Move over plastic surgery. Did you know that your complexion can benefit dramatically from a peel procedure that makes use of natural ingredients? Ana Engelbrecht of Anaclinical explains the beauty of natural peel reactions.
Skin peels have been used since time memorial to bring out the best beauty blush. These procedures were first used thousands of years ago and their popularity persists today.
Superficial skin peeling dates back to Ancient Egyptian times, when Cleopatra (69 BC to 30 BC) bathed in sour milk to exfoliate her skin and reduce wrinkles, thereby improving her appearance. That long ago, the Egyptians knew that when milk sours, the milk sugar, lactose, is converted by bacteria into lactic acid. When alpha hydroxy acids, such as lactic acid, are applied to the skin, they cause the surface layer to peel off and reveal the smoother, blemish-free skin that lies underneath.
Then, between 27 BC and 1 453 AD, the Romans took a fancy to bathing in fermented wine (i.e. tartaric acid). Now well known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as being an acidifier, flavour-enhancer, stabiliser and sequestering agent, the Ancient Romans had somehow discovered fermented wine’s ability to soften and rejuvenate the skin.
SKIN PEELS TODAY
Today, there has been an explosion of interest in peelings; to the extent where this type of medical aesthetics treatment has become one of the top five most-performed, nonsurgical cosmetic procedures worldwide. A simple in-clinic procedure, peelings are cost effective and versatile; best of all, they provide good results as a standard outcome and complement other cosmetic procedures, should these be desired.
Quality peels provide medical aestheticians with highly effective professional treatments and daily care products to help their patients achieve healthy and beautiful skin, despite the challenges of various skin disorders and the ageing process. High-level knowledge also protects the skin from future damage. They should cater for a wide variety of skin disorders and be safe for all skin types.
Results can be seen from the very first session, side-effects are minimal and there is no downtime. Your peel can be done during lunchtime, with minimal discomfort. After a peel, clients should follow a prescribed homecare routine for best results.
Look out for the following natural organic acids in your peel formulation:
- Hydroxy acids (alpha and beta) – organic acids with an hydroxyl group attached. They are highly effective in the treatment of acne, rosacea, warts, dryness, rough skin, wrinkles and photoageing/ sun damage.
- Alpha hydroxy acids – derived from fruit, milk, sugar, etc. Glycolic comes from sugar cane; pyruvic comes from honey, apples and vinegar; lactic comes from sour milk; mandelic comes from bitter almonds; citric comes from citrus fruits; malic comes from apples; and tartaric acid comes from grapes.
- Beta hydroxy acids – less abrasive than alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and offering anti-inflammatory properties. Salicyclic acid, derived from willow bark, is an example of a beta hydroxy acid (BHA).
WHAT THE CLIENT CAN EXPECT
For those who are sceptical or nervous, a reputable peel procedure can be easily explained to inform clients and put minds at rest. The epidermis is exfoliated, followed by the regeneration and rejuvenation of deeper skin tissue. Clients see an improved appearance in texture and health of the skin, with a reduction in wrinkles, actinic/solar keratosis (rough, scaly patches that develop from years of exposure to the sun), pigmentation disorders, roughness and even superficial scarring. As an inflammatory reaction is set off in the deeper skin layers, there is a release of inflammation mediators causing new collagen and elastin to be formed in the dermis.
Benefits include the promotion of skin-cell renewal and dermal remodelling, a clearing of acne and other skin conditions, a reduction of and correction in skin pigmentation, the smoothing of rough skin and the erasing of fine lines and wrinkles, along with the elimination of free radicals through antioxidant action. Peelings can be classified as superficial, medium and deep-level. Medium-depth peels should be carried out by a dermatologist or with the supervision of a medical doctor, while deep-level peels should only be carried out under general anaesthetic by a reputable plastic surgeon.
BEFORE AND AFTER TREATMENT
Before having an in-clinic treatment, a full medical history should be taken and a skin diagnosis and consultation carried out. Professional peeling treatments can be done two-to four weeks apart. For optimal results, a series of six sessions is highly recommended – with maintenance sessions every 6 to 12 months. It is vitally important to use sunscreen religiously, on a daily basis, for at least six weeks after a peel. Choose a recommended product that gives a complete sunscreen effect to fight harmful radiation in even the most sensitive skin types. It should protect scars, surgical incisions and skin sensitivities from peels and laser treatment, and be preventative against photo-ageing, sun damage and sunburn.
Avoid undergoing a peel if one of the following applies to you:
- Pregnant or breastfeeding
- Herpes simplex blisters or cold sores
- Flat warts, open wounds or sunburned skin
- Recent scars, dermatitis, skin prone to scarring or keloids
- Taking photosensitising drugs
- Undergoing treatment with retinoids – a six month waiting period is recommended
- Had recent minor facial surgery – i.e. within the previous 15 days; or
- Suffer from an autoimmune disease or are undergoing radiation therapy or chemotherapy.