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  • Sarah Page

How to survive a glycolic peel

Updated: Sep 15, 2019

This past week was hard on my skin. I had a glycolic acid (natural product derived from sugar cane) peel for the first time, and my skin freaked out and was red and very dry and flaky. I’d had enzyme peels before and did not react badly to those, so I was not expecting the glycolic peel to be such an ordeal. But I'm pleased that today my skin looks great and from what my esthetician says it should look even better in a few days.

Face looking red, dry and flaky

Like I said it was a rough week though. Last Friday my skin started to feel a bit itchy and dry and I absent-mindedly rubbed and even picked at my suddenly flaking skin. Thankfully I had the presence of mind to remember that you’re never really supposed to rub or pick at your skin so I stopped, but not before rubbing my skin a bit raw. I soon googled to find out if what I was experiencing was normal after a glycolic peel and learned a lot that way. I wish I had asked more questions or been told more about what to expect, but in the long run it all worked out.

When you have a glycolic peel a layer of your skin is shed to reveal new skin and you want that new skin to receive the benefits from your best natural products with nutrients and vitamins and things that will help your skin heal and be hydrated and moisturized. You also don’t want to interfere with the process your skin is going through as far as the flaking and shedding. So you don’t want to exfoliate or use anything harsh or oily. You also don’t want to get much sun exposure and need to wear sunscreen (which you should do all the time anyway, even when indoors).

This is what my skin looked like: dull red and dry, though I'm wearing sunscreen that makes my face look less red than it really was. It was not comfortable and I was a bit scared my skin had been damaged! -->>

I was advised to use a gentle, creamy cleanser so I used the Earth Love Cosmetics Gentle Cleanser and made sure to really dissolve it in my hands before applying and to wash my face gently. I used Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum which has lots of antioxidants, vitamins and nutrients to nourish my new skin. I used a Roman Chamomile hydrosol to mist my skin when it was feeling irritated and where it was most dry, and I would also mist throughout the day with a Rose Geranium hydrosol for hydration. I stayed away from oils because I read that you don't want to use oils on your skin after a peel. Instead I used a peptide cream from Skincare by Erica which was recommended by my esthetician to potentially help my skin rebuild collagen and heal. I avoided exfoliation so I didn't use face cloths or other exfoliating products like my Treatment Cleanser, retinal or retinol. I made sure to keep sunscreen applied and used Biossance Squalane + Mineral SPF 45, my go-to sunscreen.

Photo of Acure biocellulose mask

My face really needed all the hydration help I could give it. I had a sample from Sephora of the Fresh Rose Face Mask that has real rose petals in it, which I used that at the gym after working out and using the hot tub. This mask is very nice by the way, a little goes a long way, it has a great texture, and who wouldn’t like the idea of rose petals on their face! I also had some sheet masks by Acure that I received at Cosmoprof NA and which I was really grateful to have in this scenario! I had never used a sheet mask before and while I know they’re popular I’m not sure I like the idea of all that excess (single use) plastic being used and turning into waste. I don’t even like the idea of samples anymore because often I don’t even use them and they turn into more waste. In any case, both of the masks were healing type masks and hydrating masks with hyaluronic acid and those worked really well to help infuse my skin with vitamins and moisture. I liked how there was a good amount of elixir left on the masks and in the pouches they came in and I saved the excess to use later.

My under eye area and eyelids became dry and flaky (and really scary looking actually!) so I used Roman Chamomile hydrosol in a glass roller bottle with REN eye cream. I stopped wearing under eye concealer finally because makeup looked awful over the dry skin, and I mixed Kalahari oil and Raspberry Seed oil in a glass roller bottle and applied that to my eye area day and night. I also used another homemade blend around my eyes that's packed with powerhouse oils like Kalahari, Cacay and Maracuja.

Once my skin was not shedding as much, I started incorporating my usual Rock Rose and Neroli hydrosol toner (home blended) and Earth Love Cosmetics facial oils back into my routine. I used the Treatment Facial Oil first because it is a lighter oil, and then I added the Facial Oil in the evening.

Photo of face healed from glycolic peel

Today, a week and a half after the peel, I was so pleased with how my skin looked in the morning that I didn’t bother wearing as much makeup as I usually do. Here’s what my morning skincare routine consisted of: Earth Love Cosmetics Gentle Cleanser, Rock Rose and Neroli hydrosol toner mist, Roman Chamomile hydrosol under eye, Kalahari/Raspberry Seed Oil blend under eye, REN beauty shot followed by eye cream, Acure elixir leftover from Radically Rejuvenating Sheet Mask, Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum, Earth Love Cosmetics Treatment Facial Oil, Skincare by Erika Ultra Hydrating Serum, Skincare by Erika Peptide Cream, Paula’s Choice Earth Sourced moisturizer. I guess you could call this an SF-Beauty routine!

According to my esthetician the results from the peel will be more visible in another few days, but I'm pretty happy so far and on a certain level I'm glad I didn't know what I was getting into or maybe I wouldn't have done it and would have missed out on this great new skin and new product experimenting (including some hydrosols and eye oils blends I may have to add to my line)!

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