I have been trying to repair my sun damaged skin for well over a year. While I have had some luck and my skin is better than it was before I started working on it last summer, it still isn't where I want it to be. So far, I've tried:
A whole host of over the counter products to treat age spots or melasma. Nothing made a noticeable difference.
A Glytone 4% hydroquinone treatment (prescription). It worked to some degree, but only on the top layer of skin.
A series of three microdermabrasion / 30% acid peels. This definitely made an improvement in my skin, however it also revealed that my skin was damaged on a much deeper level and would need more work.
(Me now. I still have a lot of melasma on my cheeks and overall darker patches across my nose and cheeks. Plus my skin texture is slightly rough.)
I had mentioned this to my gal pal Madeleine at La Papillon Spa. She suggested I consider getting a heavier duty peel that will have more dramatic results. While the idea of downtime isn't ideal, neither is having brown splotches on my face. And I really hate that portions of my face don't come anywhere close to matching my neck. So I decided to pull out the big guns and get a Rejuvenize Peel at La Papillon Spa. La Papillon is my favorite local spa for brows and facials. They are always accommodating and very, very nice. I know, a spa should be those things, but lately, bad customer service is following me around like the plague and I am sick of it. That never happens at La Papillon, thankfully. But back to the peel.
According to SkinMedica, the maker of the peel, the "Rejuvenize Peel is an advanced formulation of peeling agents, with a built-in anti-irritant and penetration enhancer that provides controlled exfoliation of the uppermost damaged layers of the skin to reveal fresher and healthier skin. Provides predictable results with minimal down time." I should mention that this is a medical grade peel and only available from doctors and medi-spas.
I haven't had any kind of peel with down time, so this should be interesting. Since the weatherman is calling for several feet of snow this weekend, this is the perfect time to get this procedure. I am told that this peel is basically a controlled wound (scary!) and that I will want to be sure to have a few days where I can semi-hibernate. I am getting the peel done this afternoon (Wednesday) and should be able to go back to work on a Tuesday. Since my office is accustomed to showing up to work wearing hairpieces and having an inappropriate eye makeup during the day, I will see if I can make it through Friday with a peeling face. Hopefully, the bulk of the "frosting" (when the skin peels) will happen over the weekend. I am also told I must not peel the skin myself, which will no doubt be the hardest part.
If you are considering getting this kind of peel, I will be posting pictures along the way, so you will know what to expect. I am told my face will peel dramatically and that is supposed to do that and that I shouldn't be scared when a lot of skin comes off. Consider me prepped!
So what kind of results should I see? Hopefully, this will get down into the deeper layers of my face, removing some of the damage that was probably caused when I was in 5th grade. Madeleine Homes, owner of La Papillon says that I can expect to see, "a dramatic improvement in the overall luminosity of the skin, it will be brighter, smoother and will help diminish the melasma. But don't expect to walk out with a perfectly new face. There is a little bit of an ugly duckling period before the gorgeous swan appears!"
I know it won't get rid of everything in one treatment, but it will be the most aggressive peel I have ever had so I am excited to see what happens. I am not nervous about the downtime, but I did forget to ask if it would hurt. I always forget to ask the obvious...I'll get back to you on that one.
Here is how pale I am, when wearing foundation. I have sun damage, but with the right makeup, I am able to blend and cover. However, I have a real problem finding foundation that can straddle the line between my face and neck, as they are totally different colors. Despite what everyone who works for MAC thinks, I prefer to be more pale than very yellow. It's a problem.
Here is my skin under a Woods Lamp. Those dark spots are sun damage that is just waiting to become visible on my skin. I am relieved to see one spot on my nose isn't a hot mess under this lamp. In reality, I think I have scar tissue from either falling out of a tree or from falling off my bike while bike-dancing to "No Sleep 'Til Brooklyn", which I am sure shows up differently. Good googamooga. Here are a few more reasons to wear a lot of sunscreen, floppy hats and stay out of the sun.
My hope is that this peel will help erase some of this sun damage, make my skin look more luminous, younger and diminish fine lines. It's a lot to ask, but it is also a serious peel.
La Papillon Spa, the medi-spa who performed the peel, is under a doctor's supervision and is trained in administering this peel. Madeleine, the owner of La Papillon, explained what she was about to do.
"I am going to start by double cleansing your skin. Then I am going to remove every trace of oil with isopropyl alcohol. Then, I will begin the peel by wiping your skin with solution-infused gauze. I am going be a little on the aggressive side in places where you have more damage and gently pat the solution on in areas that are more delicate, like around your mouth and eyes. It won't hurt, but it will tingle and you may want to breathe through your mouth."
