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.

 

before + after micro-needling for acne scars

many of you are curious to know the results of my micro-needling experience to help reduce the appearance of textural scarring from acne. for a reminder about what textural scarring is and how micro-needling may help it, check out this blog post.

i received 6 full micro-needling treatments from natalie at the center for holistic skin rejuvenation in san francisco. during my initial consultation with her, i expressed that my main goal was to help reduce the appearance of the deep pitted scars on my cheeks where i used to have inflamed acne.

what were the treatments like? each treatment was one hour long. she began by cleansing my face with skinSALVATION charcoal cleanser, which i asked her to use to avoid future breakouts. she used a disposable needle roller on each area of my face for a total of about 10 minutes, which felt comparable to the pain of receiving extractions. after needling, she did full body acupuncture to help with internal issues like stress management, digestion, and hormone balance. i would lay on the table for 30 minutes with the acupuncture needles in, a heater on and relaxing music playing. this was my favorite part and felt like a total treat after the pain of the face treatment. at the end, she used safeguard sunscreen to help protect and moisturize my skin.

my skin felt hot and flushed for the remainder of the day and stayed pink for about 3 days post treatment. during these 3 healing days, i used hydrating cleanser morning and night, safeguard spf and hydrating cream. i didn’t use any other active products and did not apply makeup.

i waited at least 10 days before and after micro-needling treatments to receive extractions or chemical peels from skinSALVATION.

other than reduction of textural scarring, what did i notice? the micro-needling helped break up old scar tissue in my chin that looked like small seeds that we could never extract. i believe that these seeds were trapped so deep beneath scar tissue that they hadn’t been able to come to the surface before. micro-needling helped to bring these seeds to the surface, so i had a little bit of a, “purge” where i broke out. ultimately, this helped me be more clear and have a smooth chin.

am i happy with my results? yes. the reduction of my pitted textural scarring on my cheeks is not as dramatic as i anticipated. i hoped that after 6 treatments on micro-needling, the skin on my face would be flawless and as smooth as porcelain, but that wasn’t my experience. however, i love that:

  1. the scarring on my cheeks is much less noticeable
  2. i was able to bring the deep seeds in my chin up to the surface and get rid of them for good
  3. the acupuncture portion of the treatments helped me reduce overall stress and balance my hormones. my usual painful cramping associated with menstruation was MUCH better when i was receiving regular acupuncture from natalie.

who would i recommend this to? i would recommend micro-needling to people who have raised textural scarring on their skin. this might feel like little bumps on the skin that aren’t acne. if you aren’t sure if you have scarring or acne seeds, ask your esthetician at skinSALVATION.

if you have minimal pitted textural scarring, micro-needling may help you get closer to having completely smooth skin. like many treatments, there is no guarantee that you will have 100% success with this treatment. success depends on your skin type, genetics, natural collagen production, and severity of scarring.

the photos on the left-hand side are from before my treatments and the photos on the right are after 6 treatments, approximately 4.5 months later.

 

 

as you can see from the above photos (especially if you zoom in on them), there is some noticeable reduction in scarring on my cheeks and a reduction in hyper-pigmentation. the pigmentation is most likely lighter as a combined result of the micro-needling and chemical peels that i received during this time at skinSALVATION.

note from kim: keep in mind that this series of micro-needling was performed by an acupuncturist, and not a dermatologist.  acupuncturists are (legally) only able to work on the skin’s uppermost, superficial layers of the skin, rendering much milder results than a dermatologist would (who is legally able to access the deeper, subcutaneous dermal layers of the skin).  dermatologists, being board certified and having access to more aggressive tools and treatments, would likely be able to render more aggressive results.  for example, a dermatologist may employ anesthesia to numb you from the pain of going much deeper, into the dermal layers of the skin to stimulate more collagen remodeling, whereas acupuncturists are really only treating the epidermis, or upper-most superficial layers of the skin.

liesse has yet to explore the same therapy with a different, more aggressive approach, and we will be sure to document and share with you the results of further experimentation as we can!

 

 

the opinions expressed in this post are based on my personal experience. this does not reflect the opinions of practitioners who perform micro-needling.

 

collagen powder – our new favorite skin-loving supplement

by kerry watson

if you read my blog post about gelatin then you won’t be surprised to learn that collagen powder is my new jam. collagen is the main structural protein found in the connective tissue of all animals. with time, our bodies produce less and less of it which plays a big role in how we age. this is part of the reason that we experience more joint pain, slower wound healing, wrinkles, loss of volume and increased laxity of the skin.

by now we all  know that bone broth is a super healing food that everyone should be downing by the mason jar. bone broth is made from cooking down animal bones and joints which are loaded with collagen (which later becomes gelatin). most of us don’t have time to make bone broth everyday or even once a week for that matter. earlier this year i learned about taking collagen powder from my bodyworker, tasha berg. i went to see her for an appointment last december and i noticed that she was looking more fabulous than usual. when i asked her what she’s been doing she told me that she is taking collagen powder. her skin was glowing and she looked super well-rested. i decided that i had to try this new fountain of youth supplement. after a couple of  months taking 2 tablespoons twice a day i started noticing that my nails were strong and growing fast, my hair wasn’t as frizzy as usual and my skin looked great! it was less red, i needed less makeup to even out the tone and my tiny fine lines became almost nonexistent.

there is some question as to whether these results are permanent. after extensive research online, i have seen that most people who have taken collagen supplements for their anti-aging effects felt like the progress was lost after stopping the supplements. we are unclear as to whether or not this will be the same for textual scarring. if we have clients that decide to stop taking it after seeing improvement we will keep you posted on the results.

in addition to its obvious benefits in improving the appearance of textural scarring, collagen powder may improve the results and shorten the healing time after other treatment modalities geared towards improving textural scarring like micro-needling and laser. the possibilities are very exciting. if you decide to try this or this supplement (or a different one) please let us know. if you could take progress photos, we’d love to see them as well.

disclaimer: any reference to outside support (i.e. working with an herbalist and/or bodyworker) are from this client’s and my own personal experiences and are not endorsed  by or necessarily reflect the ideas or recommendations of skinSALVATION.