Let’s Talk About Peels

By Tiffany M. Darnold, MMS, PA-C, Oviedo

By Tiffany M. Darnold, MMS, PA-C, Couture Med Spa Oviedo
Let’s talk about peels, baby! Let’s talk about you and me! Oh, wait, that’s not how the song goes, is it?

Despite being a medical spa provider since 2014, I never had a face peel before. That’s right, my coworkers called me the “peel virgin.” And all jokes aside, I was terrified at the concept! But I recently decided to bite the bullet for all of my other peel virgins out there so I can tell you, my clients, exactly what to expect.  

Read on to get a first-hand account of what it’s like to pop your peel cherry. 
Day 1: Today is the day! 
Was I scared? YES! But, as my day progressed, my worries were put to rest as my lovely esthetician distracted me with warm conversation –  that’s a specialty at Couture Med Spa. 
We discussed my current skin condition and chemical peel history —  or lack thereof — and I told her that I suffer from a specialized type of hyperpigmentation called melasma. I have always hidden my melasma with various types of cosmetics since I was so embarrassed by it. I guess my makeup works based on the look of surprise I was getting as she examined my face. 
To stay on the conservative side, she chose a peel that was not too strong and not too light to help my discoloration. This was perfect for me! It was time to get started.
I laid down and got comfy as certain uncomfy thoughts ran through my head: “Am I going to look hideous as I peel? Will this hurt? What will my clients think? Could I wear makeup to work this week? Will I become more hyperpigmented?” 
My esthetician began the peel process by cleansing my skin and applying our proprietary blend, perfectly designed for me. A cool, soft sensation passed over my skin as she delicately applied the product. She continuously communicated with me throughout the process of my peel to ensure my comfort. I was relieved that I could only feel a slight tingling in my skin with virtually no pain at all. In fact, I would say my pain level was a 2 out of 10 even after the full five-minute peel and booster application prior to her neutralizing the peel. 
THIS IS GREAT, I thought. I was quickly relieved and had not a single worry in the world. Plus, my skin felt and looked amazing, too! After the treatment, my skin immediately felt tight, refreshed, and clean with a glow that I had never been able to achieve before.
I was reassured that I may safely wear makeup to work the next day, to avoid sun exposure with the use of a good medical grade sunscreen to prevent PIH (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation) and that my skin should begin to peel in about 2-3 days. I could not wait to see what the weekend held! 
Day 2: Feeling Fantastic
That morning, I felt fantastic and my skin felt even tighter! I still had that dewy post-peel glow and my makeup applied smoothly. Fears of looking hideous and developing increased hyperpigmentation had been eliminated. As I worked through the day, my clients didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary. However, they did mention how long my hair was getting since I wasn’t able to get it cut while the hair salons were closed. Ha!

At the end of my day, I can only notice two small spots about the size of an eraser beginning to slightly peel around the lower portion of my face. I believe the peeling process might have been accelerated in this region due to the mask we all have to wear as an extra added precaution against COVID-19. I was not worried though and was excited about the results soon to come. 

Day 3: Itching for Better Looking Skin
My face started to feel very itchy, but I remembered to not peel or pick off my own skin. It will naturally shed/peel at your own body’s rate which varies from person to person but takes about a week on average. After working for a while, my chin region started to peel quite a bit under my mask, but luckily I could still hide it and I had no scabbing or discoloration. 

My skin looked like a sunburn peeling without the redness, which was a relief. After work, I decided to add a little moisture to my face after a gentle cleanse. I applied my usual antioxidant lipid cream and then since I was feeling really dry, tried to add moisturizing cream.

 Well, take a little tip from me: DON’T apply moisturizing day cream or any other products not recommended by your esthetician first. AHHHHHHHHH! It burns like hell!

I quickly tried to gently wipe it off and since I did not want to waste my moisturizer applied it to my arms instead. Great mistake for a peel virgin, huh? Even I make mistakes, despite how embarrassing it is.  Now, I understand from first-hand experience why it is so important to wait for two weeks prior to any other procedures or use of skin products such as retinol after a peel. My skin is so sensitive! 

After feeling like I was on fire, I was just hoping for a better tomorrow and more advice from my esthetician in the morning.
Day 4: Burn, Baby, Burn! 
In the morning, I felt like I had a sunburn and I was peeling like a snake; the skin was coming off my forehead now. It wasn’t too bad though. Honestly, the worst part was how tight my skin feels and trying to avoid picking my skin off. Remember to wear sunscreen every 2 hours after a peel or your face will remind you! 

My esthetician was more excited than I was about my quick results and advised me to use a hyaluronic serum instead to tame the dry snakeskin that I call my face. As my day goes on, many clients still didn’t notice my peel from afar until I pointed it out. Instead, one client said that my skin just looks fresh and new. That was my goal and my whole face will soon look as soft as a baby’s face! By the end of the day the itching had mostly resolved as well, and I was beginning to peel around my eyes. 

Day 5: Refresh and Renew
Even though I was still peeling a lot, I was starting to feel great. No more itching or burning. I used a bio-cellulose recovery mask to help refresh and renew my skin. The hyaluronic acid and green tea polyphenols within the mask were so moisturizing and soothing. I felt like a new woman! 

Day 6-10: The End to An Amazing Journey
As my peel journey came to a close, my skin looked amazing! I barely had any peeling left except a few scattered areas here and there, mostly below my chin. Washing my face with a gentle cleanser daily really helped remove dead skin cells without harming my fresh new skin. 

After a few more days passed, I looked even better. My skin felt tighter and smoother after my peel. Plus, makeup applications seemed easier. What a great added benefit! I tried using my Moisturizing Day Cream again and felt nothing but smoother, hydrated skin. I highly recommend trying a rejuvenating peel when you visit us next. Take it from this once peel virgin, it was definitely worth it!

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