Text by Jeanilyn Kwan
Flawed skin has never been the bane of my existence. Sure, I did time with acne in puberty prison like most teens, but my sentence was served after going through just a few soapy tubes of facial cleanser. I enjoyed relatively clear-looking skin even if my daily regimen only consisted of facial wash. Then, out of nowhere, I developed the habit of skin picking. Coupling this with spikes in stress hormones, my face started having fluctuating breakouts.
I went on the tea tree oil bandwagon to address my skin problem, but decided to sign up for a micro peel treatment anyway.
Like most chemical exfoliation procedures, a micro peel makes use of acids like glycolic acid to shed the damaged outer layer of the skin. This reduces the appearance of acne scars and other impurities, leading to a more refined tone and texture. As a virgin to spa facials, I was both skeptical and curious; more so, I had no inkling of the “minor” discomfort that was to come.
When the aesthetician examined my face, she suggested a “cleaning” before the micro peel. It sounded like a footnote of the process, but little did I know that this “cleaning” was the most crucial (and painful) part. After cleansing and steaming my face, the aesthetician began the removal of blackheads and whiteheads with a stainless steel extraction tool. As involuntary tears streamed down my cheeks, I realized people were dead serious when they described the experience as “nakakaiyak.”
The micropeel procedure in itself was fast. Once the glycolic acid is applied, it is left on the face to free impacted debris from the pores. This brought about an itchy, stinging sensation, but the feeling is a walk in the park when you compare it to the blackheads extraction.
After a few minutes, carbon dioxide is applied to the face in light, circular motions to reduce inflammation. The entire treatment lasted approximately 30 minutes including consultation. The effectiveness of a micro peel treatment differs depending on your skin condition. Most experts say that it takes at least six sessions to get the full effect.
I decided to forego all facial care products to let the skin breathe. My face looked glossy andfelt a bit tight, which meant that peeling was underway. There were some raised red marks (what it typically looks like if you pop a pimple) where the most severe acne was.
Signs of peeling commenced on my chin and lower cheek. Instead of using my regular scrub, I switched toa milder facial wash. I was assured that make-up after a micro peel was all right. Since I would be out majority of the day, I applieda few dabs of tea tree oil BB cream.
An uncomfortable itch started as peeling became more visible, starting out on the chin and lower cheeks on the sides of the lips. I stayed in all day, so I skipped the sunscreen. There were moments when I’d look in the mirror and find dry skinflapping like extra thin crepe paper.
Although my job rarely, if not never, requires me to be out in the sun, I made sure to use sunscreen today. Peeling had reached the nose area, the upper lip, and parts of the forehead. The urge to scratch my face was heightened. I was frequently warned to never pick offthe skinmyself.
I started breaking out again due to lack of sleep. This is where it is safe to say that a facial treatment can only do so much. It is still important to get proper rest and nutrition. I somehow expected snake-like shedding of skin, but it only flaked here and there (hence the term “micro”).
In general, I realized it’s better to keep the skin moisturized at all times. A moisturizer makes the flakes hydrated, so the peelingis not as pronounced. Moreover, it allowed the skin to shed more comfortably. When skin starts to peel, it is almost impossible to elegantly cover up it with makeup.
Peeling around the jaw line was still evident, but the dry skin easily came off after my nighttime wash. With a closer look, there were still some dark spots on areas that had already peeled off. But, people noticed that some of the bumps had flattened and my skin appeared to be lighter.