Feature// An Aesthetician Explains How Chemical Peels Are the Key to Perfect Skin.

Skin Care
I'm a sucker for amazing before and after skin transformation pics.  So when I stumbled on an Instagram story featuring a woman's skin that seemed to win the battle of hyperpigmentation, I stopped in my tracks.  The pictures were shared by a someone I followed and interacted with in the past so I immediately sent a DM.  

Turns out, the images belonged to a client. My curiosity peeked.  After a few follow up questions, I realized that she was very knowledgeable of the skin care questions I was throwing her way.   Eventually, I asked the obvious...."are you an esthetician?"  Once she confirmed that skin care was her job, I immediately got excited and mustered up the courage to ask she would answer some skin care related questions....specifically on the topic of hyperpigmentation and how to address it.

If you're curious about the most effective method to even-toned skin.  Keep reading.
Today, we're interviewing Ak.  She's an expert in using chemical exfoliation to help create amazing skin.  I'm very interested in getting a chemical peel again so I asked her a bunch of questions.  I hope you enjoy the interview.

Q: First, tell me about your experience in the skincare industry and what go you interested.

AK. My name is Akpevwe, but everyone calls me AK. I currently live in Lagos, Nigeria. I love working on the skin.  I enjoy helping clients create their skin goals.  I've worked in the beauty industry for over 10 years now, both as a professionally trained makeup artist and an aesthetician.

I initially trained as a holistic aesthetician and currently in training to be a certified medical aesthetician. 

 Asides having experienced problems with my own skin, I got fully interested in the skincare industry based off, my observation as a makeup artist, of the influence social media, continues to have on the demand for perfect skin. From a makeup artist perspective, I knew this was beyond what makeup alone can achieve. For me, makeup and skincare go hand in hand, so I got into skincare to elevate makeup artistry career.

Q: I ask every esthetician I meet to share their favorite skin treatment.  You answered that you love chemical peels, why is that your go to?

AK. I love chemical peels and microneedling primarily because I specialize in corrective skincare. The right chemical peels act as an eraser, addressing post-inflammatory scarring, puke and box scars. Also Microneedling for its rejuvenating benefits and collagen stimulation.

Are there different types of chemical peels? Which one(s) are your favorite for eliminating acne scars versus reducing wrinkles/signs of aging?

AK.  Before delving into chemical peels. If you are already have existing acne, please have that addressed before moving on to work on the scarring.

For Acne Scars: I love working with cocktail peels as suppose to single ingredient peels. Because of the different molecular sizes

Azelaic and Salicylic cocktails work well for oily and combination skin types and also Cosmelan by Mesoestetic.

Q: The last time I had a peel, I had to stay in the house for a week. Is there an alternative peel with less/no downtime? Or are the most effective peels the ones that physically remove the top layer of skin?

AK: The only chemical peel with minimal downtime would be a glycolic acid peel and that depends on the percentage administered. This is because exfoliation happens on a microscopic level with glycolic acid and, in some cases, not visible to the eyes. it is also not as aggressive as other peels. It is usually used to pave the way for more aggressive chemical peels.

 In my opinion, all chemical peels are effective, what is equally as important is feeding the right ingredients and taking care of the newly exfoliated skin. This is where I see a lot of people having issues. An effective regimen with the right product and ingredients ensures results that last.

Q: As women of color, should we be particular about the type of peel that we use on our skin?

AK: Yes from my experience and study, peels containing resorcinol can fry our skin, more especially for people who fall under the type 5-6 of the Fitzpatrick skin classification scale.
Also, I don't advice the Cosmelan peel to be self-administered, it is classified as a deep peel.  Persons who fall under the above skin typing have a high risk of contradictions, due to high melanin levels.

Q: Any tips to get the most out of a professional peel?
AK: A professional facial before a peel is highly advised, not only does it ensure that pores are clear of any sebum build-up, it also eliminates any chances of breakout episode while skin is peeling. Also being on a regimen of AHA's and retinol, is highly beneficial and advised prior to a professional peel.

Q: You shared an amazing skin transformation that occurred over a series of peel sessions. Do you recommend that everyone with severe scarring do a series of peels?
AK: Yes, as long as they aren't pregnant.

Q: If your skin is relatively normal, do you still recommend peels or should that person stick with conventional facials?
AK: For person's with normal skin, I recommend, quarterly sessions, even though you don't suffer from acne and scarring, there is always the issue of surface dehydration, lackluster skin, and wrinkles. Also the health and integrity of the skin important.

Q: Are there any effective at home peels that you recommend? 
AK: Sadly no, chemical peels are to be administered by a trained aesthetician but having an at-home regimen that includes AHA's, retinol and Vitamin C works. 

Q: What's your suggestion for reducing acne scars at home?
AK: Reduce inflammation in your body and skin as much as possible, avoid refined sugar, white bread and soda. Inflammation in the body puts it at risk of developing breakouts, which leads to hyperpigmentation especially for people of color. Also, look out for products that are anti-inflammatory. Anti-inflammatory skincare is the key.

If you have questions for Ak or want to visit her in person, feel free to send her an email. 
[email protected]

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