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 wedding – week two “makeup: planning ahead and day of”

makeup, planning ahead and day of (including advice from a makeup artist that can do your makeup acne safe in the bay area!)

best decision i made makeup-wise was to do a trial run well before the actual wedding day. i highly highly recommend doing this! my adorable and talented makeup artist, isabel macias, suggested we do the trial run and i agreed, without realizing how valuable it would be. i showed isabel the photos from pinterest i had found and liked – i thought the photos i shared were natural, yet defined enough to look good photographed. she did a great job mimicking those looks, but i learned the look i thought i was going for required wayyyy more makeup than i expected. from far away it looked great but up close it was too much for my taste.

so, this realization made it so that the day of i was able to articulate what i did like and what i thought we could do differently for the ceremony. we ended up using non-acne safe makeup because i wussed out – i didn’t want to be needy or bridezilla-ish with the makeup artist. i brought all my acne safe makeup and thought i had given myself enough pep talks to voice what i wanted… but the day of, i didn’t have it in me to be nit-picky and didn’t feel like micromanaging the artist was the right thing to do. plus, i saved myself stress the day of and just went with the flow.

my makeup was perfect, i couldn’t have been happier – but it did break me out afterwards. so i had a few months of pesky breakouts from the cloggy products we used. though, i have no regrets! but i wish i had the advice of bay area makeup artist rachel rockwood, who has been a skinSALVATION client since 2015.

not only does rachel personally understand the stress that goes along with having acne, but she also works for youngblood, a makeup company that makes most of the acne safe makeup we carry at skinSALVATION. (please note that some but not all of their makeup offerings are acne-safe!).

rachel has four basic tips for the day of the wedding:

  1. exfoliate beforehand (like with regular peels!) so that makeup application is even and doesn’t look cakey
  2. moisturize face, including eyebrows, to avoid flakiness when combing and grooming
  3. avoid sunscreen that’s over spf 15 because it can bounce light back in photos and make you look ghostly
  4. use a primer so makeup stays put through the kissing, hugging + tears

ok so now feast your eyes on rachel’s professional product recommendations and application advice below!

helpful hint: apply products in the order laid out below!

side note: only acne safe products that we would recommend to clients are clickable links.

primer – youngblood mineral primer or kasnoff tinted primer if you don’t want to wear foundation but want to even skin tone a bit

concealer under eyes – choose a color a half a shade lighter than your foundation and blend from the inner corner of the eye down the side of nose and out towards towards the cheekbone in a V like pattern. this will also add a highlight to the cheek bones. too much product will settle into creases so go sparingly and pat it quickly.  many sS’ers like using illuminare liquid foundation in the concealing formula for this!

concealer for breakouts – rachel loves the illuminare concealing formula we carry at skinSALVATION. set with youngblood loose foundation using a small eyeshadow brush.

foundation – youngblood loose foundation or illuminare’s moisturizing liquid mineral foundation for a more dewy look (or on drier skin).

eyes – pick eye colors that are complementary to your eye color. (for example green eyes pop in warm browns and rosy reds. blue eyes sparkle next to rose golds as well as cooler greys. brown eyes look great in purples and golds). tarte brand shadows and alima pure’s loose shadows are talc free. consider using individual lashes instead of the lash strips. you want them to blend in with your natural lashes! finish with mascara. (or get lash extensions!)

blush – apply a little more blush on than you think you need. blush tends to fade fast, but remember to blend evenly!! alima makes a wide array of acne safe blushes and a few bronzers (just choose the loose powders, as their pressed formulas are cloggy).

highlight – only the cheekbones, bridge of nose and cupids bow. you don’t want to look sweaty because you put highlighter everywhere! rachel likes the youngblood lunar dust in moonbeam. some of us at skinSALVATION (including me!) have been using fat and the moon highlighter and love it. alima also makes a few loose powder highlighters that are safe.

