A peel is, at its simplest, a form of advanced exfoliation. To talk peels, we need a little bit of Exfoliation 101, so let’s briefly review what that’s all about:
Exfoliation, from the Latin word exfoliare, ‘to strip off leaves’, is the process of removing the layer of dead skin cells that sits at the surface of our skin.
Our skin cells are constantly regenerating, with young healthy cells growing from the bottom up towards the surface of the skin – the part that we see and can touch. Skin cells reach the end of their journey once they get to the top of your skin, and these dead cells naturally slough off throughout the day (pleasant thought, we know). About once a month, our skin turns over, though this process slows as we age.
Between the ever-slowing skin renewal and the effects of our life and environment (sun, pollution, all the things that damage and age skin), we start to experience things like dull, uneven, congested skin. This is where exfoliation comes in – to kickstart cell renewal, and keep skin looking and behaving like a younger version of itself.
Types of exfoliation
There are two types of exfoliation: manual and chemical (fear not, chemical is not a scary word here).
Manual exfoliation is just what it sounds like – using a physical process like a scrub (please don't use this) or a tool (like microdermabrasion) to remove dead cells by physically knocking them off the surface of the skin.
Chemical exfoliation, on the other hand, employs active ingredients like enzymes (usually from fruits, which act like Pacman to eat the dead skin cells on the surface), or AHA/BHA acids (you may hear ingredients like glycolic, lactic, or salicylic) which penetrate deeper into the skin and break down the connections between dead cells to release them.
The deal with peels
So, now we get to peels. The exfoliation you do at home is important for upkeep and keeping your skin healthy, glowing, and fresh between visits. Professional peels are the advanced and more potent versions of chemical exfoliation, accessible only to Licensed Skin Therapists and dermatologists. They’re designed to work on things like deep lines and wrinkles, acne conditions, and pigmentation/dark spots, all of which start in layers of the skin deeper than a scrub can reach. Professional peels literally go deep to get to the heart of the matter.
At Heyday, we have a variety of peels to select from, depending on your skin type and what specific skin condition we’re working on. And it’s important to know that while the professional peels you get from our Skin Therapists are not treatments you can do at home, they also aren’t something to be afraid of. We don’t work with the infamous and often fear-inducing “deep” peels you might get at the derm’s office, a la Samantha Jones.
We do work with the more gentle, tried-and-true peel options out there, because these treatments have the power to change the skin dramatically for the better. We also have a number of enzyme peels you can take home and safely use as your weekly exfoliant.
What you can expect
While the peel is on your skin, you can expect a little tingling. Peels don't remain on for very long – anywhere from 90 seconds to a few minutes depending on the strength and your skin. (This is where we're vigilantly (but not creepily) watching over you!) When it’s done, you can except to be glowing, with noticeably brighter, clearer skin. And with a series of these treatments you can see dramatic changes in acne conditions, dark spots, and fine lines and wrinkles.
At the very most, you may experience some minor flaking a day or two after a peel, which is that sloughing process doing its thing (and where ‘peel’ gets its name from). That said, many people don’t actually ‘peel’ at all – they just watch their skin get better and better each time.
So, definitely throw out the notion that you have to go home under a paper bag. It’s not the Heyday way. Peels are quite the magical exfoliant and we promise you're in good hands and under watchful eyes when trying one!