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Isn't it funny how one of the most gruesome sounding beauty treatments is also one of the most effective? We're talking about the Face Peel, one of the many beauty therapies that originated in ancient Egypt.
Whilst you may think the popular lactic acid face peels of today are new the gorgeous Cleopatra got there first. She regularly bathed in milk because the Egyptians discovered it contained a natural exfoliating agent - lactic acid.
Lactic Acid Face Peel
Of course, few of us have the time or the inclination to soak in a bath of milk all day so a trip to the beauty salon seems a much better idea. Lactic acid-based face peels offer many benefits including unclogging the pores, reducing the appearance of fine lines and blemishes and generally rejuvenating the skin.
The term 'face peel' can mean two things: it could be an exfoliating treatment with no side effects or a treatment which encourages the skin to shed and renew itself over a few days.
Most quality beauty salons offer chemical peels. This involves applying a solution that causes the skin to blister and peel off. The newly exposed skin will be much smoother and less lined. A chemical peel is particularly useful around the mouth and can reduce the effects of sun damage.
Reduce Fine Lines and Wrinkles
A chemical peel can also reduce the appearance of scars, age spots, freckles and melasma and can even treat some forms of acne.
If you do book in for a chemical peel be prepared to take extra precautions in the sun afterwards. The newly exposed skin will be far more prone to burning. You should also discuss the treatment with your doctor as it's not suitable for people on some medications.
During the treatment itself, you're likely to experience a burning or stinging sensation. It's a bit like sunburn. Cold compresses can be applied or you may be given pain medication during or after the session.
Different depths of chemical peel are available depending on the condition being treated. Just remember that the deeper the peel, the longer it will take to heal. A deep peel will also require the area treated to be bandaged.
The chemical peel is probably the most extreme treatment. Most salons use Alpha hydroxy acids (from sugar cane), Malic acid (apple juice) and Cleopatra's favourite, Lactic acid. This type of face peel chemically exfoliates the skin, sloughing off dead skin cells and promoting new cell growth.
Some peels, such as Glycolic acid, are also believed to stimulate collagen production which helps fight the signs of ageing.
For acne sufferers, Salicylic acid is a great addition as it is both anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial. It's very useful for treating sun damage, too.
Signature Face Peel
Lactic acid exfoliates and moisturises the skin and promotes the production of Hyaluronic acid. This stimulates the production of good oils which create a barrier on the skin's surface and locks in moisture.
Lactic acid is great if you have dry dull skin. Other ingredients may be added to it to boost its potency, including Vitamin A. It is quite common for salons to create their own signature face peel by infusing vitamins and antioxidants.
Laser Face Peel
Laser face peels are becoming very popular as a means of resurfacing the skin. This is particularly useful if you need to target specific areas as the laser is very precise. A laser face peel would be helpful to treat deeper wrinkles and lines and pigmentation. It does, however, require more downtime and is generally more expensive.
There are certainly plenty of options so your choice will come down to budget, time and what condition you are treating. The first step is to book a consultation through Bookwell and discuss the various treatments at a professional skin clinic.