Skin Peeling Denver CO
Wheat Ridge, CO
Greenwood Village, CO
Highlands Ranch, CO
Natural Beauty - The Appeal of Peels
By Catherine Guthrie
I’m a spa junkie. Super C facials, hot stone massages, body polishing–you name it, I’ve done it. But until recently, I’ve never considered signing up for the spa version of a fruit acid peel. Why not? In a word, fear. Call me crazy, but I’d say that brushing acid on my face is right above tar-and-feathering on my to-do list. To me, it sounds downright unnatural.
I appear to be among the few who have qualms. In 2002, half a million Americans plunked down a total of $390 million for peels, which remove dead surface skin to bring new layers to the top. And last fall, I started wondering whether I should join the crowd. A summer of sweat and sunscreen—not to mention the advancing years—had made my skin look dull. Worse, two brown spots the size of cornflakes had parked themselves on my right cheek. It seemed my home-care exfoliation regimen no longer did the trick. (You could say my loofah had lost its oompha.)
That’s not surprising, says Mark Rubin, a dermatologist at the University of California at San Diego. “Exfoliating at home will never give you the same results as having regular peels,” he says. True, exfoliating is a milder version of a peel, but the operative word there is “milder.”
Peels come in three different strengths–mild, medium, or deep. Only the mildest can be done in a spa or salon; the other two must be performed by physicians. Mild (also known as glycolic or superficial) peels use a mixture of alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), a group of acids that occur naturally in fruits. But there’s nothing natural about them.
When I ask Rubin, who also has a dermatology practice in Beverly Hills, about the fruit in fruit acid peels, I hear what could be either static on the line, or laughter. Once upon a time, he says (gently), fruit acid peels were made from real fruit, like pineapples, papayas, and apples. But these days the fruity potions are strictly chemical imitations.
Not to worry, he adds; they’re perfectly safe. Essentially the chemicals are identical to fruit acids—without the insects, stems, and other debris that sometimes come along with them.“Besides,” he says, “the sole function of these substances is to damage and destroy layers of skin. Your body doesn’t perceive any of them as friendly, so it doesn’t really matter where they come from.”
Maybe. But isn’t there something inherently risky about applying acid to your skin? Of course there is. “Peels are basically a controlled burn of the skin,” says Rubin. And medium-to-deep peels come with a risk of scarring, discoloration, and permanent lightening or bleaching. But in the right hands—and it’s important to find experienced ones—those risks are very low, about 1 percent, for medium peels. The chance of scarring with a deep peel is also extremely small, but the risk of permanent lightening runs an alarming 40 to 50 percent.
A mild peel, though, is very safe. As with all peels, it can leave skin more vulnerable to the sun’s harmful rays (making it mor...
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