Should you do a chemical peel at home during the quarantine?

Updated: Apr 22

Hey, I know it’s a great vacation from the public and it seems like a really great idea.  Maybe you’ve got a resource for some chemicals from a friend or an internet site and you’re thinking this might just what you need.  It does sound like a good plan, but I’m here to tell you:

It’s probably not.

Now I know a lot of professional skincare providers are using this downtime to catch up on some good exfoliation and stimulation for their skin.  Since they have the training to do peels and some experience with the chemicals, it’s probably ok for them because they are familiar with how the chemicals work and react with their skin.   And if they’ve been doing peels fairly regularly, their skin has likely already become much more resilient.  The fact that they are probably already using good skincare and getting good nutrition that will help their skin manage the stress makes this whole idea less risky from the start.

But for the rest of us?

First of all, a peel compromises the immunity of the skin, temporarily- which ends up compromising the immunity of the body because everything is connected.  The outcome of a peel is never (ever) guaranteed because there is no way to know how your body will respond. That’s why it’s always a good idea to peel progressively, starting with gentle peels and adjusting the strength of the solution as you gain more experience with the chemicals.

And how deep is would that peel even be?

You may not know until a few days to a week after you apply it.  The reason is there are many other factors involved in deciding whether or not you are a candidate for a chemical peel to begin with.  There are contraindications that you need to be aware of before you even consider doing a peel.  Things like:

  1. Have you used products with retinol recently?

  2. Have you used Accutane in the last year?

  3. Have you recently waxed your lip, brows, etc…

  4. Have you used a chemical depilatory?

  5. Have you had laser resurfacing or any other skin resurfacing or rejuvenating treatments recently?

  6. Are you using any topical prescriptions or internal prescriptions that could create problems?

  7. Will you be able to stay out of the sun, away from all sources of heat (including the heat generated by your own body when you exercise)?

  8. And. More.

The reason we go to professionals is because they know the questions to ask, and which peel solutions will be the best to achieve the outcome you are looking for.  It’s not that you can’t dig up all of this information on your own, but if it’s not something you do regularly, it’s hard to remember all the details about what you are working with.  For instance, glycolic acid peels can be inconsistent in their penetration and outcomes and generally need to be neutralized while salicylic acid peels can be toxic when applied over too large an area of the body (depending in part on the strength of the solution) and are reactivated by water, which means that if you try to rinse the solution off, you are actually reactivating it.  This can actually be really scary if you don’t know why the peel burns more when you are trying to calm it down.

I have always told my clients that peels can be good, but that depends a lot on pre-care and post-care.  Let’s say you get a peel, leave the office and get in a car accident or lose your job or encounter any other traumatic and/or stressful incident that you can think of…you. will. not. heal. well.  When you create inflammation (which you do initially when you do a peel) and that inflammation isn’t addressed and resolved swiftly, it ends up aging the skin.  So when you leave the office, you can only assume that things life will be kind and your healing will go according to plan.

A professional will tell you to prep the skin for several weeks before you have a peel professionally done.  They will also recommend that you have a good, healthy, balanced diet and possibly look into supplementation that might help your skin heal well.  There’s a certain amount of preparation necessary to create a healthy canvas for a peel to be a good idea to begin with.  Average skincare products are not going to cut it.  You need quality, active ingredients in your skincare on an ongoing basis.  You need a healthy nutritional intake on an ongoing basis.  And for sure, FOR SURE, you need to have been using (and continue to use) a good quality sunscreen (you guessed it) on an ongoing basis.

So here’s the thing: none of us knows what tomorrow holds.  None of us ever do.  Even in the best of times, doing a peel (and I’m talking about the more aggressive peels here) does have it’s risks.  It doesn’t make a lot of sense to add one more job for your body to do if stress looms large right around the corner.  Even if we don’t feel outwardly stressed, there may be some underlying stress that’s manifesting in ways we aren’t quite aware of, so it’s best to keep all anxiety-inducing activities low.

So for most of us, a chemical peel is not going to be the best idea right now.

But…now is DEFINITELY the time to practice regular self-care.  Now might even be the time to start some new skincare or home treatments that give you results over time instead of trying to “get er done” all at once.  And going gradual is gentler to your psyche, more manageable and much more easily controlled.   (I can help you create a solid plan with some great products if you are so inclined.)

So while trying to do a full-on chemical peel at home may not make sense right now, what does make sense is RADICAL SELF-CARE.  This includes:

Drinking plenty of water (and green tea is said to help with immunity: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MhDpQKjYE8&feature=share&fbclid=IwAR0SOnUFJI5NnJdhk5QqGe-eNbaKpQObBBtBdnQGDEoJhpbAN1xAyrvmLsw).

Getting enough rest.  (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDT16SxG0Cc and https://youtu.be/G1zsE9_85i4?t=223)

Getting a little sunshine, if possible.

Eat as “right” as you can.  The grocery stores appear to have fresh produce and it can even be delivered right now which is a definite bonus.  Avoid sugar and too much caffeine because they are bad for the immune system.  Research ways to boost your immune system.  (Here’s a good place to start: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjUOpvmDE7k)

Think Good Thoughts.  Say good things, both to yourself and others.

Meditate or pray.  Sing good things.

Move your body.  YouTube has a gazillion videos to help you get this done.  Friggen Prancercise if you need to (we kinda did that today lol).  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-50GjySwew

Get and/or keep things clean.

Avoid most other humans as much as possible (for now).

Watch funny things,.  Listen to funny things.  Say funny things.  Do funny things (again: Prancercise, lol).

So is peeling appealing right now?  Totally your call (as is the whole social distancing thing).  Just good to know a few things before you consider it.

Thanks for reading!!

D@B

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