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Glycolic Acid: The Magic Peel ft. Maleeha Jawaid | The Hall of Beauty

Who doesn’t want flawless, glowing skin? I know I do! In this day and age where every tiny little beauty salon is offering aesthetic (read dermatological) procedures, everyone knows about the famous acid peels. Acid peels are meant to chemically exfoliate and take off the top layer of dead skin to reveal gorgeously plump looking skin underneath. This is a commonly done treatment at all Dermatologist and Aestheticians clinic. Young girls wanting to get rid of teen acne scars, slightly older ones wanting to get rid of sun spots or darkening of the skin, known as melasma (common condition in Asian skin) and the even older ones wanting to be wrinkle free! The acid peel promises all!

But, there has to be a controlled manner this needs to be done in. I was lucky enough to be part of the Aesthetics Conference & Exhibition 2017 in London earlier this year and I attended a live teaching seminar by 3 of the top Aesthetics practitioners in London. They spoke about multiple things ranging from, chemical peels to thread lifting. The seminar covered the health and safety aspects of these treatments and what should be used when, where, how and on whom!

Chemical peels involve the use of GLYCOLIC ACID or SALYCYLIC ACID amongst a few others. These acids are used in varying concentration depending on the severity of the condition being treated and also WHO is being treated. The darker skin types (known as the Fitzpatrick Skin Type IV to VI in medical terms) are the trickier ones to treat as they can end up with post inflammatory hyperpigmentation – a condition commonly associated with darkening and discoloration after either a procedure which induces inflammation or a naturally occurring disease process which is due to inflammation primarily (a basic example could just be acne which leaves behind dark spots).

The two most commonly heard of and performed peels are the Glycolic Acid peel and the Salycylic Acid peel. These both are found in multiple over the counter beauty products and the one I will be specifically talking about is the Glycolic Acid. The Salycylic Acid with its astringent properties is used commonly for active acne or acne prone skin and is found in the list of ingredients of most of the ‘acne clearing’ face washes.

The Glycolic Acid peel penetrates deep down into the skin resulting in an increased turnover of the dead skin cells on top (yes the top layer of skin is dead as it loses its nucleus – the main powerhouse of a cell – while migrating upwards) and stimulates production of collagen which is responsible for the tautness and suppleness of the skin. As we age we lose collagen from our facial skin and hence the difference between a young persons face and an old persons.

Glycolic Acid if used in a clinical setting (where it should ideally only be used and not at salons) is used at higher concentrations than you’d find in OTC beauty products. They vary the concentration from anywhere between 30-70%. It is a multi step process and the patient is expected to prep their skin beforehand (instructions provided by the medical practitioner) – the use of sunblock is EXTREMELY important as the acid peels tend to make your skin raw and sensitive to the sun. The clinician follows a step by step process making sure the skin does not over react and the importance of going to a medically trained person is that if there is a reaction they will know how to medically manage it and they will also know when to STOP. There are certain end points that are taught during the training sessions which we are supposed to look out for and remove the product from the face as soon as that is reached.

Coming on to the AT HOME practice of acid peels, a lot of beauty products in the market nowadays have a low concentrate of these acids present in them and they promise better looking skin with continued use. I for one have used one of these products, the cult beauty PIXI GLOW TONIC which contains a 5% Glycolic Acid concentrate along with Aloe Vera and Ginseng extract. Best part is the product is alcohol free and that means even less irritation to the skin! It is mild enough to be used twice a day due to the low concentration of the acid but long term use of these chemicals has been shown to thin out the skin making it more prone to sun damage and hyperpigmentation. This toner says it can be used AM and PM (which basically means twice a day) and that is how I have been using it VERY religiously and I have to say I didn’t see any difference initially but about 3-4 months into regular use I saw the difference the product is meant to make. Due to the low concentration one should not be expecting immediate, drastic results and I know people who have disregarded this product after giving it hardly a few weeks. If it was meant to show results within days or weeks then it wouldn’t be such a low concentration and definitely not meant to be used twice daily.

For my AM routine I thoroughly wash my face, do a quick face massage with my Jade roller and then dab the toner all over my face, ears and neck with a gentle motion. When my skins in its breakout stage (about once or twice every month without fail) the toner does sting a bit in the red areas but otherwise doesn’t bother me much. After applying the toner I lather my skin in moisturiser – my all time favourite Oil of Olay. Once that is done I use my sunblock before applying any make up. MAKE SURE YOU DO NOT SKIP YOUR SUN BLOCK IF YOU ARE USING ANY KIND OF ACID PEEL ON YOUR FACE!

For my PM routine, I cleanse my face either with coconut oil or PONDS cleansing cream to take off every single bit of make up and dirt that has accumulated throughout the day. While cleansing I end up massaging my face really well so I end up skipping the face roller at night most of the days. I apply the toner and the moisturiser in the same manner and skip the sun block (for obvious reasons)

I feel my skin has become a lot smoother and definitely brighter since I have been using this. I am one of those unfortunate ones who end up with dark spots after a zit (also because I pick on my pimples SO MUCH) . Earlier my spots would take their sweet sweet time to fade away but with regular use of GLOW TONIC I feel the scars fade away faster which is definitely a win win for me!

I am nearly reaching the end of my current bottle (full size) and I would probably give my skin some rest about 2 weeks before I repurchase my second one. Overuse of acidic peels can result in thin skin and complications that I mentioned above.

This product is definitely going to be a forever repurchase for me and I cant recommend this enough! A lot of beauty bloggers on YouTube and Instagram talk about this toner and how it has worked for them. So if you haven’t yet tried it you should definitely get on the PIXI bandwagon!

Well, that’s it for today. I’m so glad Maleeha joined us. You can visit her blog here. Who would you like to see next?

That’s it for today. Till next time!

Munazza Bangash

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