Beauty Beat: Peel Away Your Summer Skin

Beauty Beat: Peel Away Your Summer Skin

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Does the thought of getting a glycolic (sugar cane) peel make you cringe? It’s the word “glycolic” that garners such a response — it sounds so medical and serious. But actually, this kind of peel is the mildest of peel formulas and very good for the skin.

Cincy Chic
sent its favorite resident guinea pig, editor-in-chief Amy Storer, to Avalon Salon and Aesthetic Day Spa in Hyde Park to try out the glycolic treatment and “peel” back the scary skin covering the ins and outs of this beneficial procedure.

When Amy and I (intern Regan Coomer) showed up at Avalon last Tuesday, we weren’t exactly sure what Amy was in for. We were led past a row of women in barber chairs to the heart of the salon/spa by our specialist Gail, to a room that was at once relaxing and professional, with soft music playing, candles burning and a white sheet covering the bed.

Gail has 12 years of experience in the medi/spa profession, and loves what she does. “I’m all about helping people and making them feel good,” she says. “If I can make a difference for someone, that’s why I’m doing what I’m doing.”

Before beginning Amy’s peel, Gail told us about glycolic peels and their effects, and answered our questions. “Glycolic” refers to the alpha hydroxy acids used in the peel that result in smoother, younger-looking skin. Or, as Gail put it, glycolic peels “unstick the glue that holds the dead cells on.”

Depending on your age, your skin rejuvenates itself every four to six weeks, meaning that, at any given time, you have both live and dead cells on your face. The glycolic peel, Gail says, “Little by little eliminates dead cells,” making your skin look fresh and young.

All skin types can benefit from a glycolic peel, Gail says. “They’re good for everyone: young, old, those with acne.” For that reason, these peels are used to treat fine wrinkling, areas of dryness, uneven pigmentation and acne. The dead skin sloughed off by the treatment doesn’t come off all at once, Gail says, it slowly peels over a four-day period.

Reaping the benefit of the peel is an accumulative process, Gail says. You’d go five or six times, depending on the state of your skin, and you’ll be able to tell a difference around your fourth time. “About the fourth one is where you’ll go, ‘Hmm. Well,’” Gail says.

After the sixth visit, Gail recommends getting one peel a month to maintain the benefit you’ve gotten: “When you lose the sheen it’s times to come back to get rid of what’s accumulated,” she says.

Gail assured us that this type of peel isn’t painful, and causes very little redness and peeling, saying it’s possible to come get a peel on your lunch hour and go about your business right after. Depending on how strong an acid is used, someone getting this treatment may feel a tingle or slight burning sensation.

Then came the questions.

Gail asked Amy questions ranging from her ethnicity and skin care habits to whether there was a history of cancer in her family. These questions helped Gail decide which concentration of the glycolic acid to use. Avalon then stores this information for your next visit, saving time, and providing for a situation where the same person can’t give you your peel every time. Once the questions were answered, Gail got to work.

She had Amy lie down, and first prepped her face with an alpha hydroxy acid cleanser, which Gail assured us wouldn’t leave her dry. Then Gail applied a toner, or acetone-degreaser, which evens the surface of the skin. (She also turned on a fan to get rid of the acetone’s nail polishy scent.)

That done, Gail then applied the acid, which was left on Amy’s skin for a few minutes, with Gail standing over her the entire time watching her skin, making sure all was well.

The acid was then rinsed away, and Gail “extracted” a whitehead that was miraculously ready to be cleaned up as a result of the glycolic solution. If any acne exists before the peel, Gail says, the glycolic acid will actually speed up the life of the acne a week, so that in Amy’s case, a newborn blemish before the treatment was reduced to week-old status by the peel’s end.

After Gail extracted, she cleansed Amy’s skin a second time and then used (or activated, as it looked to me) dry ice to soothe Amy’s slightly-inflamed skin.

Then we were off. The procedure itself probably took only 20 minutes (after 20 minutes or so of discussion before) and cost $95. Amy was told to avoid direct contact with sun for the rest of the day and sent on her way.

As to the result? Amy was shocked and amazed at the effect the peel had on her blemishes (though there wasn’t much to begin with, believe me) and a day later was pleasantly surprised to find that her skin was very smooth and even.


To learn more about Avalon's peels and facials, click here or call (513) 533-1700.