Madeleine wanted to make sure that I was prepared to not be hot when I returned home that night. (I assure you, I am normally a stone cold fox* at home.) So she sent my on my way with the following instructions:
Try not to wash your face.
Don't touch your face tonight - use a Q-tip.
Don't let anyone kiss or lick your face tonight. ( I have dogs people. Loxy doesn't lick my face regularly.)
Use the SkinMedica cleanser (she sent me home with goodies) and the SPF tomorrow. That's it.
She said I can expect to start peeling in 24-48 hours and I should NEVER pick at the skin as it peels. (That is going to be hard.) She said I can try to wear makeup, but it will look weird as I begin to peel (ala Death Becomes Her, I imagine.). She reminded me that most people opt to stay home during the peeling process and not volunteer or go to the office, like me. Lucky for me, a snowstorm is coming, so I will have no choice but to stay home.
This is Madeleine and I last night when I left. The yellow tinge is normal and faded in a few hours, allowing me to resume being foxy* at home. When I left, my skin was tender and felt like I had just applied some strong acids to it. In fact, I had, so that is totally normal.
How did I look 12 hours later? Pretty much the same. No peeling, no redness. My face does feel like I have a killer sunburn, but that is to be expected, I am sure. I do feel like I should be putting that green aloe gel you use in the summer on burns, but I don't want to impede the peeling process. In this pic I am only wearing a bit of eye makeup. No powder, no nothing. Only an SPF.
At the 24 hour point, my face still feels very tight and as if it got too much sun. It certainly doesn't hurt, but definitely feels as if it has undergone a process of some kind. There has not been any peeling yet.
I am now 36 hours into my SkinMedica Rejuvenize chemical peel. When I went to bed last night, around 11pm, I had a tiny little bit of skin that had started to peel. When I woke up this morning, I ran to the bathroom with the anticipation associated with Christmas to see if the peeling had begun. Sadly, it hadn't. I was starting to wonder if I was actually going to peel (I am totally impatient, I know.) Not quite yet awake, I yawned. And like an egg, my face cracked around my mouth.
I did however, take a shower and after being in the steam of the shower for five minutes, I did gently roll the pads of my fingers over my face, which removed a bit of the skin. Thank goodness that is allowed, otherwise not peeling anything would make me nuts.
Now, to answer the big questions that everyone is emailing me about:
1. This medical-grade peel from SkinMedica is a cocktail of Salicylic Acid, Lactic Acid, Resorcinol, Panthenol and Isoceteth-20 and .3% Retinoic Acid.
2. The cost of the peel from La Papillon is $220 for one peel. If you purchase them in a package of three, you save 15% and the cost comes down to $187 each.
3. The actual salon visit is very quick. You can be in and out in less than 30 minutes. Peeling won't begin for 24-48 hours. The amount of peeling is said to be dramatic.
4. The level of results you will see will depend on the condition of your skin. You should see dramatic improvements after one peel, however, more damaged skin will need additional peels to get the desired results. Here is a before after picture of a woman with significant acne scarring after 3 treatments with the Rejuvenize Peel.
I will be sure to update this later today. As of now, my skin feels very tight, on the dry side and still feels as if I have been in the sun too long.
10:45 am update: I was sitting in a meeting and was pretty positive more peeling began, mid-meeting, while talking. A quick mirror check reveals that yes, my chin is peeling. Good thing the snowpocalypse is coming and I am heading home soon. This might start to get embarrassing...
Don't act like you don't.)
It has now been 60 hours since I got a Rejuvenize Peel from La Papillon Spa and I am heading into the serious peel portion of this program. Although similar to the snow that I kept waiting for with bated breath yesterday afternoon, nothing that dramatic has started to happen. However, Loxy keeps coming over and looking at me, saying, "Hold still. I swear I see a Pre-Cog under there*. Let me get that", as he reaches over to pull on my face. Then I turn and yell, "LOXY! I can't predict pre-crime. This isn't Minority Report. We won't have access to that cool computer screen and I won't solve any redballs." If I didn't know better, I would be bothered that my husband apparently secretly wishes I lived in a goo-filled bathtub and had special powers.
However, I am starting to peel. And I am not good at not picking at the peeling skin. Madeleine is trying to be a great coach, texting and tweeting me not to pick at my skin. A Gouldylox reader gave me the perfect suggestion to put lotion and socks on my hands, to save me from myself. (One also suggested duct taping oven mitts to my hands, which I am likely to do.) I do think they are totally on to something and I am planning on giving myself several paraffin treatments so I can't pick at my skin. Although honestly, I am not sure socks, paraffin-ed fingers or oven mitts can stop me. I am trying though.
