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My Salicylic Acid Peel Experience
I decided to get a chemical peel to help clear my skin up for my wedding, and I'm not sure if I would do it again if I could have a do-over. I went in with 2 solid weeks to go before the wedding date. My aesthetician assured me that everything would be done peeling in time, so I took the plunge. My fragile pre-wedding nerves did not appreciate it.
First, she used cleanser on my face to get the makeup off. Next, it was time for the acetone, which gets the oils off and preps the skin for the acid. She painted the first layer of salicylic acid on with a fan brush; it stung, but nothing I couldn't handle. Then, she put a second layer over my "problem areas" (nose and chin). Oh my goodness, my face was on fire.
How do people do this on a regular basis? I can't even imagine the burn of a deeper peel. After 30 seconds all I wanted was for it to be OFF. She wiped it off with a cool towel after I begged for my freedom. That didn't completely stop the burning, but it helped. She put some heavy moisturizers on my face, and sent me on my way with instruction to use a gentle face wash and stay out of the sun.
Day 1- My face was inflamed and angry with a few places that looked like dark splotches. Some spots looked like exactly what they were: chemical burns. I used a hydrating cream face wash even though my skin is oily.
Day 2- My skin was still red in multiple places and angry. A thin layer of dry skin had formed over my entire face, with the edges of my nose and my chin being the most dry, burned places. My face felt tight when I moved it, and places around my mouth cracked open when I opened too wide. At this point, my fear that I would not be ready for the wedding in time kicked in. I couldn't look in the mirror without cringing. I felt like a burn victim. I spent a whole night looking up after effects of chemical peels and became convinced I would be scarred up in the places that got it the worst. I won't lie; I sobbed for an hour, because I thought I would be a total wreck on the wedding day. I take good care of my skin, but I'm not a total wack-job over it...unless its right before my wedding. Then its serious business.
Day 3- I began applying Emu oil to the places that were scaly and cracking. I was putting this on 10 times a day, because it has anti-inflammatory and healing properties. It seemed to take the redness down a notch and sooth the tight feeling. I still felt like I had a mask on all the time no matter how much moisturizer I put on. I was still terrified that some places would scar.
Day 4- I finally began to peel in earnest. I had been helping it along some before it was ready; pulling at loose skin and such. I can't help it. I'm a picker. All that did was get me raw stinging skin that would inevitably peel again since I pulled it off too soon. I decided to go for an exfoliating face wash now that my skin seemed ready to molt. It stung a bit, but definitely helped the process. I also used an enzyme mask to help eat away the dead layer. Still using Emu oil which is doing wonders for the redness.
Day 5- Here we are back in the present. My skin is still shedding, and I have a few red spots of angry, healing skin. I'm trying so hard not to pick at the pieces hanging off my nose, but its so hard not to when they're in my peripheral vision. I can see them, and it bothers me! Still using a glycolic acid face wash and a good moisturizer, but no more Emu oil. I'm afraid it will clog my pores if I slather it on too much. The burned patches are much smaller and a lot less red now.
I have over a week until my wedding, so we shall see if I clear all the way up by then. I'm still doubtful.
My Final Conclusion
Although my face is not done with the peeling phase, I still don't think I'm ever going to do a peel again unless it is a much weaker one. It honestly freaked me out a little. I don't recommend getting one without at least a week or 2 for downtime. I didn't want to leave the house for the first 3 days, and I obsessed over my skin. It may have been partly wedding anxiety, but I think it would still be too uncomfortable to go through again. I do have less blackheads though. That's a plus.