What is a Clinical MicroPeel Treatment?
A Clinical MicroPeel is an advanced facial procedure formulated with a chemical agent solution to exfoliate and renew the skin. This peel solution is typically based on glycolic, salicylic, or lactic acid, but other active ingredients are occasionally also used. These medical-grade chemical peels exfoliate and stimulate skin to correct common conditions like fine lines, enlarged pores, congested skin, acne, blemishes and irregular pigmentation, and progressive results such as reduced hyperpigmentation, laxity and acne scarring can be seen in a series of 4-6 procedures.
How does it work?
Clinical MicroPeels exfoliate and remove excessive dead skin cells built up on the surface of the skin, evening out skin complexion to create a healthy glow with a gradual smoothing of the skin’s surface and clearing of skin blemishes. A safe and effective “chemical agent” is applied to the skin to intensely exfoliate and speed up the cell turnover process. Clinical MicroPeel procedures are effective because they take advantage of this natural biological process, a process that is constantly at work in the skin. Skin is the largest organ of the body, and it is constantly under attack from multiple daily factors that can accelerate skin-aging as well as other skin concerns such as blemishes and uneven skin tone. Clinical MicroPeels remove the outer layers of the skin so that newer and healthier skin cells can surface. In the process, blemishes, sun-damage and other imperfections are peeled away, and collagen production is boosted to increase the firmness of the skin. Depending on the extent of the skin’s damage and issues, one treatment can improve these conditions but may not completely eliminate imperfections. In some cases, a series of treatments may be required for optimal results.
Is a Clinical MicroPeel right for me?
Clinical MicroPeels are safe for the majority of clients seeking to improve the overall appearance of their skin, however there are a few factors to be considered when scheduling your procedure. These treatments are designed for customization to accommodate all skin types, but clients with allergies to Aspirin, acetylsalicylic acid (ASA), or those who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not undergo this treatment. It is also highly recommended that clients do not tan before or after this treatment, are compliant users of SPF on a daily basis and also have not waxed or had laser treatments at least two weeks prior to the procedure. Other chemical exfoliant treatments or products should also be avoided two weeks prior to the treatment.
What kinds of MicroPeels are available?
Our clinic offers three kinds of customizable peels depending on the client’s skin type, concerns and desired results.
Glycolic (exfoliation and anti-aging): This is an excellent starter peel that improves tone, radiance, imperfections, hyperpigmentation and has anti-aging effects. Glycolic acid penetrates faster and deeper than other alpha hydroxyl acids (AHA) to perform at superficial and deeper levels of the skin. Glycolic acid has the smallest molecular particle size and is the most potent AHA, therefore it penetrates more effectively. Once applied, glycolic acid reacts with the upper layer of the epidermis, weakening the binding properties of the lipids that hold the dead skin cells together, allowing the stratum corneum (outermost layer of skin) to be exfoliated, exposing the newer and healthier skin cells.
Salicylic (anti-acne) – Derived from willow bark, it has similar benefits to that of glycolic acid, yet is more effective in the treatment of acne and early photo aging. Salicylic can penetrate oil because it is oil-soluble, while other acids are water soluble. Because of this this property, it can penetrate inside of a pore and exfoliate the lining of the pore wall. This loosens and allows the contents of the pore to be extracted more freely. An oilier skin type will benefit from this acid since it will encourage the oil to flow more freely out of the skin. This acid addresses hardened blackheads and stubborn acne, and is a suitable treatment for active cystic acne. Clients wanting to treat active cystic acne can benefit from a series of salicylic peels, or for more dramatic results, our Fractora RF Microneedling Treatment is another excellent option. Read more about Fractora RF Microneedling Treatment on our blog HERE.
Lactic (hydration and anti-aging) – Lactic acid is a member of the AHA group of molecules that promote desquamation (peeling) of the stratum corneum. Lactic acid has a much larger molecular size, and cannot penetrate as fast or as deeply as glycolic acid, and is considered a moisturizing agent. For these reasons, Lactic acid is best suited for people who require a less aggressive exfoliation and milder approach to skin rejuvenation. A gradual smoothing, brightening, and clearing of skin blemishes will be accomplished. This peel is not suitable for severely dry and dehydrated skin or those with a compromised lipid barrier.
