Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Will your peels cause my skin to flake off? I have had this procedure at a physicians office before and I had a lot of peeling. Is it the same?
A. Our peel solutions are indeed the same as a doctor's office. The only difference between the two is the pH level of the peel. Ours is slightly higher to give you more time After a peel application it usually takes about 2 or 3 days for the skin to be sufficiently loosened. At this point many people can experience flaking skin (usually on the chin area and forehead). **BUT, it does not have to visibly peel in order for the dead skin to be coming off! Many people don't even notice the shedding, but can tell that their skin is noticeably smoother. If you have some flaking and want to get it off quicker, just use a face brush to help get it off.
Q. What exactly are AHA's and glycolic acid?
A . Alpha hydroxy acids (AHA's) are really a family of acids. Glycolic is the most widely used because of its small molecular structure. AHA's are one of the safest methods of skin renewal. Their effectiveness depends on the type and concentration of the AHA, its pH (acidity), and other ingredients in the product. AHAs become effective at concentrations of about 7% to 8% with a pH of 3.5 to 4.0. Many AHA-containing cosmetic products have very little skin renewal effects because the AHA concentrations are too low and the pH is too high. There is little evidence that concentrations below 5% have beneficial actions on skin.
AHAs are marketed for a variety of purposes: to smooth fine lines and surface wrinkles, to improve skin texture and tone, to unblock and cleanse pores, to improve oily skin or acne, and to improve skin condition in general. In reality, they do increase the turnover of skin cells and enhance the rebuilding of collagen and elastin plus improve the internal moisture-holding properties of GAGs and proteoglycans. With long term use, AHAs alleviate fine to moderate wrinkles, and remove many skin lesions such as weathered skin, freckling, blotchy pigmentation, sun damage, age spots, mild acne scars, benign overgrowths of skin, and flat warts. They appear to work by causing an increased skin peeling of the lesion plus an irritation around the lesion. In time the lesion becomes smaller and is replaced by normal healthy skin.
Q. When should I notice an improvement in my skin?
A. Skin improvements should be apparent after four weeks of AHA treatment, but AHA therapy also helps maintain skin health and is normally continued indefinitely. Chemical peels with stronger AHA's (30-60%) speed the process
Q. Is glycolic acid safe?
A. Yes. It is a 100% non-toxic substance which does not enter the blood stream when applied to your skin. It has FDA. approval in smaller concentrations for the general public. It is not considered a drug and there are no bad side-effects when used according to the directions. It does have sun precautions that should be followed closely, however.
Q. What about buffering/neutralization? So many people say different things?
A. Our Glycolics are partially neutralized for the reason that glycolic acid needs to be at a effective yet safe level to be used on our skin without causing burns. Through the process of neutralizing, an effective and safe pH level is attained while maintaining the acid as the active. Remember---This is an acid and it can burn you if you are not careful, or use a non-adjusted product!
The pH (potential of hydrogen) of a substance refers to its degree of acidity or alkalinity, and is measured on a scale of 0-14. Anything below 7 is acidic. The lower the pH number, the greater the degree of acidity. Anything from 7-14 is alkaline. Although the precise neutral point on the scale is 7.0, it can range from 6.5-7.5.
This information is taken directly from the publicized Standard Textbook for Professional Aestheticians, by Joel Gerson.
Q. How can glycolic acid help my skin problems, when so many other products have failed?
A. Your other products don't help you because they simply can not penetrate into your skin. You first have to understand some basic knowledge regarding your skin's structure to really understand why the other products haven't been working.
This picture shows a cross section of your skin. It is made up of three layers, the epidermis, the dermis and the subcutaneous tissue.
The epidermis is the tough, outside layer of skin made up of layers of individual dead cells called squamous. These cells are continuously shed as the new cells work their way up from below. The outermost layer of these squamous cells becomes its own layer: the stratum corneum. Glycolic acid's main function is to exfoliate this dead layer of squamous cells.
The dermis is the second layer in. It is responsible for the skin's elasticity (elastin) and strength (collagen).
*The sebaceous is the fatty layer which also contains most of your hair follicles.
The average skin care product ingredients can only treat the outermost layer (squamous) of skin cells, since their molecular structures are too large to actually penetrate into the epidermis, let alone the dermis. Since these products can't really dig in and help your skin's structure, they just sit on top and temporarily improve the skins look by plumping and smoothing the dead squamous cells.
There are only two skin care substances which have molecules small enough to penetrate this top layer and do some real structural good, the most popular, because of its excellent function, is Alpha Hydroxy Acid, or glycolic acid. Once the glycolic acid penetrates through the layers of skin, it can help to keep the hair follicles cleared of built up squamous cells, thus reducing the blockages that cause acne in many individuals. Also, it can trigger the formation of new elastin cells and collagen. After using glycolic acid, the skin will have a much smoother look and feel from the inside out.
Q . How do Alpha Hydroxy Acids really work?
A. AHA'S break the bonds between weakened skin cells, making it easy to exfoliate them and encourage the production of new cells. *In a clinical study conducted at Hahnemann University School of Medicine in Pennsylvania, it was determined that using a glycolic treatment (containing at least 25% glycolic acid) lead to a 25% increase in skin thickness, improved quality of elastic fibers and an increased density of collagen.
Q . Will my pores actually shrink?
A . Dirt, dead cells, makeup, and other substances can form a plug in the pore. This plug (commonly called a blackhead) stretches the opening of the follicle. When the plug is removed, the follicle becomes smaller. During a series of deep pore cleansing facial treatments, hundreds of enlarged follicles are cleansed, and as a result, the pores close, giving the complexion a more refined appearance.
Q. Should I avoid sun exposure while using glycolic acid products?
You should always wear a broad spectrum suncreen SPF of at least 15) to prevent photo damage. The FDA also recommends that you wear sunscreen the entire duration of any glycolic treatment and for 1 week after completion.
Q. What should I expect within the first few days of using glycolic acid products?
A . As the dead cell layer sloughs off, your skin may appear slightly drier than normal. Once the transition is made, your complexion will appear more youthful and vibrant.
Q. What should I expect within the first few days of using glycolic acid products?
A. As the dead cell layer sloughs off, your skin may appear slightly drier than normal. Once the transition is made, your complexion will appear more youthful and vibrant.
Q. When can I expect my acne to improve?
A. As glycolic acid clears and cleanses pores, acne may initially appear to be slightly more active. Remember, the glycolic's job is to cleanse the pores of excess dead skin and sebum. You already have acne forming under your skin that you aren't even aware of yet. It generally takes 3 weeks for a clogged pore to come to the surface and be seen and felt. Since you are removing the outer layers of skin at a faster pace, the blemishes that were 1,2 and 3 weeks away will come up quicker. You have to give your skin time to work these clogged pores up to the surface. Once these are out, your skin should show marked improvement. (Usually within 3-4 weeks).
Q . What happens if I stop using the glycolic products?
A. The results you achieved from the glycolic acid products will not immediately disappear. However if a maintenance program is not implemented, the dead cell layer will once again build up, and the original problem will re-occur.