What Does a Chemical Peel Look Like? | The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans LLC


I get a facial once a month. Yes, I know- it sounds very la-de-da, but I’ve been doing it for the last 5 years and I really think it’s help keep my skin under control and looking young(ish). Some people get pedicures and manicures monthly, some go to Starbucks every day.  Me- I visit the spa for some R&R once a month, and I love it.

When I first started going, the esthetician (facialist) would school me on proper skin care (cleanse, tone, moisturize).   When she would ask me every month if I was following the suggest skincare protocol, I would mumble *NO*.  While I knew I should be toning and moisturizing, I just didn’t make time to do it. Hey, I had three kids who were under the age of 7 at the time, our family of 5 was living with my MIL for 1.5 years while we built a house, and my husband traveled all the time for work.

I considered it a success if I cleaned my face every night.

Then, the facialist recommended what the spa called a Series of 6 Chemical Peels.

Say what?!  I didn’t know much about chemical peels but I had taken my very limited knowledge of heresay and stereotypes to define a peel as BURNING MY FACE OFF.  And who the heck wants to do that?

Well, over time, the spa convinced me that I wanted to do that x 6. Ha ha.

Why get a chemical peel? According to the American Academy of Dermatology, a chemical peel can diminish many signs of aging on the face as well as the hands, neck, and chest. Chemical peels also treat some skin conditions. Dermatologists usechemical peels to treat some types of acne and conditions that discolor the skin.

My spa suggested starting with light peels, progressing to medium peels and if your skin could handle it, a more aggressive peel by the end of your series.  I had a million questions, which the staff did a great job of answering and over several months (basically, every time I went in for a regular facial, I would talk the ear off of the person working on me). They made me feel comfortable that they knew what they were doing and I had a clear understanding of what might/could happen over the series of peels.  I won’t go into how peels are done because I don’t really have the technical know-how for that, but I certainly know what it feels like and I know of the different types of peels I have had.

  • Glycolic 30 (I pulled all of these descriptions from the brochure of the place I frequent)- “A chemical exfoliant that promotes the repair and regeneration of skin. Brightens, tightens and lightens skin tone and improves texture. Aids in the elimination of dead skin cell accumulation. Improves the appearance of dull, aging skin, dark spots and pitted scarring. Great anti-aging benefits!” 
  • Glycolic 60“An aggressive chemical exfoliant that promotes the repair and regeneration of skin. Brightens, tightens and lightens skin tone and improves texture. Aids in the elimination of dead skin cell accumulation and improves the appearance of aging skin, dark spots and pitted scarring.”
  • Modified Jessner 14% (my personal favorite!)- “Our most popular progressive grade chemical peel. This is known as our combo peel as it contains ‘three peels in one’ to improve multiple skin concerns. A synergy of effective acids help reduce the appearance of aging, melasma, freckles, acne and chronic redness and inflammation.”
  • TCA 15% Medical Grade“Improves the appearance of aging skin, smoothes fine lines and enhances skin tone. Recommended for fine lines, actinic keratosis, hyper-pigmentation, aging, sun damaged, and mature skin.”

So what does a chemical peel look like?

Let’s take a look.

(End of December 2015) After the first peel- I don’t look much different….maybe brighter with a nicer glow to my face.

(January 20, 2016) Right after my 3rd peel, this time a Modified Jessner’s . My skin is definitely tighter, brighter and glowing. No make-up either, baby!

(January 24, 2016) Day 4 of my Modified Jessner’s Peel and my skin is tighter. Skin flaking started on Day 3 and skin peeling has now started.  I am hoping and expecting my face to fall off like it did 4 years ago, when I did my first series of 6.  That time, my skin really did fall off my face- it looked like this:

May 2012- Creepy, gross and totally AWESOME!

Personally, I’ve had success with chemical peels. I do think it’s necessary to find a place you trust and visit them a few times before ever taking the plunge. Ask a million questions and find the facialist or dermatologist you feel comfortable with. Don’t be afraid to ask the receptionist or the owner of the spa who THEY would see on their staff, seriously. When I was doing research for this post, I saw ads for *do it at home* chemical peels.  Honestly, that scares the crap out of me. I think it much smarter to visit a business who make this their business, especially where your face is concerned.  My two cents.

Anyone else have experience with chemical peels?

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