The best step for your skin?

Roll up your sleeves, we're diggin' in deep.

In the last segment, I talked about the two ways we can improve our skin's health. Whether it be a decent prep for the cold, dry winter months ahead or if you do a seasonal housekeeping - keeping your skin healthy is a year long goal. Following that post I received a ton of really great questions on the topic of exfoliation. I talked about manual (scrubs) and chemical exfoliation. Much of the feedback involved questions about chemical peels.

Ah, yes - the scary, sometimes taboo topic of peels!

I should've written this around Halloween, complete with images, right? Well I hate to be the bearer of bad news but that image you have in your mind isn't what really happens with chemical peels from an esthetician. So today I write to help dispel common thoughts about peels and explain what we estheticians do and what the benefits can be when you receive one!

I will never forget the day I first heard of chemical peels. I think I was in high school, maybe my first year of college when a friend of mine called to catch up and she mentioned, "did you hear X had a chemical peel done and her face is beet red and peeling like crazy?! Yeah, she can't go out in the sun OR wear makeup and she spent like $300 doing it - isn't that just nuts?!" My mind was reeling. Why would she do that to herself? How can she go out in public? Didn't it hurt? Does it still hurt? What if she runs into that guy she had a crush on and he finds her just hideous? So you'd imagine my resistance to the concept of chemical peels when we began practicing them in esthetics school. But then I received one and my life changed forever.

Take this analogy for example. You just pulled a delicious lasagna out of the oven and the top layer of cheese is extra crispy, maybe too crispy, oh no the whole thing is dried out and just not right. So you reach for a jar of spaghetti sauce and dump it on top of the cheese. The noodles and all the layers are not going to get that sauce because the extra crispy cheese is blocking it.  Just like the top layer of extra flaky dead skin cells are blocking your skin's absorption of critical nutrients and products.

Let's start with this

Per Wisconsin law{BC 2.025(2)(c)(1)} - an esthetician may only perform alpha hydroxyl acids of 30% or less, with a ph of not less than 3.0., and salicylic acids of 20% or less, with a ph of not less than 3.0.        Dermatologists are able to do the big stuff for more major skin resurfacing. They do the peels that are higher percentages of acids and can perform microdermabrasion, etc. An esthetician can work under the practice of a medical supervisor doing those services as well because a doctor is on site. For me, as a stand alone business, I keep it under wraps with my legally allowed percentages! I like it that way. You'll like it that way. Everyone wins!

Add a little of that

You may have noticed above that there are two different types of acids I am allowed to use and you may be wondering what the difference is between AHA andBHA.

Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA), works to detach dead skin cells by loosening the sticky, glue-like protein bonds that hold them together. This allows dead skin cells to fall away easily, revealing the brighter, healthier skin beneath.  In addition to helping to unglue dead skin cells, several studies have shown that AHAs can aid in increasing your skin’s thickness, improving collagen density and the quality of the elastic-like fibers that give you skin the ability to “bounce back” and remain flexible.

AHAs are most commonly found in the following three forms: glycolic, lactic, and mandelic (I don't use mandelic):

  • Glycolic Acid: This is the most common of AHAs. Glycolic acid has the smallest molecular structure, which means it can be the most effective, but also has the potential to be the most irritating to sensitive skin types. If you are new to AHAs and shopping for a glycolic acid product, start slow with a lower percentage, typically eight to ten percent. Additionally, glycolic acid has mild humectant properties, which help to draw moisture to your skin’s surface.
  • Lactic Acid: Lactic acid is the second most common AHA. Derived from milk, its molecular structure is larger than that of glycolic acid, but not as large as mandelic. Lactic acid products are generally recommended for sensitive skin types, particularly those who struggle with rosacea. It is highly humectant, making it a top choice for those who struggle with dry skin.

Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA), essentially salicylic acid, is best for oily skin types, as it works to penetrate pores and removing sebum. While salicylic acid can be drying, it doesn’t make your skin more sensitive to the sun. This means that BHA products can be used both morning and night, once you’ve built up a tolerance.

A drop of this

What do I use in services from the BioElements product line?
Quick Refiner - Gel exfoliant that visibly smoothes skin with powerful alpha hydroxy acids including glycolic and multi-fruit acids. 5% AHA in glycolic form - can be applied nightly or 1-3 times a week.
Lactic Plus Peel Level 1 - Lactic Plus Peel is with 30% organic lactic acid, pumpkin fruit extracts, and pomegranate extract. The blend of these ingredients exfoliates and stimulates the skin. This Peel delivers an even surface peeling of the uppermost layers of the skin.
Glycolic Detox Charcoal Peel™ Level 2 A 15% glycolic peel with 5% lactic acid, activated charcoal, and willowherb to soften milia, reduce the appearance of pore size, reduce the appearance of lines, and brighten dark spots. This peel is meant for more resistive skin that can tolerate Bioelements Lactic-Plus Peel Level 1.
Glycolic Detox Charcoal Peel™ Level 3This formula is the most active with 25% glycolic acid, along with 5% lactic acid, activated charcoal and willowherb. Meant for stubborn, resistive, or thick skin that’s tolerant to Glycolic Detox Charcoal Peel Level 2, this peel will break through resistive skin to a reach deeper epidermal level to unclog stubborn pores, soften deep pores, improve the appearance of lines and wrinkles, lighten moderate levels of hyperpigmentation, and detoxify.

And end with this

If you are in need of a deep exfoliation, want to help clear up acne scarring, need to rejuvenate and bring life back into your skin - a chemical peel is a wonderful addition to your customized facial service. While I will always rejoice the benefits and results of receiving one, I will never push one upon you. Chemical peels are to be started at ground level and worked up from there regardless of previous services elsewhere. Every service is based on your comfort level and performed with compassion and care.