lips – pick a hydrating lip color. rachel doesn’t recommend long wearing lip color because they are so drying and they look dry on. she prefers the old fashion way of (1) sponging a base foundation on the lip line, (2) powdering, (3) lining the lips fully and (4) applying your color.

finish – youngblood rice setting powder or youngblood minerals in the mist. this step is a must to lock in the makeup and finish your look. their loose powder is nice for a natural look, but the pressed is easier to keep in your purse for touch-ups.

refresh – youngblood minerals in the mist or rosewater spray. when makeup moves throughout the day/night, spray again and buff with a powder brush to refresh the makeup.

according to rachel, bottom line is that healthy skin is essential for a good makeup application. 

her best beauty tip that won’t cost money: smile and laugh!! 

here is a link to rachel’s bridal portfolio:

http://www.rachelrockwood.com/portfolio/#/bridal/

stay tuned for next week’s acne safe wedding blog “easy ways to keep stress low: flowers, table settings, wedding favors, cake, vows”


all wedding photography done by heidi zumbrum

the official sS guide to constipation and acne

throughout my twenties, i was in a band that toured the country often. i had persistent acne that would not relent despite my efforts to “eat clean” and to pare down my skincare regimen. during this period of my life, i noticed that every time i left town to go on tour, my digestive functions would, without fail, shut down. i found myself going 6, 7, 8 days without…dropping the kids off at the pool. now several years later, i recognize this as extreme constipation in response to the stress of travel, alcohol consumption, disrupted sleep and altered dietary routines. at the time, i couldn’t make sense of it all. i mostly just laughed it off as a quirk, not fully comprehending the gravity of constipation as a health condition.

but what exactly is constipation and why am i talking about it on an acne blog? as we’ve discussed in previous blog posts, digestion plays a crucial role in skin health. if your digestive system is not functioning like a well-oiled machine, other organs, like the skin, usually take up the slack. for those with acne-prone skin, keeping things moving is an essential step on the skin-healing journey.

constipation affects 20% of the american adult population.1 it’s a condition that results in a person having “fewer than three bowel movements a week, or hard, dry and small bowel movements that are painful or difficult to pass.”2 though we should aim to eliminate 1 to 3 times each day, modern lifestyle factors like stress, poor fiber intake and dehydration can slow down our body processes. healthy bowel transit time should rest anywhere between 12 and 24 hours. an easy way to test for this is to swallow 2 tablespoons of whole white sesame seeds with a meal, record the time and observe when they appear in your stool afterwards.

have you ever taken a moment to really examine the stuff that ends up in the toilet? if not, you’re not alone! we are encouraged from an early age to avoid this taboo subject, to replace direct language with euphemisms and flat-out denials, to dance around the doo-doo. many of us are afraid to even admit that we undergo this natural and perfectly healthy daily routine altogether.

here at skinSALVATION, we are not afraid to get right to it. if you’re a client, you are probably already familiar with the digestion-acne connection. the main purpose of defecation is to swiftly remove toxins and excess estrogens from the body. when people suffer from constipation, these toxins and hormones get held up at the border and if they are stopped up for too long, they make their way back into the bloodstream. the body then finds alternate ways of pushing them out and the skin becomes the next exit point. the influx of estrogen back into the bloodstream has an additionally negative impact on hormonal balance, which in turn, can contribute to acne.

so how do you know where you stand on the poop spectrum? in the late 90s in bristol, england, some medical researchers generated a genius poo-determination tool called the bristol stool chart. while other healing modalities like chinese medicine and ayurveda had been examining poop characteristics as a means of determining illness in patients for centuries, the bristol stool chart was the first standardized poop test in the west and it has been important in the diagnosis of conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (ibs) and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (sibo).