When I went in for the peel, Madeleine, owner of La Papillon Spa, had mentioned that I could wear a little mineral blush if I couldn't manage being face-naked. However, she warned that as "chunks" of skin come off, my blush may look a little odd. Almost as if I randomly forgot to apply it to a section of my face. I am fine with being sans makeup. But it does make me wonder, though. What about sunscreen? I am vigilant about wearing sunscreen. Is that flaking off with the top layer of my skin as well? I am already breaking my new skin? Concerned that was the case and not wanting to damage my new skin, I decided the best thing to do was this:
The people at CVS thought I was insane (or there to steal lip gloss). People in cars thought I was nuts, with my oversized sun glasses and my sparkle wrap covering my peeling face (the car dancing and singing probably didn't help). Oh well.
Tomorrow, I will just carry sunscreen with me and apply and reapply. That assumes I set foot outside or open a curtain. Neither are likely.
As for my punim, my chin and nose area are starting to peel more. I don't feel as tight as I did previously, but probably because my face "cracked" when I yawned at the 36 hour mark. It still feels very tender, especially after I wash it.
It also feels dry and I really want to add my Peptide Extreme Cream (I can't say that without sounding like a Monster Truck announcer in my head) to aid the dryness, but I picture my face like a paper-mâché project in reverse. I don't want to gunk up the works with moisturizer, so I will try to leave it alone.
Update 10am: I went outside to help Loxy shovel and rake the roof. (Which is different from "raising" the roof.) I was slathered in sunscreen, a hat and a scarf and the cold air and occasional snow blowing on my face made my punim feel instantly chapped, raw and sore. Needless to say, I finished up quickly and came inside. I think my skin is heading into the "chunks falling off, red and sore" phase I keep hearing about.
*This is a Pre-Cog. It's from the super movie, Minority Report, which is the film that makes me not dislike Tom Cruise immensely.
1. If you must rake your roof to remove some of the snow, be prepared for the combination of blistering cold and snow that blows back on your face to sting. In fact, be prepared for feeling like you instantly obtained the mother of all chapped faces.
2. Don't watch Season 4, episode 5 of Friday Night Lights. Unless you're a cyborg, you are going to cry. CRYING REALLY HURTS. It hurts worse than snow-blowback.
3. And finally, never, ever wear one of these.
Loxy felt bad for how much my face hurt in the snow and decided he didn't want me to be in pain when we had to go our for the second round of shoveling. So he thoughtfully dug out his face masks from when he did the Alaska AIDS Vaccine Ride in 2000. At first, it felt nice - all warm and soft on my extremely tender skin. Then I started to breathe outside. Which means the face mask gets moist (I hate that word, too). And it gets cold. So now there is damp, cold piece of fabric pressed against my face. Like a trooper, I dealt with it for about 20 minutes, and then I came inside and collapsed. I almost considered taking ibuprofen at that point, but since I need to report on what it is like to go through this quasi-medical procedure, wimping out seemed like a cheat.
I know, it's gross. But honestly, for the past 4 days all I have talked about is how my skin is falling off, so I think we are past that by now. Anyway, taking a hot shower felt so fantastic that I actually got out of the shower for the second time having forgotten to rinse out my conditioner. What can I say? Skin balls are mind blowing.
I ended my day by succumbing and putting on a little Jan Marini Peptide Extreme. Somehow, that didn't hurt at all. Probably because my skin was all loose and open from the steam. My face still feels like it might crack if I smile, but it feels SO MUCH BETTER than it did before. Of course, now that I found that JMPE is the one thing that doesn't hurt, I am also out of it. And snowed in, so I can't go buy more.
La Papillon has any Peptide Extreme in stock and is open tomorrow? Surely I can leave my house tomorrow...
*Ranked scientifically and solely by me.
exactly what happened. While I certainly didn't look good, the amount of peeling did not stop me from going somewhere like the grocery store, but it did stop me from going to work. So small jaunts were okay, but long stays around people you know was not something I would have wanted to do, from a vanity standpoint.
As I write this, it is now the start of the sixth day. My skin is still lizard-like in some places, where the peeling isn't quite finished. I miss my products - especially my eye cream - I like my whole skincare routine and I miss it. Depending on how sensitive my skin is, I am hopeful that I can start using my regular skincare products tomorrow (one week after having the peel). My skin isn't really tender any longer, just dry (in some areas).
