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My chemical peel
black shirt, Giane
Anyone out there ever had a chemical peel? Well, I have! Once. It happened just recently, courtesy of a Groupon gift certificate, which I had been ignoring, but which was set to expire at the end of December. I finally decided to pluck my courage up and get it over with.

I'm really the last person who should have ended up with such a gift certificate. I've never been one of those women who regularly haunts the cosmetic counters, dabbing free samples onto my skin and peppering the cosmeticians with questions regarding the effectiveness of this skin treatment versus that one. Okay, I'll admit that once or twice a year I get unhappy with my appearance and go to the cosmetic counter for a little advice, but I'm such a sucker for a good sales pitch that I inevitably end up getting sent home with a totally unnecessary $28 foundation or $35 skin cream, which I always regret in the cold light of my bathroom, and hide from my husband. This always seems to happen on Mondays, for some reason, when I'm having a slow day at work and wander into the shops at lunchtime feeling vaguely dissatisfied with life. They probably see me coming a mile off.

I have also been trained by certain friends and family members, who, unlike me, are very interested in the subject of skin care,  to just go to London Drugs or Shoppers Drug Mart and buy them moderately expensive skin creams on occasions when gifts are called for. Without even being prompted to, I always ask for a gift receipt so that the recipients can feel free to exchange my potentially lame choice for something that they really want. We all have faults and flaws that we don't know about, but at least I can say with confidence that I KNOW I suck at buying gifts. And everyone who knows me well has found various ways of working around that.

So back to the chemical peel.
I was scared, I admit it. Was I going to moult like a toad, or (Heaven forfend) shed my entire skin like a snake? And if so, could I time this so that it happened over a weekend, and therefore ensure that the only person who would be horrified would be my faithful and not-easily-shocked husband? Would I be unfit for human company on (OMG) work days?

Well, the staff at the clinic were very reassuring. They downplayed the moulting. They were ultimately completely wrong about the time frame regarding the days when it would have been better for me to stay home so as not to repel clients and co-workers. And no one mentioned the pain! More on that later. I believed their reassurances and platitudes. Maybe I wanted to, or maybe I just had no choice. After all, the damn gift certificate was set to expire in a matter of days.

So, feeling that I had discussed my fears in detail, I reported on the set day. I had chosen a Wednesday so that if facial skin was due to come off me in festoons a few days hence, it would presumably all be over by Sunday. I settled myself as directed into the comfortable reclining chair and calmly allowed the young and rather severe technician to paint my face with chemicals. Approximately one minute later, a horrible burning sensation started! Ow! Silly me, I thought I could handle it. My tech-girl was trying to distract me with questions about my existing skin care routine, so I was attempting to explain that I get lots of moisture in the form of rain driven into my skin at high speeds due to my all-season cycling habits, when the burning feeling reached a level that robbed me of speech. Fortunately, I am not particularly stoic on those rare occasions in life when I find myself experiencing high levels of excruciating pain, so after a short, shocked silence where I processed the new sensory information, which went something like this: YAAAGGGHHH! Get that shit off my FAAAAACE!, I realized that this situation could not be allowed to continue. Of course the aforementioned primal screaming was not what actually issued from my lips. Instead I drew upon levels of self-control and decorum that I never dreamed would have activated so well under duress and very politely asked my torturer to remove the chemical peel substance from my skin ASAP. She asked me if I was sure, and I assured her that I really, really was, GOD DAMMIT (!!!!!), so she swabbed me down with a neutralizing substance, and after about a minute, my panicky desire to leap up and start clawing at my burning face subsided. Whew! I studied my face anxiously in the mirror, and apart from a little redness, I was relieved to find that I still looked like a normal human being and not like Freddy Krueger after the flames. Tech-lady insisted that I must not get any water or other moisture on my face for the next 24 hours, or the chemicals would act up all over again. That meant no cycling in the rain and no sweating at the gym. I didn't want a repeat of the earlier 'fire-ants-are-eating-my-face' feeling, so I was careful to comply.

Everything was more or less fine until the following Thursday, which was, I regret to report, wall-to-wall appointments for me at work. Can you perhaps guess what happened?  My entire forehead decided that it was time to flake off in a most distressingly conspicuous way, and what's more, it kept it up for all of the hours of the work day. I was devastated! This was supposed to have happened on the weekend, dammit! I had just begun to relax, assuming it wasn't going to happen at all. Jeez. I brushed my bangs down over my forehead, tried to sit with the window behind me, and did my best to pretend it wasn't really happening. That was when the skin on my left cheek decided to join the general exodus. I couldn't wait for the day to end.

I guess chemical peels are best for people who either don't work, or don't work with the public.

Here we are two weeks later. The result? So far, two people have told me how great my skin looks. One person knew I had had a chemical peel and was probably just being sweetly supportive. The other was a male and didn't know. Hmmm. I don't know what to think. I personally think I look just the same. Maybe I need my sister's opinion. I can be sure she'll be brutally honest with me.

