By now, most of you know that Gabriel Horn is my trusted source of medical spa services. In fact, he’s known as the Tulsa Skin Guru. And it goes without saying that I trust him implicitly. We have been working together for almost a year now, with much success, in the battle against my hyper-pigmentation and sun damage. Our approach has been moderate strength chemical peels (you can read more about them here). While these peels are both my and Gabe’s choice to reverse sun damage, their aggressive nature isn’t always right given the person or time. So, what do you do if aggressive peels scare you or are inconvenient?
I had a couple things going on in my life last time I visited Gabe (side note: Gabe is also a wealth of advice, wisdom and laughter during my visits). Between a hot date, a Mardi Gras ball and a television appearance, I knew that the regular chemical peel just wasn’t going to work for me. I suddenly found myself in the shoes of some of you readers who have told me peels scare them. The pain, side effects, dry skin and redness just sometimes don’t fit into our lives.
Gabe curated a different treatment that was productive but left my skin radiant, even and supple the following day. He started with a heavy microdermabrasion. Then a 30% Glycolic peel was applied for a short period of time. Thanks to a couple lazy evenings, I had two breakouts on my chin. Gabe spot treated these with salicylic acid. I experienced no tingling or pain. That being said, we must emphasize that these steps require a medical aesthetician. These are not run-of-the-mill spa services. I left the office with a little bit of redness which dissipated throughout the evening.
These types of treatments can lead to dramatic and satisfying results. The difference is that peels like these are like baby steps as opposed to rapid results with more aggressive approaches. But for many people, they just can’t afford the downtime. While the required frequency of more gentle peels might cost slightly more, the lack of side effects might be worth it. Additionally, a more moderate approach might be ideal for summer months. Skin under aggressive treatment can be at greater risk from the damaging sun.
The real takeaway from my last visit is that peels come in a huge spectrum. When we hear “chemical peel” we think of the frightening Sex In The City episode with Samantha’s peeling, red face. But there is a huge range of options and customization available. With proper analysis, a medical aesthetician can design a proper and balanced approach. Even microdermabrasion, a zero downtime treatment, can boost collagen, reverse sun damage and improve skin texture.
The plan for me for now is to ramp up my use of hydroquinone and Retin-A to prep my skin once again for the slightly more aggressive treatment. We are in the home stretch here with maybe only two or three more peels necessary. But I know the time will come again when I just can’t afford the downtime. And it is a comfort to know that there are steps I can take that mitigate the side effects and still make progress against that darn sun damage!
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