So, I recently took my first plunge into the world of aesthetic treatments (and it was about time!). In fact, I had not only one, but two treatments. I mean, talk about jumping straight in at the deep end. Because my mid-thirties-and-starting-to-show-signs-of-ageing skin was looking drab, sun damaged and lined, I decided to throw caution to the wind and see what could be done about it. So, I tried a light chemical peel, and my lovely practitioner at Allure Aesthetics threw dermaplaning into the mix for good measure. Yesssss - let's rejuvenate this dull skin!
You can find out more about dermaplaning here, but for now, I'll talk you through my light skin peel, as well as sharing my chemical peel before and after photos.
Chemical peel process
Step 1 - a thorough pre-treatment medical assessment
I was really pleased to see just how thorough my practitioner was before treating me. But after 16 years in the field, it was no rodeo for her. She asked me all sorts of medical questions to assess whether I was the right candidate for a superficial chemical peel - and this is so important.
She asked whether I had any illnesses to make sure the peel wouldn’t further aggravate anything. And she also wanted to know all about the different types of products I use and any medication or supplements I was taking. This is vital in case the products used in the peel have the potential to react with them. Fortunately, I’d done my homework and knew not to use my glycolic acid, retinol and certain other products a few days before the treatment, and I was ready to go.
After talking through my skin needs, she told me she believed the Obagi Blue Radiance chemical peel (20% salicylic acid) would work a treat and, having researched this treatment LOADS, I practically fainted with excitement.
Step 2 - the pre-peel skin prep
So, after we’d gone through the medical questions and what my chemical peel expectations were - smoother, rejuvenated skin if you’re asking (hey, I can’t ask for a miracle, but I can ask for a glow), I hopped onto the bed and waited for great skin to happen.
First off, my lovely practitioner cleansed my face with the Obagi 360 cleanser, then used the toner from the same range. I must admit, I was a bit nervous at this point. I mean, I was an avid Sex and the City fan, and Samantha’s chemical peeled face was deeply engrained in my memory - but I was assured that this was a light peel, and I wouldn’t come away looking like a strip of raw meat. Reassuring indeed! Still, I wasn’t going to make any big plans for that evening - you know, just in case.
Step 3 - and the peel goes on
After a quick peel prep all over my face - which works as a disinfectant - my practitioner then started to delicately run the 20% salicylic acid over my face using a 2x2 gauze. Now, I won’t lie - I don’t want to throw the word ‘burn’ around, but it definitely had a spicy element to it, and my face got real hot, real quickly - so much so that I had to fan myself down with a treatment menu. The heat lasted for what felt like a lifetime, but was actually probably more like a couple of minutes, and then it subsided and my face cooled right down.
Step 4 - round two of the chemical peel
After a few minutes of getting the skin on my face back to a normal temperature, it was time to go again. But hey - no pain, no gain, right? This time, I was ready for the spice. Bring on that heat! And actually, it wasn’t as bad the second time around. It was almost like my skin had been shocked into thinking this intense feeling was normal. Though my eyes did water (no, they weren’t tears of pain)! Again, the heat built up, but gradually it reduced down again, and my skin was left feeling lovely and tingly. And before I knew it, the acid was coming off. Phew!
Step 5 - the post-chemical peel care
The next step was a double cleanse - which brought back a little bit of the heat, but it was nowhere near as intense. Hyaluronic acid-based moisturiser followed, which glided straight on and felt amazing. This stuff is perfect for speeding up the healing process and helping reduce the appearance of lines.
Step 6 - the cryoglobe facial
Then came an even lovelier treat - my practitioner took two frozen cryoglobes and ran them over my face. I can’t even tell you how incredible my skin felt at this point. It was super-smooth. As she rolled the cryoglobes over my cheeks, chin and forehead, it was a lovely contrast to the heat I’d felt just minutes earlier. And, before I knew it, my appointment was up. A quick glance in the mirror and my face was looking pink, but considerably less traumatised than I had expected.
I was told not to get my skin wet for a good 6 hours - so no prancing around in the rain (quite hard to avoid in the UK!), no washing and no gym (you definitely don't want to be sweating after a chemical peel). And my aesthetician made me promise not to use AHAs, BHAs or retinol for the next couple of days to make sure my skin didn’t react and get worse. No problem - there was no way I was going to jeopardise my fabulous new skin.
After my chemical peel: What happened next
Straight after the chemical peel, my skin was pretty pink - but nowhere near what I imagined it would be like. I took this photo about an hour after having the skin peel, so you can see it went down really quickly and felt absolutely fine.
As the next few days passed, I eagerly awaited improved skin tone, reduced appearance of lines, and overall brightness. But, in the meantime, my skin started to feel really tight, and I experienced lots of peeling - especially around my chin and nose. But that's good - the skin peel had done it's job and I followed all the chemical aftercare tips I'd been advised to. Sure, it felt uncomfortable for those few days...
But then it happened. About 5 days after the Obagi Blue Radiance peel, my skin was glowing and the shedding I had experienced in the days following the peel was all worth it. I had gorgeous skin that wouldn't quit! For best results, a course of peels is recommended. So, stay tuned because I’ll definitely be going back for more.