One thing I’ve learned in recent years is to find people I trust to help me with my (many) weaknesses. Skincare is one of those areas for me. I am at an age where my lack of care and interest has caught up with me though. Many years of not protecting my skin from the sun left me with sun spots and hyper pigmentation that just doesn’t look great.
As I shared in THIS post last year, once I discovered Beth Casse and her team at Beyond Skin, I felt good about letting them guide me. Only of my favorite things about Beth and her team don’t make me feel guilty about my mistakes from the past. These ladies have a “leave it to us” attitude for people like me that I really like.
Lightening up sun damage
In the case of my skin’s hyperpigmentation, we’ve tried many topical approaches over the past year. While there was some improvement, Beth was honest with me that if I wanted to really see a difference, we would have to try something a little different. For me, she recommended the ZO medium-depth chemical peel followed up by a skin lightening treatment.
After explaining the whole process and why she felt I would be a good candidate for it, I was totally game for giving it a try and sharing my experience here on the blog. Just in case there are other people like me out there who are curious cats like I am.
The First Day
My appointment for the peel was fairly quick. Beth prepped my face and then applied the solution. She warned me that it would be uncomfortable for about 5 minutes. She was right about that. My skin felt a stinging sensation, but was made much more bearable with a fan.
After she applied some sort of other cream, the feeling went away. Beth and her team went through all the instructions and let me ask my gazillion questions, and I went on my way.
Below is a visual for the first day. My face was shiny and had a yellow tint from the whatever the ointment is that stops the peeling process. Nothing like taking close up shots of your face to make you feel self-conscious. Oh well, we’re all friends here, right?
Days 2 & 3
On the second and third day, I could tell something was happening, but I don’t think anyone else could tell. My skin felt tighter around my face. It was also darker, and my beloved sunspots got darker too. My skin was getting ready to peel, but nothing else.
In my opinion, these are days that you could totally go out and about and probably no one would notice anything was different.
Days 4 & 5
On the morning of the fourth day, something was finally up. I woke up with the skin around my nose peeling in a big sheet. I was relieved to see that it was just brand new healthy baby skin under there instead of the Freddy Kreuger look I had been envisioning.
If you have ever had a bad sunburn on your back or shoulders and started peeling, that is exactly what it was like. The next two days were definitely days I felt self-counscious talking to anyone. So I tried my hardest to avoid being out and about.
Below is a visual so you can get an idea of what it looked like. You can also see a little of how yucky the peeling around my nose was.
Days 6 & 7
The last two days were basically no sweat. I was in the home stretch. Most of the major peeling was over. All that was left was the bits around my hairline. Which did kind of look like dandruff, but I don’t think anyone looks that close to tell. Right?
Overall, the peel was much less scary than I had imagined it to be. What I was worried would be 1 week of my face falling off and scaring little children, was basically 2 days where it looked like I was peeling from sunburn.
After the Peel:
After the peel had done its thing, I went back to Beyond Skin and they put me on a one month brightening system that would start addressing the hyperpigmentation.
Unlike my typical low maintenance, minimal product self, I actually used the system they put me on. I think I followed through with this because I knew there was a purpose for it. The system I used was the ZO Multi-Therapy Hydroquinone System pictured below. For the next month, I just applied the product in the morning and evening.
Below are the before and after of the one month on the hydroquinone treatment.
As you can see, while my skin is nowhere near perfect, the hyperpigmentation did fade quite a bit of the spots in one month.
I am currently taking a break from the lightening treatment, but will probably be hopping back again in the next month or two to see if we can get some of the more stubborn spots.
In the meantime, I am trying my best to wear sunscreen every day. My goal is not to look 25 years old, but I also don’t need to be speeding up the aging process by being careless. Wish I would have come to this conclusion 15 years ago!
Q&A with Beth about Chemical Peels
If you are curious like I am, you might be wondering how and why these medium-depth chemical peels are so effective when combined with a therapeutic treatment. Beth was kind enough to answer some of these questions for us.
What is the difference between the light peels you do during a facial, versus a more intense peel like the ZO Peel?
Unfortunately, several small steps do not equal one big step when it comes to chemical peeling. Very light, monthly peels will help some with discoloration, decongest the skin, induce cellular turnover and improve skin texture.
But they will not help with fine lines… the peel is just not strong enough to reach the deeper layers necessary for improvement in fine lines.
Medium-depth peels will help sun damage, discoloration, and even fine lines and wrinkles. You will peel dramatically for 7-10 days.
What do you look for in a good chemical peel? What do you avoid?
I prefer using low percentages of multiple acids, it gives a better outcome with less irritation than a single acid at a higher strength.
What types of people make good candidates for a deeper chemical peel like this one?
Medium-depth chemical peels can be applied to the face, neck, and body and are highly effective in smoothing texture, improving superficial discoloration and mild photo-aging, eliminating fine wrinkles, and enhancing vitality of skin.
Medium-depth chemical peels are ideal for those who want more dramatic results than a superficial peel can offer but wish to avoid the risk and recovery time associated with deeper peels or laser.
Nothing controls melasma or hyperpigmentation better. Although there isn’t a permanent cure for the recurring sun-triggered or hormonal dark patches but chemical peels (paired with at-home bleaching creams, sunscreen and avoidance of sun exposure ) offer the best chance.
These peels may be applied safely on all skin types and are a great alternative to clients whose skin types are too high risk for laser such as those with olive skin to light brow to dark skin tones. Lasers may make lofty claims, yet they’re essentially trying to treat a light- and heat-sensitive condition with light and heat.
How long should someone go between peels like these?
There is moderate downtime associated with medium-depth chemical peels, and they can be applied up to four times per year.
Hopefully that helps you understand what the medium-depth chemical peel is all about like it helped me. I will certainly be returning to the team at Beyond Skin to help me on this journey to reverse the sun damaged skin on my face.
In the meantime, if you are local, and have skin issues of your own you may want to schedule a visit with Beth, Jonsie or Leslie at Beyond Skin.