As a girl who has just hit 31, getting a facial peel is something that’s been recommended to me various times by beauty publications, friends, colleagues and aestheticians alike. However, the treatment has always sounded a little terrifying to me. I bet so many of you have seen that Sex and The City episode; but even if you haven’t, you probably still have visions of your face flaking off like a terrible sunburn (without the pleasure of sunbathing on a beach all day).
However, facial peels are on the up, and are fast becoming one of the most carried out skincare treatments across spas, clinic and salons in the UK. So, something here must be a rumour. There’s got to be a reason so many people – especially celebrities – swear by them.
I’m no stranger to skin treatments. From microdermabrasion and laser to dermaroller and extraction treatments, I’ve tried and tested a fair few. Embracing a facial peel was next on my beauty mission, so I headed off to see Laura Foley of Laura Kathryn Aesthetics, based at Skin HD in Chorlton.
A quick intro to Skin HD first, because it’s actually brand new so it was a new discovery for me. In a nutshell, its a specialist facial aesthetic destination set up by Helena Dunk, a fully qualified Nurse Prescriber who wanted everyone to be able to afford facial aesthetic treatments with a personal touch. They offer everything from the below:
- Wrinkle-relaxing injections
- Dermal fillers
- Thread lift
- Chemical peels
- Lip enhancement
- Tear trough
Laura talked me through chemical peels, and explained how some of them are much lighter, including combinations of alphahydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids, such as glycolic acid, lactic acid and salicylic acid. These are part of the Glo Therapeutics Facials and Peels she offers.
As a beauty journalist, I’m familiar with all these ingredients, and have used many in lower percentages in my skincare regime before. Hearing this was comforting – I was just going to have a much more concentrated and effective treatment.
Glo Therapeutics Facials and Peels
Laura looked at my pigmentation which has developed from years of sunbeds and living in Australia (I know I know, please forgive me, we all make terrible mistakes in life) and understood I was keen to have it lifted a little. She also noticed my post-acne marks and scars, and signs of lines and wrinkles (crows feet are by far my worst!).
Overall, my skin constantly looks dull and pigmented, and prone to breakouts. She talked me through the Glo Therapeutics facials & peels on offer, which are pharmaceutical graded treatments targeting multiple skin concerns, using natural fruit acids and high levels of active ingredients and antioxidants. Unlike other skin peels, Glo peels deliver results without skin trauma & aggressive peeling. They have little to no downtime, where a course of 6 treatments costs £300 and single treatments £60.
So, after deciding to go for the Hydra Radiance Peel (ideal for combination and dry skin concerned with aging and hyperpigmentation) here’s a snippet of what it actually is:
Glo Therapeutics Hydra Radiance Peel – 45 mins, £60
This is a treatment which smooths, hydrates and brightens, improving the appearance of fine lines and pigmentation. The peel offers a deep exfoliation whilst maintaining moisture. With a larger molecular size, Lactic Acid is a preferred option for dry and sensitive skin as well as first time peel clients. Added antioxidants help repair damage and strengthen the skin.
And here is everything I learnt about having a chemical peel. You can thank me later for sharing no makeup photos!
Chemical Peels Don’t Usually Have Scary-Looking Results Anymore
If you’ve ever seen post-peel photos where it looks like the patient’s skin is falling off, it’s understandable that you’d be hesitant to get a peel yourself. However, this isn’t the case in general, and especially not with Glo Therapeutic peels. They are much more gentle, but just as effective. Sometimes you get a little peeling with some stronger ones, and other times you get no peeling at all because they’re essentially fruit acids.
In my case, I left with very little redness (I want to say no redness, but there possibly was the tiniest bit so I’ll go with very little) – I just looked fresher, brighten, and dare I say it, more cleaner. Like I’d had all the gunk peeled off my face!
There Are Several Types Of Peels
Back when peels first ‘came out’, some of them would basically remove the top layer of your face, causing trauma, peeling and redness. However, there are so many peels around now which are specifically targetted to treat different concerns and suit different skin types, so they are much more gentle, but don’t lose their effectiveness.
I can only talk about the Hydra Radiance Peel, but Laura at Skin HD also offers a Flower Enzyme Peel (which gently remove superficial dead skin cells), a Beta Clarity Peel (which treats oily, congested and acne-prone skin with salicylic acid), a Glo Pro Peel (packed with Glycolic acid to repair and regenerate skin. Works as a fast acting acid exfoliant, great for oily, problematic skin) and the Triple Transformation Peel (a modified Jessner formula delivering a synergy of effective acids to create transformation, reducing the appearance of melasma, freckles and acne).
