Thursday, 5 March 2015

The Week of The Chemical Peel

Last Friday, I walked into my derm's office determined to get a medium-deep peel done.

I'd only had light glycolic peels done up until then, and I wanted to see if it would make a marked difference in my skin.

FYI- in order to qualify for this kind of peel, your skin has to be in good condition- so a good derm won't just agree to this straightaway. Your skin needs to be prepped and nourished beforehand. If you have any kind of breakout, derms won't agree to this, and if they do-RUN!

Some background:

My skin has never been my greatest asset. I'd had acne as a teenager, and my mother always tried to help me out by taking me to dermatologists, buying me any kind of skincare that might help, and taking me for regular facials. I'd tried different doctors, loads of different products, peels, masks, extractions and pretty much anything you could think of.

As an adult, I'd discovered a few products that worked well, and found a derm I liked. I got some non-ablative laser treatments done. But I still had breakouts fairly regularly, hormonal acne, large pores, some redness and really oily skin.

I gave up on the derm after a while and the products, and started experimenting again. Sigh. Super oily skin. And then I hit 35, and besides the hormonal acne along my chin and sometimes around my T-zone, the skin on my cheeks became really,really dry.

Anyway, bringing it back to the peel. I'd recently went back to my derm, and I discovered the joys of double cleansing via Caroline Hirons, a UK skincare expert. That's a whole other post. I digress.

Back to my derm's office, Nurse Patricia rubbed anaesthetic cream on my face in preparation for this peel.

That's me, upside down. With cream on my face. Niceeeeeee. 

The derm came in and after explaining to me what she was going to do, we started.

I was lying down, and she applied two layers of glycolic acid on my face, which didn't really sting my skin because of the anaesthetic cream, and also because I'm fairly used to it. The nurse fanned my face in-between each layer to keep me comfortable.

The third layer was the TCA peel. That stung a little, but it wasn't unbearable. My derm explained that she was going to see how my skin reacted to it. She applied the TCA peel to my cheeks, nose and forehead, and avoided my chin, which had a small spot.

After a couple of minutes, she applied a neutraliser and the nurse kept on fanning me to reduce the burning sensation. I would say that it was uncomfortable, but not really painful. Or perhaps I'm just masochistic like that. Meh.

My derm and the nurse explained that my face would feel tight and uncomfortable for a few days, and would seem as though I had laminate on my skin. They told me that the skin would turn black-ish before it peeled off. I was to avoid sweating, as it would cause irritation, and to always wear suncreen if I had to go out. I received an after peel cream to apply at least three times daily, use a cold compress on my face frequently, and they then explained that I should wash my face frequently as that would help the process. They recommended Avene spray for my skin as that would help the healing.

They emphasised how important it was for me to NOT tug my skin in anyway, and allow my skin to peel off naturally.

Armed with my after-peel cream and Avene, I went home to wash my face. My face was tight and uncomfortable.

Feeling meh about 4 hours later. My face was a little plastic-y looking and slightly red. Felt a little tight. 

I discovered that the only cleanser I had on-hand that was safest for my newly peeled face was my Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm. Hmm. But not ideal. I wanted to go out a buy a face wash, but traffic was insane, as is normal for a Friday evening in Jakarta.

After a few times washing my face, and compressing with cold water, I went to bed.

Woke up on Saturday with my skin feeling even tighter, and all hard on the surface. My cheeks were slightly darker also.

I decided to head out for lunch with my flatmate since our fridge was empty and we were craving Chinese. Probably not the best idea. I broke out in milia along my chin. Sigh. I did read that acne and millia wasn't entirely uncommon after a peel.

Saturday evening 

The next day, my skin was still hard and leathery to the touch, and was darker still. I still had small pimples. I went and bought some Cetaphil, although Clinique's TTDO wasn't irritating my skin. I just didn't want to take any chances. I noticed my skin was starting to peel a little. 

Just for fun, I'd send the the BF photo updates of my skin. Because love is when you can send the other person photos of your peeling skin complete with whitehead breakout. We'd then chat about it:

Him: What if your face falls off?
Me: LOL. Hmm. I hope not. 
Him: You've only got one face!
Me: Exactly.
Him: Exactly!
Me( I don't think my exactly means what his does). 

On Monday, my skin had started to peel in strips. Sorry if I'm grossing you out. My breakout had cleard up  though, thankfully. 

Still meh. 

On Tuesday, I headed out for some meetings. Yep. With this face. As you can see in the above photo, my skin was starting to peel, and there was still some spots on my face. The dead skin on my face was almost black, and it felt dry, rough, thick and leathery. 
My skin was peeling off in strips, and I used a small scissor to cut off the skin that was hanging off my face. I know, I know, it's lovely and not gross at all. 

Cut to Thursday: Most of the dead skin had come off, and my new baby skin was there. My skin felt really soft and supple to the touch. I did have one pesky spot on my chin, but otherwise, my skin was pimple-free. 
Although my skin felt awesome, it looked almost the same as prior to the peel. A little bit smoother, but the difference wasn't as significant as I was hoping for. 

Close-up taken on Thursday. 

that's the side of my face Thursday. There's only a small amount of skin along my jaw that has yet to peel off. I did notice my giant nose pores looked smaller though. 
Overall, I am fairly happy with the results. It's not as marked as I would like it to have been, but my skin feels really good. 
I'll do do a part two to show what my skin looks like after healing fully:) 


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