she started using it, so took a break to clear up. but the second time around, she didn’t break out. we have another client who said that this broke her out too, so it may be best to avoid this one to be super safe, but are including it on this list for folks who can’t find the others above.

ingredients: calcium carbonate, glycerin, water (eau), aloe barbadensis leaf juice, sodium lauroyl sarcosinate, xanthan gum, flavor (aroma/arôme)*, mentha piperita (peppermint/menthe poivrée) oil, quillaja saponaria (soap bark/buisson à savon) root extract, camellia sinensis (white tea/thé blanc) leaf extract, punica granatum (pomegranate/grenade) fruit extract, vaccinium macrocarpon (cranberry/canneberge) fruit extract, vitis vinifera (grape/raisin) seed extract, zingiber officinale (ginger/gingembre) root extract, sodium bicarbonate, calcium glycerophosphate, bisabolol, menthol.

sensodyne has long been a questionable one as well. christine, skinSALVATION’s first esthetician hire, cleared up dramatically after seeing kim for several months. she still broke out around her mouth though, and once she stopped using the acne-safe-on-paper sensodyne and switched to kiss my face, she cleared up completely. thus, we’ve always written it off as not acne-safe.

however, another long-time sS’er AK has used this exact sensodyne pronamel gentle whitening formula with no problems. so, we’ve included it here for those brave enough to try.

active ingredients:
potassium nitrate 5%, sodium fluoride 0.25% (0.15% fluoride ion)
inactive ingredients:
water, sorbitol, hydrated silica, glycerin, peg-8, cocamidopropyl betaine, flavors, xanthan gum, sodium saccharin, titanium dioxide, sodium hydroxide

the definitely not’s

this would include most all toothpastes commercially available – even ones marketed as being ‘natural’ (like tom’s! big eye roll). if the ingredient listing reads any of these 4 cloggers, move on to investigating the next tube!

  • sodium lauryl sulfate
  • sodium laureth sulfate
  • carageenan
  • coconut oil

acne-causing heavy metals in protein powders – how a client’s own detective research cleared him up!

