My skin and I have a pretty solid relationship
However, like most, we have our ups and downs. Lately, I’ve been treating my skin with the utmost respect and tender loving care. Let’s just say that I had plenty of spare time on my hands (thanks quarantine). I’ve dedicated a good part of each day to self-care during these past few months, and as a result, my skin is thriving. Since I started working from home around mid-March, I’ve only put on makeup a handful of times; I take my precious time doing my morning and nighttime skincare routines, and I drink lots of water (among other drinks, but lots and lots of water). As much as these are habits that I should maintain year-round, early mornings on-the-go, distractions of the job, and the routine of “normal” life often get in the way. However, I’ve realized the importance of self-care and have made a conscious decision to devote more time and energy toward reaching my wellness goals. Personally, that includes caring for my skin and putting my best fresh, glowy face forward.
For reference, here’s a quick rundown of skin journey thus far:
As a teenager, I dealt with severe acne; I was extremely self-conscious about it. I went through a phase where I caked on foundation and concealer thinking that it would improve the appearance of my skin. Knowing what I know now about skincare, this was counterintuitive and inevitably worsened the situation. I had a very brief stint with Accutane, a prescription retinoid to treat severe acne; however, the side effects scared me way too much, and I never ended up filling the prescription. I’ve also tried countless products claiming to treat acne and clear skin, both dermatologist-recommended and self-researched.
Today, at 26 years old, I like to think that I take good care of my skin.
Over the years, I’ve narrowed down some of my favourite products, many of which are made with clean ingredients, and I find that my acne has diminished significantly. Additionally, I wear much less makeup than I used to. To be honest, I don’t even own a foundation. I also realize that what I put in my body is one of the most significant factors contributing to the appearance of my skin. For the first time in many years, I feel like my skin is under control.
Moving forward, my focus is shifting to maintenance and prevention.
I want to focus on diminishing acne scarring, treating hyperpigmentation, reducing the appearance of sun damage, as well as keeping my skin healthy and balanced as to not get anything more than the occasional pimple. My ultimate skin goal is to have clear, bright, and glowy skin. And I think that in order to achieve that goal, it’s time to show my skin some love–some professional love.
Before I start talking about treatments and acids and whatnot, I think that it is important to mention that I am by no means a professional. I just have a slight obsession for all things beauty and skincare and consider myself to be somewhat knowledgeable on the topic. So just to be clear: I’m passionate, not professional. Yet, believe it or not, I have never experienced a professional facial treatment.
My daily skincare resembles the following:
double-cleanse, tone, apply serum, moisturize, top with SPF (in the A.M.). I love a good face mask and I believe that exfoliation is crucial. When it comes to exfoliation, there are two methods: physical and chemical. Physical exfoliants, such as small grains, brushes, and microdermabrasion, work on the surface of the skin to manually scrub away dead skin cells, while chemical exfoliants, such as hydroxy acids and fruit enzymes, penetrate beyond the surface to dissolve dead skin cells and promote cell turnover. Personally, I’m a huge fan of using chemical exfoliants at home, so when I heard that New Age Spa was starting to offer chemical peels, I was interested to check it out.
Pre-treatment, I did some research
online to learn about the differences between at-home chemical exfoliation and professional chemical peels. Essentially, both involve the application of Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) and Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) to the skin. What distinguishes professional resurfacing treatments from at-home chemical exfoliation is the efficacity. While I definitely have some tried-and-true products that I keep stocked in my skincare wardrobe, I don’t think that any are as strong (in terms of ingredient concentration) or as effective (in terms of how quickly you see results). Also, there is something to say about sitting back, relaxing, and having a trained professional work the magic for you.
New Age Spa in Montreal and Laval uses the Pro Power Peel line from Dermalogica.
There are several different chemical peel solutions that are offered and each peel is designed to treat a specific dermatologic issue. Have more than one issue? Same. Layering the different peels is also an option in order to target multiple concerns simultaneously. In other words, the Pro Power Peel isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution; it is customizable to suit the specific needs of each individual.
This past Monday, I headed over to New Age Spa’s newest location in Laval. The new space on Boulevard de l’Avenir boasts floor-to-ceiling windows, a stunningly luxurious marble front desk, and a modern minimalist interior that is truly aesthetically pleasing. They welcomed me into their bright and spacious facilities to learn about chemical peels and try one for the first time.
The procedure began with a double cleanse.
That is, the esthetician first applied the pre-cleanse balm and followed it up with the special cleansing gel in order to remove all traces of makeup, SPF, toxins, and debris. Side note: both products smelled delicious. The one-step prep–relatively self-explanatory and key to optimal peel performance–was then applied to my cleansed skin. With my face a fresh canvas, my esthetician began to apply the peel solution to my skin. As previously mentioned, the goal for my skin in particular is to be clear and radiant. In order to target the blemishes and hyperpigmentation, she recommended the PowerClear Peel, which combines 2% Salicylic Acid with 10% Mandelic Acid and 15% Malic Acid, as well as a patented Terpineol-Thymol Complex.
I was asked to rate my level of discomfort on a scale of 0-10–0 being none at all and 10 being unbearable. After five layers of the peel–the maximum number of layers that can be applied–my level of discomfort did not surpass a ‘2’. This number would likely be a little higher for someone whose skin is more sensitive or perhaps whose skin is not familiar with routine use of various hydroxy acids. Nonetheless, the esthetician briefly paused between each layer to ensure my level of comfort and proceeded accordingly.
The peel was followed up by a neutralizing solution in order to soothe the skin and rebalance its pH. The next step, perhaps my favourite of them all, was a hydrating face mask complete with blue LED light therapy to assist with the removal of acne scarring, sun spots, hyperpigmentation, and uneven texture.
Personally, I found the entire procedure to be gentle and relaxing.
While it was not the case for myself, one can expect to feel a slight burning or tingling sensation following the application of the chemical peel. To be honest, based on the minimal amount of irritation that I experienced while receiving the treatment, I was concerned that I wouldn’t see results. However, I walked out glowing.
And the absolute best part: no downtime.
I do have to avoid the sun for the next few weeks, but considering the heat warning in effect, I’m better off indoors anyway. Contrary to what the name of the treatment suggests, I have experienced no peeling in the days following my visit to the spa. As advised, I am using plenty of hydrating products, including a hyaluronic acid serum, aloe vera, and a light, calming gel cream. My skin feels baby soft–I should probably stop touching it so much–and I have noticed that my skin looks healthier overall. I have to wait a minimum of two weeks before I can return for another peel, but I’m looking forward to trying out a more powerful formula since I know that I can handle it. My skin will definitely thank me.