Renowned celebrity facialist Cherry Woods of Cherry Woods Skin Clinic offers advice on achieving a fresh start with skincare peels and exfoliation this autumn.
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For me, September always feels like a fresh start: that ‘back to school’ feeling seems to stick around, like muscle memory, long after the academic trimester years are over. A new season, turning over a new leaf, a change in the air...
As far as a skincare routine is concerned, a fresh start is just what is needed at this time of year. Autumn is in fact the optimum time for an in-salon strength skin peel or a gentler version good home peel to really rejuvenate the skin and freshen up the face with a much needed collagen boost as at this time of year levels of UVB drop and this is significant for two reasons:
1) Exposure to UVB in the summer months can cause sunburn, inflammation, sun damage and pigmentation problems which clearly are not helpful for delicate, post-peel skin. It’s better to peel when there is much lower UVB exposure.
2) The lack of UVB in the autumn and winter months makes the skin cell rejuvenation process significantly slower. Skin cells, therefore, need a helping hand to turn over faster for a fresh-faced appearance.
What are the benefits of a skin peel?
The main benefit is a deep exfoliation for softer, smoother, clearer skin. A ‘peel’ is just another word for exfoliation, although we associate the name with higher strength, in-salon type treatments. When we speak of exfoliating, we tend to think of a facial scrub where we can feel those gritty grains pumicing the skin. Scrub exfoliation feels good, but the effects are short-lived and actually quite superficial.
There is a place for this type of exfoliation, particularly with younger skin, however as we age the rate of skin cell renewal dramatically slows down, so not only does wrinkle depth increase, but skin heals and repairs more slowly, becoming dull, thickened, pigmented, lack-lustre, dry and sometimes flaky. On top of this, skin problems such as rosacea and psoriasis make the skin shedding process inefficient. Blackheads and breakouts require deeper exfoliation and peels are a great choice for all of these circumstances.
Peels or exfoliates which contain AHAs (alpha hydroxy acid) and/or BHAs (beta hydroxy acid) are a smarter way to deeply remove dead skin cells whilst reducing surface sensitivity from scratchy scrubs. They also offer long lasting rejuvenation, often with extra, added benefits. In short, they work by releasing the bonds that hold the dead skin cells in place allowing them to shed. This triggers new cell rejuvenation (stimulating new collagen) which then has to migrate up through the layers of skin to the surface. The full impact of a good in-salon peel may not be seen until six weeks after the first peel and the effects can last for weeks – better than a quick fix.
Profile:Cherry Woods was named in the top ten facialists by InStyle Magazine in April 2017. Cherry is a multi-award winning facialist, best known for her hi-tech, anti-ageing treatments combined with holistic massage. Her much talked about ‘Bloom Facials’ have had rave reviews from beauty editors and clients. Cherry is also an experienced media commentator on all things skin and is regularly featured in national, local and specialist media publications.
Can these results be obtained at home?
Professional advice from a facialist or skin care specialist is recommended because they can tailor treatment to individual skin. That said, there are many excellent home-care products to be used and a good facialist will help make the right selection. A rough guide on what to choose for various skin concerns follows.
The depth of a peel depends on the type, strength and PH of the AHA or BHA. Peels in a gel base often absorb more quickly, while those in a cream or oil base can help buffer the absorption and may be better for dry or more sensitive skin. The key is to check that the product is correctly formulated (PH correct).
A quick guide to the two main types is below:
AHAs: common ones are lactic or glycolic acid peels. They are generally best used for treating sun damage and/or very dry skin. They deeply exfoliate the surface and actually improve moisture content too. However, they are not best for breakouts as they cannot unblock or purge a blackhead.
BHAs: for example salicylic acid peels are best for acne prone skins, whiteheads and blackheads mainly because of the ability to penetrate and unblock a clogged pore and normalise the lining of the pore. BHAs also have both an anti-inflammatory and antibacterial action so results can be very effective.
For those who have sun-damaged skin and are struggling with blemishes and blocked pores, mix in a BHA exfoliant to the daily skincare routine. To only target sun damage and dryness, then AHAs are fine.
Scrubs: at home exfoliating with physical scrubs
Scrubs rely on grains, beads and micronised shells to mechanically exfoliate the skin. Consult a professional and think carefully before using them as the product may do more harm than good. Often scrubs only target superficial surface areas of the face and can cause micro surface tears and sensitivity. However, scrubs can help improve micro-circulation, so are helpful for sallow skins that have poor blood flow. Never, ever scrub hard – be gentle with the skin at all times!
Post peel care
It is vital to apply a daily broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more – even during winter months. This is important because although UVB light may be low or non-existent, there are still UVA rays. There are harsh, environmental stresses on the skin to take into account too (wind, rain, cold, temperature changes, central heating etc). All of these can make ‘peeled’ skin much more susceptible to surface sensitivity. Apply sunscreen daily on top of moisturiser. As salon peels are stronger, a post peel kit may be given by a therapist. Continue to use these products as directed.
So there you have it. Peel your way to beautiful skin this autumn and keep the glow. Summer may be gone but it is still time to shine!
essence infoCherry Woods Skin Clinic
19a King Street, Richmond, Surrey TW9 1ND Website: www.cherrywoodsclinic.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (clinic)