Thursday, 18 February 2016

My Experience With Using a Salycylic Acid Facial Peel

A couple of months ago, if someone had recommended me to put acid on my face to help manage acne and scarring, I probably would've thought they were almost definitely a psychopath and have promptly ran away.  However... the more I started to read about 'facial peels', the more curious I became, until one day I found myself on Amazon, ordering a '20% Facial Salycylic Acid Peel Kit'.  Next thing I knew, it was going on my face, week after week.  So I thought I'd write about my experience so far and include some photos for your viewing pleasure!

The kit I bought comes with a 30ml salicylic acid solution and a 50ml neutralising gel (as well as a few free cotton pads, how generous), and cost £16.79 plus postage, which I think was £2.80.  You can get many different types of facial acid and in different concentrates, but having read quite a lot online first, I knew I wanted to start with a relatively low percentage of acid.  At first glance, I thought these bottles looked tiny and wasn't sure if I'd been ripped off or not.  However, having used them both weekly now for almost 6 weeks I'd say I've used just under half of the acid and about the same, if a bit less, of the gel.  So, on second thoughts, I think there would be on average 12 weekly treatments in each set, which I believe represents great value for money.  The instructions I received with the kit recommended using the treatment weekly.  I made sure to read the instructions multiple times, as well as comparing them with ones online, and doing a patch test beforehand - it's a risky business putting acid on your skin so if you do ever choose to try this sort of treatment I cannot stress enough the importance of knowing what you are doing before you begin!!!  I feel like it is something which will work differently for everyone; this is just my experience and method. 

Beginning with clean, makeup and oil free skin (I use the Lancome Gel Eclat cleanser as I find this to be one of the best for me to make my skin feel really super clean!), I apply the acid, which is a strong smelling, clear liquid, using a cotton pad.  I put it straight onto my face, avoiding eyebrows, lips, eyes etc... you can also put vaseline on these areas to protect them from the acid.  Each week I would increase the time that I left the acid on by a minute, from one minute in the first week up to 6 in week six.  The instructions also recommend that you leave it on for 7 minutes as a maximum, as well as leaving a 2 week gap between treatments 6 and 7.  I'm not going to lie, the acid is pretty strong stuff!  You can definitely feel it doing it's thing; it's kind of a light and hot tingling sensation, a bit like if you use a deep cleansing face mask, and in a similar way, it makes your face feel quite tight.  It's quite bizarre to look in the mirror as you do it, as the acid creates a very fine crystallised layer on the surface of your skin, making it look a bit like you've been in the arctic.  I use a timer on my phone to make sure my timings are precise, and once the time is up for the acid I apply the neutralising gel, using a cotton pad again and applying in circular motions.  I leave this on for a minute, then rinse off with cold water.  After a few minutes, I apply a good moisturiser, something quite thick - either Cetaphil moisturising lotion or La Roche Posay Effaclar MAT.  Around 2-3 days later (there's no delicate way to put this), my skin gets a little more dry, and err, peels off... kind of like having sunburn... in February.  It sounds a lot more dramatic than it is, as with a good moisturiser, which I apply 2-3 times a day, it is so easy to manage.  I've found as the weekly treatments have gone on the peeling has been far less intense anyway, and it only ever tends to be around my chin, which I would say is where my acne/scarring/blackheads are worst anyway.  

Below I've put some photos from Week 1 (on the left), versus those from Week 5 (on the right). 

For me, the difference is quite subtle, and difficult to show on camera, too, but I have definitely noticed it.  Although this isn't a cure-all treatment for acne (as I've still been getting spots in between treatments), the texture of my skin has improved tenfold since using it.  My skin is usually quite oily; I find this really helps to balance it, and for first few days after using, it really does feel like you've got a new layer of baby-soft skin.  The difference hasn't been dramatic, but I have seen a reduction in the amount of spots I've been getting, and also feel that week-on-week some of my pores have slowly but surely been shrinking, as well as some of the acne scarring I have.  I think it's also helped with redness and inflammation - all in all, for 5 weeks of usage, I can't really complain.  All it seems to have done is improved my skin, which has made a big difference to my confidence.  Admittedly, I don't have the worst skin in the world at all, and I don't believe spot-free skin is the only beautiful skin, but my skin has always been (or rather, not been) a bit of a soft spot for me - pardon the pun - and so I have the attitude that if I can do something about it, why not try.  

That's all I have to report on using facial peels so far - I'm going to carry on using the kit I've got and complete 12 weeks, then see about perhaps moving onto a higher percentage or different type of acid if I want to continue.  Let me know what you think, and if you'd like me to do a follow up post at the end of the 12 weeks.  Lots of love,

Ruby x