The Lowdown on Lunchtime Peels

Let’s do lunch! Lunchtime peels were made popular years ago, but this concept is still going strong. So, what exactly is a lunchtime peel and why would you be interested? Glad you asked!

Lunchtime peels refer to acid peel treatments or facials that can be performed in an hour or less with little or no downtime or irritation. In other words, you can slip out of the office for these peels and return after lunch with none the wiser. Lunchtime peels are best when performed once a month in a series of treatments, or in combination with other facial treatments.

Across the board, those who are taking Retin-A or other topical retinoids are encouraged to refrain for the week before their peel. Sun Exposure is also a no-no for at least the week prior to and after each peel.

Here are some favorite lunchtime peels, and their benefits:

Alpha Hydroxy Acid Peels: The most common alpha hydroxy acids used in peels are Malic from apples, Lactic from milk, Mandellic from almonds, or Glycolic from beets and sugar. Depending on skin type, condition and sensitivity, your esthetician will decide which of these AHAs (or combination) would best serve you. AHAs work by lower the skin’s pH making it slightly more acidic. This allows them to travel into the epidermis, where they dissolve the intracellular glue, encouraging excess “dead” skin cells to slough. Because AHAs are water soluble, they also attract more moisture into the skin, making them a great choice for mature and dry skin conditions. AHAs can be used alone in higher concentrations or be added to enzymes for a gentler exfoliation.

Beta Hydroxy Acid Peels: These peels are similar in mature to AHA peels, but are oil or fat soluble instead of water soluble. This means that they work best for oily or congested skin complexions because they go after oil and debris on the surface of the skin and within the pores as they exfoliate.
Just as with AHA peels, BHA peels can be performed alone, or they can be combined in smaller concentrations with fruit enzymes. Those who are allergic to aspirin or are pregnant are not candidates for BHA peels.

TCA Peels: TCA, or Tri Chloretic Acid, works differently that hydroxy acids. It is not pH dependent, so it does not lower the pH of the skin while it exfoliates. This means that TCA is left on the skin, and self neutralizes. Typically, TCA is layered for more intensity. In lower concentrations (up to 10%,) TCA peels can be very gentle, resulting in minor flaking but revealing a fresher appearance. These concentrations are great for sensitive skin, minor pigmentation irregularities, and enlarged pores. Higher concentrations (20% and up,) are performed in a doctor’s office and require some downtime – so they do not fit the “lunchtime” profile. These are better for major pigmentation issues. Also take into consideration that medium and deep peels come with the risk for side effects and skin discoloration. This is especially true for those on hormone replacement therapy or birth control.

Fruit Enzyme Peels: Not only are these treatments beneficial for your skin, they usually smell pretty delicious! Some popular flavors are papaya and pineapple, mango and raspberry, cranberry or pumpkin, or apple and spice. The fruit enzymes are kept active with water or steam, and gently digest the intracellular glue and “dead” skin cells just on the surface of the skin. They do not penetrate through  the epidermis or change the pH of the skin. This makes these treatments the gentlest of the lunchtime peels. Don’t let their gentle nature fool you, though. Enzyme peels yield some pretty great results, including softer, smoother, brighter, and more hydrated skin!

For you San Diego locals: contact Jennifer at bien-etre for more information or to book a lunchtime peel!

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