the team at skinSALVATION does a lot of investigating in order to find the safest and best quality foods and products to recommend to our clients to keep their skin clear long term. we absolutely love it when our clients become detectives in their own right and bring our attention to potential acne triggers that we haven’t discovered yet. yay for teamwork!!
recently, one of our savvy male clients, TB, came across this super interesting report on protein powders put out by an organization called, “the clean label project”. they “use data and science to reveal the true contents of america’s best selling consumer products. products are tested in an accredited analytical chemistry laboratory for 130 harmful environmental and industrial contaminants and toxins, and their results are published as product ratings.” the clean label project currently tests baby food, pet foods, and protein powders. there are some people out there that weren’t as impressed with the clean label project as we were and in an effort to provide all perspectives and information available. we want to share this link where the writer talks about some of the clean label project’s shortcomings and issues with it’s research.
TB, a very active vegan athlete looked up protein powders, and unearthed information on the one he had been taking – which looked acne-safe (meaning, it didn’t contain soy or whey or other acne-causing foods we look for). through this report, he found out more about its’ nutritional value, heavy metals, pesticides and mycotoxins and we were shocked by the findings.
CASE STUDY
TB came to us in september of 2017 with over-exfoliated, inflamed and picked-at skin. his clarity at the time was about 60% and 95% of the acne lesions that he did have were inflamed. being a gluten-free vegan, his protein options dramatically decreased after learning that he’d need to stop eating acne-causing soy in order to clear up his skin. on top of this, we discovered that he was likely suffering from a systemic candida imbalance after he scored high on this candida questionnaire. he decided to embark on a vegan candida cleanse but because the diet was so restrictive he only lasted on it for about 3 weeks. (generally, folks stay on this whole + natural foods diet for 2-3 months to clear up the candida. candida can cause sS-resistant acne, among other more serious long-term conditions).  he also started taking this anti-fungal candida control tincture which is the other necessary component to getting candida successfully and fully under control. (ideally, you need to avoid all sugars in your diet to starve the yeast, and supplement by taking anti-fungals to clean out and purge the excess yeast. there are many other components to this; check out our other posts on candida). he continued to work hard to avoid soy, sugar, gluten and eat as close to the candida diet as he could and we started to see his inflammation calm down and his clarity improve.
in addition to the dietary changes and supplement regimen, he was coming in for regular treatments and using our targeted skinSALVATION home care products. unlike most clients we see, his acne was really not extractable (he was too inflamed), so instead of focusing on extractions during his treatments we opted for chemical peels, high frequency (a machine that kills acne bacteria, reduces inflammation and speeds up healing) and 20 minutes under our LED panel to further heal the skin and combat inflammation at a deeper level.  we continued to do extractions where we could. by his 4th treatment on november 26, 2017 he was 80% clear and showing vast improvement in terms of inflammation and overall skin health. by january 21, 2018, he was 95% clear. check out his amazing transformation below!
THE PROTEIN POWDER DISCOVERY
after moving away from the bay area, TB reached out to us, letting us know about the clean label project study. he had been taking vega protein powder every day, even several times a day for about 6 months before seeing us. his skin had got really bad, super inflamed with very deep cysts in april-aug 2017, around the time he starting taking the vega protein powder.
at his consultation appointment in 9/2017, his clarity was 60% and most of that was the inflamed and cystic type of acne. he was baffled as to why his skin had gotten so bad over the last few months when really nothing had changed. looking back we both really think that this protein powder is the main reason it got so bad. another major factor was probably physical stress from all the intense working out he was doing at that time – he himself said his body looked it’s best but his skin looked it’s worst!
we didn’t think of the protein powder to be a major acne-causing factor for him at the time because the ingredients seemed acne safe (no soy or dairy/whey) – and he was eating so much soy up until we told him how much soy breaks all of our other clients out. shortly after his first treatment at the end of 9/2017, he started the candida cleanse, had two colonics and backed off the protein powder because he wasn’t working out as much anymore. we started to see a big improvement in his skin towards the end of november, 2017 at his 4th treatment and it quickly improved from there. by january 2018 (3 months after first starting with us) he was 95% clear and has been able to maintain that after moving away from the bay area.
through the clean label project’s research, vega was found to be one of the worst rated, containing high levels of toxic heavy metals (!!!). after sharing his story of clarity working with sS on social media, several folks on social media contacted him regarding vega protein powder, citing similar acne experiences while consuming the same thing!
here are some interesting facts from the study to note:
  • organic protein powders had on average 2x the heavy metals than conventional ones
  • egg protein was the cleanest with the least heavy metals/toxins
  • plant-based powders were on average, the most toxic
  • 75% of plant-based tested most positive for lead (they are doing more research on how and why toxins get into these foods so stay tuned for another post once this research comes out)
after reviewing the study findings, we are no longer recommending vega protein powder to our clients and we are currently looking into safer options. so far we have found the following to be acne-safe and clean-project-label-clear on paper, but have yet to actually see clients through using these powders for an extended period of time:
protein source: hemp protein
EAT REAL FOOD
it’s also important to keep in mind that protein powder is a dietary supplement which may be helpful in a pinch, but is not going to be the best option to replace actual real whole natural food meals humans should be eating every day. remember, these are SUPPLEMENTS and NOT everyday meal replacements! instead of making a protein powder shake your daily go-to breakfast, try some of these quick + easy, make-ahead options instead:
steel-cut, gluten-free oatmeal topped with hemp seeds and fresh berries (you can easily no-cook this by soaking them them overnight in the fridge, they’ll be ready in the am)
sprouted grain toast and eggs
hardboiled eggs, fermented veggies (like saurekraut or kimchi) and avocado (super easy to get ready the night before)
avocado toast with kite hill “cream cheese”
avocado and sugar-free lox
low sugar granola and unsweetened almond milk (kim loves this over cut up papaya)
TAKEAWAY

a mantra from kreation organic juicery in the LA area – you are what you eat. don’t be cheap, fast, fake or easy!