I even gave myself a good (yet gentle) face massage in the shower to remove some of the dry skin in the areas that still need to peel. Overall, I am really satisfied with the amount of skin that peeled and what was revealed. I didn't know what to expect from a pain perspective when I started this process. It was not particularly painful, provided you don't go outside in the snow or wear a face mask. It did make my face tingle when the peel itself was applied and it was tender at times. I was prepared to be more uncomfortable than I actually was.
This morning, I decided to battle the snow that still hasn't been plowed from my street (or around my office) and go into work. I also wore makeup for the first time in 6 days. I still have some dryness, specifically around my nasolabial folds, but it's nothing too obvious. I opted to use Kate Sommerville Quench as a hydrator, Jan Marini's AntiOxidant SPF 30 as my sunscreen and Stila's One Step Makeup as my foundation.
I opted for the Stila foundation because it is a moisturizer, primer and beautiful foundation all in one. While you can still see some of my face flakes, no one is staring and I look pretty good, all things considered. This foundation is on the sheer side, but is doing a nice job of covering, while letting my new luminous skin shine through. I am not wearing any concealer in this photo, only the foundation, blush and eyeshadow.
My skin still needs to heal and calm down. It's a little red in patches and there is definitely a little flaking left, especially around my hair line. In a few days, I will have a better idea of the final results. As of now, I can tell that my skin is amazingly luminous and that some areas of my melasma have been reduced. Although in all honesty, I fear there are a few really annoying hyper-pigmentation spots that may have been revealed a little more. What that may mean is that some of the melasma is finally closer to the surface (where before it was deeply buried) and that it will now respond more positively to topical treatments or another round of peeling. However, Madeleine at La Papillon reassures me in that it likely means there is more peeling to come in that area, so only time will tell! Some fine lines on my cheekbone have also been slightly diminished. While I am too impatient to wait, I will have to do just that! My skin still has a lot of healing to do and I can't wait to see the results.
While I am hoping for stellar results with one peel, this peel is usually prescribed as part of a multi-peel treatment. The first peel reveals amazing skin and additional peels may be required to resurface skin, address stubborn melasma or to diminish fine lines. Later next week, I'll reveal the final results!
It has now been a little over two weeks since I went for a Rejuvenize peel from La Papillon Spa. The Rejuvenize peel is a medical grade chemical peel from SkinMedica and is only performed in doctor's offices or by trained professionals at medi-spas. This type of chemical peel requires several days of downtime, where you won't want people who don't live in your house to see you. I got my peel right before the largest snow storm in Maryland history hit, but had I not been snowbound, I would have been homebound for three or four full days. This peel is normally prescribed in a series of three. My results show what happened to my skin after one peel.
To recap, this peel doesn't hurt, but does tingle when it is applied. It also can feel like you have a sunburn from time to time. Essentially, you are putting a controlled chemical on your skin to remove several surface layers of skin, so you should expect a small amount of discomfort. However, it the amount of "uncomfortable-ness" isn't anything that would make me hesitant to do this again.
Under a Woods Lamp, which highlights sun damage, here is what I looked like pre-peel:
I was able to go to work for the first twenty-four hours. I started peeling dramatically around hour thirty-six.
While you are in the peeling process, you can't use any of your regular skin care. No eye creams, no serums, no moisturizers. Once I was cleared for returning to my usual routine (around day 8), I needed a little help. Without the use of my normal products, my skin needed a little boost to get back into the swing of things. To get my skin into its most glowing condition possible post-peel, I used SkinCeuticals Rextexturizing Serum. This product claims to surpass the results of using a 20% glycolic acid daily. It also helps boost hydration and helped my skin continue to look even more radiant and luminous post peel.
When my skin seemed to be dehydrated in the week following the peel, Madeleine suggested I switch from my Kate Somerville Quench to something a little stronger. She suggested I use SkinCeuticals B-5 Gel, which is like a tall drink of water for your skin. Once I used the B-5 a few times, I noticed a distinct improvement in my skin's hydration levels.
And here is what I look like two weeks after having the Rejuvenize Peel:
The biggest improvement, I think, is in the overall texture of my skin. My skin had a slightly rough texture that normal exfoliation wasn't fixing. Now, the texture of my skin is much more smooth and my skin looks luminous and healthier.
So what does this look like without any makeup and with a light, sheer foundation in natural light?
(Here is another shot of my skin in different lighting that really shows the improved texture of my skin.)
Want a Rejuvenize peel for yourself? Visit the SkinMedica website to find licensed professionals. In Maryland? Call La Papillon at 410.252.1400 or visit them at www.lapapillonspa.com.
This peel was provided for the purposes of review. Products were also partially furnished by Jan Marini and SkinCeuticals for the purposes of review.
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