Chemical Peels : How We Test Your Skin’s Sensitivity
Chemical Peels have been used for decades to revitalize and resurface skin. They involve applying a chemical solution to remove the damaged outer layers of skin and reveal a younger, clearer, more radiant complexion. Chemical peels are traditionally performed on the face, hands, neck, back, shoulders, and legs. They can also be applied to other problem areas to treat fine lines, wrinkles, age spots and other forms of discoloration.
Everyone’s response to chemical peels is slightly different. While pre-treatment with retinoids, glycolic acid, or other strong AHA products; previous peels; variances in skin density; and thickness of the stratum corneum, are factors that will play a role, your skins natural sensitivity level is another key contributing factor.
We require our clients complete our Patient Profile prior to treatment to ensure we have a full understanding of these factors for each individual client. The information we collect here is used to ensure your treatment may penetrate much deeper than you might have anticipated.
When possible (and if supported) we also perform patch testing prior to peel application as this further helps to determine each patient’s sensitivity level and will help guide the peel selection, and help us choose the best chemical peel for you. We use Smoothing Toner to prepare the skin and patch test for skin sensitivity.
Testing Chemical Peel Skin Sensitivity:
- First we will cleanse your face. The gentle surfactants in our cleanser will degrease and begin the preparation of the skin.
- Next we prep the skin with Smoothing Toner. This product will sting/tingle on some individuals. Your esthetician will ask you, “On a scale of one to ten, ten being extremely active, how do you rate this sensation (or feeling)?”
Patients with resilient skin will answer in the range of 0 to 1.
Patients with moderately resilient skin will answer in the range of 1 to 3.
Patients with sensitive skin will answer in the range of 4 to 5.
Patients with highly sensitive skin will answer in the range of 6 to 10.
Using our gentle AHA toner also serves as a good step to begin the loosening of the desmosomes to improve chemical peel outcomes. Acetone is often used by physicians to increase peel penetration. Although effective in this setting, this aggressive degreasing is typically not necessary when performing more frequent, superficial peels.
- Liquid solutions are applied in layers according to the needs, goals, and individual sensitivity of each patient. Using this scale of 1 to 10 to gauge sensitivity. Your professional will fan the skin to keep the patient cool between layers. If the patient’s response is between one and five, your esthetician will proceed with another layer. If the patient responds six or higher on any layer, our professional will not proceed with another layer. If a retinoid peel is being used, it will be applied in a thin, even layer, avoiding the under-eye area. One layer is maximum.
- Our professional wait until the patient’s sensitivity begins to subside before applying the next layer. This indicates that the peel solution is beginning to neutralize. Patients begin to rate lower on the scale of 1 to 10 approximately one to five minutes after each layer is applied.
- The lower the response number, the more resilient the skin and a greater number of layers of peel solution that may be applied. Applying more layers will increase the patient’s 1 to 10 response, and our professionals will continue to ask for a response on the sensitivity scale as they apply additional layers of the chemical peel solution.
- The higher your response on the 1 to 10 scale, the more sensitive and the more likely your skin is to blanch and potentially hyperpigment, thus it is critical that you are honest with your esthetician and that you do not try to over do it. It’s best to start low and go slow, progressively increasing the number of layers applied as your skin acclimates to the treatment.
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