As we age our skin's regenerative cycle or cell turnover rate slows down. Also known as desquamation, this is the natural process in which skin cells are created, sloughed away and replaced. "As babies this cell turnover rate is 14 days, as teenagers it is 21 - 28 days, middle aged 28 - 42 days and those 50 and older 42 - 84 days."
So how does this effect our skin? Our skin tends to become dull, dry and wrinkled. Also the slower turnover rate can trigger enlarged pored, leading to more breakouts.
So what can we do with our lazy, slow cell turnover rate? What can we offer our clients?
One thing you can consider is a chemical peel. Chemical peels may sound daunting to our clients but in fact they are nothing more than exfoliation. They accelerate the desquamation process by breaking the desmosome bond and intercellular glue that hold the skin cell together. They therefore induce a quicker sloughing in the stratum corneum. As estheticians, we can provide superficial peels using AHA or BHA, JESSNER OR TCA.
For starters we can differentiate between peels that we can neutralize (AHA) and peels that are self-neutralizing (BHA, TCA AND JESSNER). AHAs provide us a higher level of control as we can neutralize or end the reaction on the skin based on time, or clients comfort level.
The most popular AHAs are lactic and glycolic acids. The latter being the most commonly used due the smaller molecular structure and deeper penetration.
Self-neutralizing peels, are applied in layers and the reaction on the skin must run its course. Usually considered advanced peels, it's recommended you get experience with AHAs first.
Peel effect on the skin : Regardless of your choice of peeling agent, the peel treatment will have the following effects on the skin :
- Stimulate epidermal growth through removal of the stratum corneum.
- Destruction of specific layers allows them to become more normalized, giving the skin a smoother appearance.
- Inflammatory reactions can result in production of new collagen and glycosaminoglycans in the dermis
- With the use of light or superficial peels that are done on a regular maintenance bases help provide smoother, blemished free skin as comedones are lifted without the need for extractions.
- Lighten unwanted pigmentation and even out skin tone
- Reduce fine lines and wrinkles
- Brighten and smooth out rough skin
- Improve the penetration of our skin care products
Prep the skin: It's important to explain the peeling process to your clients and even more so to prep the skin before a peel. Pre-peeling the skin benefits are :
- Thinning of the epidermal layer of the skin
- Enhance uniform penetration of active agent
- Accerlerated healing
- Reduce post peel side effects and complications
- Eliminate and or reduce post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation
Post Peel : Caring for the skin after a peel is crucial. Always follow protocols of your brand but keep these in mind :
- Do not use any acids after a chemical peel for at least 2 weeks
- Sun avoidance is critical as the stratum corneum has been artifically thinned and the sun's rays will have an easier time penetrating which is counter to the goal
- Tyrosinase inhibition is also critical and very important for a period of 4 weeks post procedure
- Good hydration in the morning and in the evening is essential for the development of healthy new skin, reduction of transepidermal water loss