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The Secrets to Skinlightenment

A beginner’s guide to peels.

“Skinlightenment” is my phrase for the enlightenment of home skincare practices, metabolic peels, and the seasons they are best suited. But, before we get into all that I want to breakdown the desquamation process. I promise it will help make more sense of the why and what.

The Technical

Desquamation, commonly known as “cell turnover” is a natural shedding process that occurs over the entire body when keratinized skin cells (yes, the same keratin found in hair and nails) travel through the upper four layers of the epidermis (stratum basale, stratum spinosum, stratum granulosum, and the stratum corneous). This happens on average every 28-40 days. Known as keratinocytes, they travel up through the epidermis until they reach the surface layer and the nuclei die, creating corneocytes -or dead skin cells. Layers of corneocytes cover your body and perform their function as a physical, chemical, and immunological barrier. Think of them as shingles on a roof or siding. When they are in good condition the house (or skin) is protected from the environment. But when they are compromised –dry and flaky and cracked– it causes the house to look aged. The same thing applies to the skin. But unlike the body, the house doesn’t have an internal function to repair itself. Lucky for us our skin does! New cells are constantly being “born”. And with proper skin care and treatments, those cells can remain healthy and vibrant… dare I say, Radiant.

What do peels do and why should we do them?

The easy answer is that peels help speed up the metabolic process of cell turnover. As we age the process slows. Older cells stick around longer creating hardened skin, making it difficult for younger cells to surface. This results in a duller complexion. Understanding that peels function much as the body did during its younger days (think of babies whose cells turn over every two weeks) by using quality ingredients to stimulate shedding and retain moisture. With deeper peels, a natural repairing of the tissue occurs reducing the signs of wrinkles and pigmentation issues.

Level One peels are perfect for the spring and summer months. Loaded with anti-oxidants and low percentages of AHA (lactic acid) and BHA (salicylic acid) they don’t require any preparation. They can be done during a facial service on all skin tones and types without harm. They are perfect for brightening and clearing away stubborn cells that won’t budge that cause acne and the dreaded dullness. In combination with a simple, yet quality home routine (sunscreen is an absolute must), you create an environment that keeps your skin glowing more those late-night campfires.

Level One Plus peels are a wonderful treatment if you’re looking for a bit more but not too much. These peels include anti-oxidants and gentle acids, but also boost the treatment with specialized retinol that enhances collagen production and evens out deeper pigmentation. There is zero downtime, and your friends will be asking what the secret to your glow is.

By the time fall and winter arrive, you’re ready for a Level Two peel. You’ve been prepped from an intentional skincare routine, the sun won’t be as intense, and now you’re ready to go a little deeper. Depending on your concerns (wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, or acne scars) this is the time where we take the skin down a little further using stronger percentages of AHA and retinol. I won’t lie, there are some “down days”. Days where you’ll want to commit to that book you haven’t finished, or do that inner-personal work you’ve been meaning to catch up on. I usually tell my clients about two days of hanging out at home, but the results are worth it. A Level Two peel combined with a solid home care routine can remove years of stubborn issues.

Home Care

Here’s the big one. I can perform a gazillion peels and if the home care isn’t there the results won’t last. It’s a huge bummer for the client and the esthetician. Solid home care doesn’t mean your cabinet is loaded with the newest influencers’ recommendations. It means you are using quality products with integrity in a practiced manner. It can be a little or lot, it just depends on what your goals are and getting the right quality ingredients. This is really where your esthetician can help. A well-trained esthetician knows the market. They know which ingredients target your skin concerns and budget.

And most importantly, they are there to help you reach your skincare goals.


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