How I spot of Chemical peels may seem extreme, but for some common skin conditions they can be extremely beneficial
Earlier this year I developed a particularly virulent outbreak of adult acne. Home remedies weren't working and I grew tired of people telling me to drink more water, so I called Renew on Hatch Street, a clinic that had come highly recommended by friends. I knew I was in safe hands after my first visit. Jeanette, a trained nurse, knew what to do and I got the feeling that she had dealt with hundreds of cases like mine before.
She booked me in for a series of glycolic peels (Jennifer Aniston swears by them, apparently) but, beforehand, she asked me to start using a home programme of salicylic acid-based face wash and acne lotion from the Clear Cell range by Image Skincare to prepare the skin.
She warned me that the range was potent and so to only use the tiniest amounts. I didn't listen, of course. When your skin is inflamed and you have what you believe to be the cure in your hands, the knee-jerk reaction is to slather it on.
Big mistake. While the products reduced inflammation and eliminated excess oil almost immediately, my excessive application also dried out my skin considerably. For a few days I had acne as well as peeling skin. Thankfully the peeling subsided when I started applying the products more judiciously.
I had my first actual peel five days later. Glycolic acid is an AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) known for its exfoliating properties. It works deep beneath the surface of the skin and stimulates cell regeneration and increases collagen production.
The benefits are numerous: skin is less likely to get clogged when dead skin cells are removed while collagen plumps the skin making scars less noticeable.
The treatment is only applied to the skin for a couple of minutes and, while it does sting slightly, you're safe in the knowledge that it will be removed shortly afterwards. The peel left my skin a little bit red (but only temporarily) and I was warned it was likely to peel over the next few days. It didn't -- no doubt because I had performed my own home peel by using ridiculous amounts of the prescribed products.
Jeanette also gave me a pack of vitamin C-based products to calm the skin over the next five days. After the third peel (four weeks later) it was on the mend.
I should add that she also used IPL laser (intense pulsed light) on the live acne on one occasion (it destroys the bacteria that causes acne). Before my last peel, the acne was almost non-existent and the blemishes had changed to a very light pink colour (new skin, as Jeanette explained). The added benefit is that the glycolic peel works on fine lines so my skin looked rejuvenated, plump and even.
Anyone who suffers from adult acne knows how frustrating the condition can be. Products and medicines only work for so long before another breakout occurs.
Glycolic peels, coupled with the at-home programme, has given me a lengthy respite from acne. Save for the occasional hormonal spot, my skin has been clear for the past four months. Delighted is an understatement.
Peels cost €85. For September, Renew is offering a special: buy three and get the fourth free for €255. Renew, 30 Hatch Street Lower, Dublin 2; (01) 661 9261; renewclinic.ie