How many treatments will I need?
Peels are meant to be progressive and not aggressive, and as with most rejuvenation type procedures, better results can be seen with a series of treatments. After the skin has completely healed following the first treatment, the skin will appear fresher, cleaner, smoother and softer, and optimal results can be seen after a series of 4-6 treatments, spaced at 2-4 weeks apart. The exact number of treatments needed depends on a few factors such as how much sun-damage the skin has, how aggressive any acne may be and how each individual’s skin type reacts to the treatments. Some clients experience a lot of peeling and some clients do not have any visible peeling following their first treatment.
What can I expect at my first treatment?
Before treatment can begin, a medical esthetician will see you in a personalized and private consultation to make sure the treatment is right for you. Consultations may be completed in advance or, sometimes, on the same day as the first treatment at the discretion of our staff. If you have any allergies or product preferences it is best to let your esthetician know prior to treatment. With the client’s consent, our staff will typically take photos before the first treatment with our high accuracy facial scanner so that end results may be viewed in comparison.
A Clinical MicroPeel treatment typically takes one hour for a facial peel and up to two hours for other areas of the body, such as the back or chest. When you come in for treatment, your esthetician will bring you into a private room and a cleanser will be used to prepare the area being treated; a toner may also be used on oilier skin types to ensure the skin is completely clean. A gentle but powerful exfoliator containing a blend of pineapple and papaya fruit enzymes will be applied to dissolve dead skin cells and boost the skin’s natural cell turnover. After a few minutes, the enzyme exfoliator will be removed so that the chemical agents of the procedure will not be effected. The peel solution will then be applied to the skin in short strokes until the entire treatment area has been covered. The esthetician will pay close attention to the skin’s reaction to the peeling agent, and will ensure any areas that may be more sensitive are treated with a neutralizer and you are kept comfortable. Any itching or discomfort diminishes quite quickly during the procedure, and the peeling agent is neutralized after a few minutes on the skin. The peeling solution will be completely rinsed from the treatment area and a revitalizing clay-based mask formulated with collagen, elastin and vitamins will be applied to the skin to soothe, hydrate, clarify and nourish while minimizing the look of pores, blotchiness and redness. Finally a moisturizer and medical-grade sunscreen will be applied to ensure comfort, sun protection and optimal healing.
What can I expect following my treatment?
Each client’s skin reacts differently to this procedure, some clients experience a lot of peeling while others only have superficial peeling. If you do not see any large flaking or peeling (especially on less-sensitive areas such as the back), do not worry – there will still be subtle results after the first treatment and more noticeable results after the series is completed. If you do experience moderate flaking, it is important to not pick or pull at the skin; the flakes will shed naturally. Ensure that the face is only pat dry after cleansing using a clean towel. Rubbing is not recommended since this may dislodge peeling skin.
The treatment area cannot be washed for at least 6 hours following a Clinical MicroPeel, and it is recommended to wash the area the following morning. Makeup may not be applied for the rest of the day following the treatment, however high-grade mineral makeup may be used the following day. A post-peel kit may be purchased at our office, and contains a gentle cleanser, moisturizer and sunscreen. These are the only recommended products to be used for at least a week after this procedure, and chemical exfoliants (such as AHAs, retinols or topical prescriptions) may NOT be used for at least a week. Sunscreen is mandatory and laser or other treatments should not be performed two weeks post-procedure. Heat should be avoided internally and externally for 24 hours – for example and intense work outs and hot tubs should be avoided. Avoid all sun exposure because skin is photosensitized, and avoid using abrasive products (scrubs, exfoliating sponges).
Possible side effects of this treatment can include:
- Slight desquamation (flaking) is possible for 3 to 5 days following the peeling
- Itching, irritation, redness, increased sensitivity
- Risk of hyperpigmentation with darker skin types (in this case a patch-test may be required)
How can I ensure my desired results are achieved?
Excellent client home-care is an important part of healing after a Clinical MicroPeel, and also ensure you obtain the best results. It is typical to expect that the desired results are 30% dependent on clinical procedures, and that 70% is dependent on proper home-care. A series of treatments spaced at two to four weeks apart will ensure optimal results are achieved.