how does your poop match up? if types 1 or 2 seem all too familiar, it might be time for a re-evaluation. here are some of our favorite tips to combat constipation:

drink more water. this is an easy one. aim to consume at least half your body weight in ounces each day. so if you weigh 160 lbs, try to get at least 80 ounces of water into that beautiful bod to hydrate your cells and to loosen up your stools. carry a large glass or stainless steel water bottle with you and sip from it all day. add tasty accessories to your water to make it more palatable – citrus, cucumber, spearmint and sage work wonders to spruce up some plain old water.

drink herbal tea (these can count toward your total water goal for the day). try drinking teas with digestive herbs after eating in order to lend a helping hand to your overworked digestive organs. look for teas with black pepper, licorice, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger and fennel, all of which beat the bloat while helping to move things along. if your constipation is dire, senna tea can be a temporary solution, but avoid relying on this herb, as it is more of a bandaid that doesn’t tackle the root of the problem.eat enough fiber – both soluble and insoluble. soluble fiber is the soft stuff that hastens our bowel movements – bananas, the inside of a sweet potato, and the fleshy parts of root vegetables. insoluble fiber consists of fruit and vegetable skins and stalks – all of the roughage that we don’t digest and which contributes bulk to our stools. we would be lost without both of these important types of fiber and we should all aim to consume 25-40 grams in total each day.

avoid processed food, dairy and fried foods. these foods can contribute to major backups and often have a dehydrating effect on the body.

take a magnesium supplement like natural calm before bed. not only does magnesium help you drift off into a blissful night’s sleep, it is also a crucial mineral for skin health and acts as a mild muscle relaxer. most americans are deficient in this mineral and it is not easily absorbed from food, so taking at least 400 mg each night is advised.3 taking an epsom salt bath is another great way to absorb this precious mineral through the skin. a quality cod liver oil supplement can also help move things along. we like nordic naturals.

keep your stress in check. is there any physical ailment that does not include stress management as a treatment? no! as i parlayed in my story above, the gut-brain connection has a huge impact on our bodily functions. our digestive systems shut down during times of stress as the body funnels its energy to our fight or flight response. eating in a calm environment and practicing stress management techniques daily is essential for keeping constipation at bay. the better we manage stress, the more energy our bodies have to devote to digesting and eliminating our food.

consume prebiotics, probiotics and enzymes. prebiotics are particular foods (artichoke, asparagus, green bananas and plantains, onions, garlic) that are consumed and digested by our good gut flora, while probiotics re-populate our guts with new bacteria. since our stools mostly consist of bacteria, having balanced gut flora is essential. additionally, taking an enzyme before each meal can help our bodies break down proteins, carbohydrates and fats, allowing us to absorb more nutrients from our food. for those suffering from sibo or ibs, be careful with pre and probiotics and talk to your doctor for recommendations.

get into proper squat position when you’re ready to release. using a squatty potty or a footstool can make all the difference. it’s important to create good bathroom habits – don’t rush, always try to relax and try to eliminate at the same times each day.

express yourself. get those emotions out, either by going to therapy, talking to friends or by starting a daily journaling practice. your body’s physical need to hold onto matter within its walls often reflects a psychological need to hold onto habits or emotions that no longer serve you. instead of bottling up your emotions, let them out in positive and healthy ways. this release can be illuminating in more ways than one!

move and stretch. yoga and gentle exercise are fantastic ways to get things moving downtown. try wind-relieving pose, child’s pose, downward dog, supine twist and forward fold – these twisty yoga poses can all help relieve constipation and encourage movement.

constipation is a serious issue. it means that something is out of balance internally, either with digestion, stress or hormones. so if you find yourself unable to eliminate for several days in a row, seek professional medical advice.

footnotes

1. pinto sanchez, m.i., bercik, p. (2011) epidemiology and burden of chronic constipation. canadian journal of gastroenterology. v.25(suppl b).
2. national institute of diabetes and digestive and kidney diseases
3. kresser, c. (2011) 9 steps to perfect health – #4: supplement wisely. posted february 2011.