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).
When we’re young, this happens on a nicely frequent cycle, about once every 28 days. As we get older, how quickly our skin regenerates and releases those cells slows down. This starts in your 20s, and by the time we reach our 40s, the cycle of renewal is closer to 40 days.
Between the slower 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 or a tool (like microdermabrasion or the infamous Clarisonic) 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.
But we do work with the more gentle peel options out there, because these treatments have the power to change the skin dramatically for the better, like little else can.
What you can expect
While the peel is on your skin, you can expect a little tingling. When it’s done, you can except to be glowing and get lots of compliments. You can expect noticeably brighter, clearer skin. And with a series of these treatments you can see dramatic changes in fine lines and wrinkles, acne conditions, and dark spots.
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.
You can throw out the notion that you have to go home under a paper bag. It’s not the Heyday way.