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If your aim was to make me laugh so hard that I feel ten years younger, then mission accomplished! Brit, you crack me up. Spend Christmas watching Star Trek and then pay money to have acid smeared into your face. C'mon, what was in that stuff, anyway? Mud? Liquid cocaine? I fork hundreds of dollars over to Origins every year for various substances to slap on the skin, most of which are invisible to the naked eye. They're probably all made out of mud. The emperor has no clothes, but at least his skin is well-moisturized and glowing.

Plan to spend tomorrow morning chilling out as I read the update. Looking forward to it!

I don't know what was in that stuff! Hydrochloric acid, maybe? My tech-person told me its name, but the word had a lot of syllables in it and sounded really scientific, and I'll admit, it just went right over my head.

I'm sure if it had been liquid cocaine, I would have drifted through the rest of the day in a euphoric state of power and beauty. Well, that's what I imagine, anyway. I have no practical experience with cocaine. Although once there was this incredible cold and flu medicine from Japan... I've never had a high like it. I have no idea what the hell was in it, but it's a good thing I wasn't living in Japan at the time because I probably would've been on skid row by the end of the month.

Anyway, I'm glad I could make someone (other than my husband) laugh at my chemical peel experience!

What is Origins, BTW? Is it a store or a product line?

And whoo-hoo! A person other than my good friend Moon is finally going to read my lonely Justice update.

Have a great weekend

I had a series of really bad breakouts and decided to deal with the scars on my chin and a scar from a cut on my forehead. I had a facial peel at a salon. It doesn't hurt, but you have to go six times to get results. It helped until the next big breakout. I honestly wouldn't wear an ouce of makeup if I didn't have breakouts. :(

Really, six times? That's what they said at the clinic but I thought they were just trying to upsell me.

Have YOU gone six times, and if so, did you notice results?

Re make-up, I always wear lipstick, eyebrow pencil and mascara (waterproof if it's raining, regular if it's not), but I don't like to wear concealer or foundation if I don't have to. Once in a while, if I have some extra time in the morning and feel I look exceptionally blotchy/pasty, I'll slap some on. But I frequently find myself riding my bike in the rain, so I can't get too serious about make-up.

I hope your break-outs have settled down. Did you ever find out what was causing them? Was it an allergy?

Did you go to salon or a doctor's office? Mine was a at a salon. I did go the six times. They had a special going where you bought 3 you get 3 free. I did notice the results. I only gets breakouts on my chin and that is apparently hormonial, meaning every month before and during my period I breakout. I have tried a lot of stuff and take a medication that helps a little. When I was a kid, I didn't think I still have an issue with breakouts in my 30s. :(

I went to a laser clinic with a doctor or two either on the staff, or functioning semi-independently. It turned out that my gift certificate was only good for the salon side of things, so my options basically boiled down to either a facial or a chemical peel. The steered me toward the chemical peel because the facial apparently only cost $65 but my gift certificate was for $100 and I wasn't going to get any money back. The facial peel on the other hand, was worth exactly $100. That was how I ended up booking a chemical peel when I had never particularly been interested in them before!

Too bad about the breakouts being hormonal. I was hoping it was something like an allergy so that you could avoid whatever was causing it. But we can't avoid our hormones! I'm glad you've found a couple of things that help.

Hi From Moon

Brit, my sister in law who is in her early sixties, and who I have always considered very pretty, had one. She said it was very painful, and her face was puffy and swollen for a few days. I am the opposite end of the spectrum, I have three pieces of make up that come from the cheap section of the grocery store and never use sunscreen. My face is pretty full of freckles and age spots, ugh.

There are many things I would undo from my past, and one is tanning. As young teens in the 1970s we used to lay out in the sun all the time. Slap on the baby oil and cook. I am from Michigan so 9 months of the year am lily white, with some outdoor tan in the summer, just from walks etc. I know exactly where my basal cell skin cancers will be someday.

Does the peel get rid of age spots or acne scars? Or just smooth you out?

You are one brave soul, brit!

I never use sunscreen either, although I suppose I should. But I don't spend that much time outdoors especially when it's hot and sunny. My Avon-lady co-worker sold me some face dream that has 15 spf sunscreeen in it, but I always forget to use it.

When I was younger, I had a boyfriend who wanted a tanned girlfriend, so he bought me a bunch of tanning sessions at the gym we worked out at. I'm really pale to start with, so I never achieved a darker color than a kind of middling beige, but I went to the tanning beds for a long time and regret it now. I loved not having blindingly-white legs.

I don't have any age spots or acne scars, but the sales staff at the clinic said that the peel would 'brighten up' my skin, whatever that's supposed to mean!

Re: Hi From Moon

Actually a lot of the age spots arrive during pregnancy....then you get grey hair when they're teenagers, lol!

Oh Dear God, you poor thing! I've heard these hurt, but I had no idea! Given my skin is so damned sensitive, I think I'll try to avoid this - as should you!


Ooooh, a hug! *Hugs back*

Yes, I think I'm done with chemical peels. And if you have very sensitive skin, this treatment is definitely not for you, either. There must be something less painful out there.

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