Almost Anyone Can Get A Peel
As long as you stick to a gentler peel, pretty much any patient is a candidate for the procedure. From researching, I saw that some harsher treatments can cause hyperpigmentation, especially in people of color, but using softer peels over the recommended period of time shouldn’t cause any problems.
The only times you shouldn’t get a peel? If your skin is already flaking because it’s so dry, or if you have open wounds or sores on your face.
The Peel Stings…
As I mentioned earlier, I’ve previously used products that contain lower percentages of acids like glycolic and ascorbic, so I’m used to a little tingling with my skin care routine. The peel that Laura applied to my face did sting as soon as it was applied, although it actually wasn’t left on for very long.
The treatment states 45 minutes, but don’t be worried by this – you don’t actually have the stinging peel acid on your face for 45 minutes! Laura cleansed and prepped by face first after giving a full consultation, and then applied the peel. Once removed, the face was cleansed and a cooling mask was applied to bring how any heat on the skin, pack in some more nutrients, and freshen up my complexion.
And then, my protection and moisturising steps took place, so that by the time the 45 minutes were up, I had a glowing, fresh, cool face with no redness in sight. Do expect a tingling sensation, but in my experience, it was minimal and absolutely nothing to worry about.
It Just Feels Like A Facial
And a tingling one at that. Despite the few minutes where the peel is really working deep down, the rest of the process feels a lot like a lovely, relaxing facial. Laura talked to me about my skin and skincare in general the whole way through, which was so so interesting, and she applied all the products in a way that felt like a mini face massage too. I’d go as far as to say the whole thing was relaxing!
You’ll Glow Immediately
The photos that state ‘before’ are of my skin immediately before the peel began. On the ‘after’ ones, you can see my skin immediately after. There’s almost no redness, and so much ‘glowiness’. I literally have this brightness and almost what I call ‘a bit of a sheen‘ radiating from my skin. My end-of-day bags under my eyes also appeared to be reduced, which is crazy because the peel doesn’t even go near my eyes, so that’s a bonus!
It also took down the redness and angryness of a very huge, unfortunate looking spot I adopted a few days before my facial. Laura applied a little more product to that particular area, and I was amazed how quickly the peel shrank it down and reduced the redness. I’m usually a really slow healer, so I didn’t expect a result so quickly…
The Peeling Happens Later
With the type of peel I got, there was zero downtime — my skin just looked extra glowy when I got up from the bed. However, they say to expect your skin to start flaking anything from 1 to 4 days late. I did notice a little bit of flaking around my nose and on dry patches of my cheeks around 2 days after the peel, but hardly anything. Maybe some of the stronger ones bring this on a little more.
It Helps With Acne and Pigmentation
I’d been avoiding peels for the past few years because quite frankly I was so unsure about them. I didn’t know which one to get or what problem to treat. I’ve always suffered from active spots and the thought of a peel going onto them made me shudder.
But I was wrong – peels are fantastic. Your trained aesthetician will know exactly what acids should or shouldn’t go into your treatment, and luckily, there are soooo many which are fabulous for acne and pigmentation. Mine was heavy in lactic acid, and if I was to complete the sessions, I’d see a complete improvement.
Results: 4 Days Later…
My peel was 4 days ago and I literally had no problems at all, throughout any of the journey. I was immediately glowy straight after, and my large spot and little remains of small breakouts shrank in size and redness within about 10 hours! I was really shocked. My complexion was brighter, with a radiant finish, and I just looked so much healthier.
It’s hard to put into words, but the Hydra Radiance Peel gave me a clearer, smoother, healthier looking complexion pretty much straight away. My skin was so silky to touch, and when I used my normal skincare products the next day, they literally glided on and sank in beautifully. And the same could be said for my make up, although I actually felt I needed much less of this as my skin looked in optimum health!
Laura talked me through all the other treatments she offers at Skin HD, and I can honestly say that I know I’m just at the beginning of my adventure with skin peels. I’d love to complete a course of 6 and really tackle my pigmentation, whilst looking after my fine lines and dull complexion.
A fantastic place, with brilliantly trained staff that have completely converted me to *literally* jumping head first into the chemical peel pool. My skin is going to love me!