My Skin Care Game that has taken years to accept.
IT'S BEEN A JOURNEY AND A LOT OF LESSONS LEARNED BUT MY DAUGHTER WILL KNOW HOW TO TREAT HER SKIN BECAUSE OF MY MISTAKES.
If you've followed via my newsletter, or on Instagram, you've seen a bit more about the issues I have with sun spots, melasma, and hyperpigmentation. I've decided to go more public about it because it's a thing for everyone, especially a lot of women.
My skin care game is nothing extravagant day-to-day. I don't buy expensive product....anymore. I use over the counter lotions and makeup but the skin treatments I choose are aggressive and expensive to treat my situation.
Before I get into what works for me. Here's what hasn't:
1. Hydroquinone cream - prescribed by a dermatoligst
2. Being in the sun more - I mean...this is a given and it doesn't help the cause
3. Rodan and Fields and Nerium. Now I'm not knocking these products. They are actually great at helping with skin complexion and these issues but they didn't mine.
4. Makeup. Airbrush systems. And more makeup.
You see, I spent years playing softball and loving the pool so much but rarely putting on sunblock. Like sometimes never.
Cue Pretty Woman quote..."Big Mistake. BIG. HUGE.
The brown pigmentation you see on my cheek wraps all around my chin to the other side of my face. My forehead and nose are spotted too. It's pretty much all over.
But I didn't see all this 5-6 years ago when this started.
Here is one of the first pics I took of my face (circa 2014) before I did anything cosmetic. Themelasma on the upper lip, the discoloration around my smile and nose and the few spots on my cheek and by my brow. I could live with the spots, but the rest had to go.
WHAT I'VE TRIED:
I've done everything from bleaching cream (hydroquinone - prescription strength), to big name skin-care lotions like Rodan and Fields, Nerium, Cindy Crawford's Meaningful Beauty, and Peter Thomas Roth Despot Skin Brightening Corrector. None worked to get rid of the spots or damage.
I even went to makeup counters to have professionals match my skin with coverup to help hide it more. I left feeling disheartened. They were stumped. No one could find a way make to make it work without it all showing through.
So I struggle with the 'dirty face look', even with makeup on.
Then, I saw an infomercial for an airbrush system, Luminess Air. but the make up would sweat off so I stopped using it.
And, then, I met a true makeup artist in town, Ashley Neu. She is the only one that could help me cover it up without caking on makeup. I looked flawless for my wedding and other special events that followed, but I can't replicate it on my own. So I'm still stuck.
In 2014, I met Shannon. Who is now my esthetician.
Shannon showed me what kind of damanged lived under my skin by using an Ultraviolet Sun Lamp. I literally had tears. But she convinced me that the sun spot on my cheek could flake off with this solution she would apply with a Qtip. She never called it a chemical peel but that's what it was. So, I made an appointment a few weeks later. She applied it to that spot and it just flaked off in 3 days. I had that spot for about 8 years and couldn't believe it was gone.
I was hooked.
I wanted the upper lip done so bad that I went all in.
I did my first, full facial, chemical peel with a 20% TCA solution, which is a medium peel. It clung to the damage closest to the outer skin layer, darkened the skin even more but that was what would eventually flake.
Here is the effect during my first ever, medium peel. This is probably day 2 or 3.
All that brown peels off like snake skin. It's gross but that's what happens. And, you're left with new, rejuvenated skin.
I couldn't wait to do it again! Downtime was 3-5 days before everything peeled. I didn't go out in public so it's a commitment.
I've had about seven 20% peels done since 2014. And I'm still not at a point where I'm satisfied. It's not a guarantee that it will solve the problem for good. You should know that it will pull up more than you actually see and it will likely do that each time. It has me. So I would say it's worked, then regressed then worked again.
Hormones play a role. Genetics play a role. And bad habits play a role.
After my 6th peel, I decided I needed something stronger. The downtime was wearing on me and I figured I'd be doing these for a decade before my skin was to a place I was satisfied. I was only doing about two a year, only during the winter months.
Shannon's office had a 35% TCA solution, which could only be administered the doctor. So I went for it. It worked great. But I've been pregnant, it's summer (heat brings it out) and I still have damage so deep that I need to continue treatments. They told me it wasn't a guarantee but would work much deeper than the lighter peels.
Here's my results during and after the 35% TCA solution. (DISCLAIMER: I'm not sharing the pics from the first few days following because I was pretty swollen. It goes down after about 4 days).
Greasy hair because you have to put Aquafor on your face all day every day. Baby shampoo only to avoid chemicals irritating your skin.
Day 7 results after all has peeled. I do have makeup on here but very little. You can still see skin that needs to peel by my hairline. I had baby butt smooth AND clear skin!
Summer of 2017 (postpartum) and 1 and 1/2 out from first deep peel procedure (no makeup)
2017 Major Deep Peel Results done in November - results one month later (no makeup)
It's was nearly two years since the first 35% peel I did, and one baby and pregnancy hormones later, so I decided to get it done again. I really, really wanted to do it sooner than the Fall because I was worried I'd get pregnant again and have to wait it out another year. But, no babies yet and I got it done in early Nov. No Summer sun to worry about and staying in doors in the winter is A-OK with me:)
A few things I expected coming out of this one:
1. I'd break out. My chin broke out bad after my very first mild peel. It's important to know that some is normal and not to pick. Picking lingered the breakouts for months!
2. Dry skin and flaking
How I remedied this time around:
1. Took some natural healing advice from my hair dresser and put Coconut Oil on my face at night. It's a natural healer for dry skin and scarring. It also gave me a glowing complexion that I was pretty pleased with as a bonus effect.
2. Dabbed Apple Cider Vinegar onto the blemishes. It's also a natural ingredient that helps with inflammation. Smells disgusting but it worked after a few days!
So ,there you have it. My journey to renewing my skin and treating it nicely. If you are struggling with similar issues, I recommend to talk to a dermatologist and/or licensed esthetician.
Below are my tips for those considering chemical peels and how to just in general take better care of your skin.
TIPS and WHAT TO KNOW:
1. Consult with a licensed professional before you do anything to your skin. I've seen a dermatologist and esthetician. They can provide the right recommendation for you and you only.
2. Prepare peels around your life and work schedule. You DO NOT want to do this just before a sunny vacay or during the warmer months. You need time to heal.
3. Do your research. Understand what a peel is, and what kind may work for you. I like to reference the 'ole Web MD definition.
4. Peels are best for lighter skin individuals. It can bleach the skin on darker skin peeps.
5. Wear wide brim hats where possible, but a hat or umbrella at all times in the sun.
6. SPF 50+ is a must, even during the winter months. I put it on before I apply my makeup. Don't skip this step.
7. Medium to deep peels do burn, but only for about 10-15 min then it's gone.
8. Downtime for medium to deep peels is about 5-7 days. Expect to be out of the public eye. Work from home if you can or take some PTO time for you. You deserve it. And, you will peel or be dry for weeks following.
9. Try the bleaching creams first. It may work better for you.
10. Spot treat vs. full face treatment. I didn't initially go all in. I needed proof this was going to work so my esthetician just treated that one spot on my cheek above with a Q-tip and it flaked off in a few days. Done.....let's do the whole face I said! But it's a journey. I've done several full face peels and two deep ones to get to the root of the damage. It pulls it out more before you see clear results.
11. Take care of your skin. All day, every day. It will be with you till the end. Try natural healants like Coconut Oil to hydrate your skin and help with scarring. FYI...scarring is not normal for peels unless you peel too soon.
My esthetician, Shannon Reeves, is with Advance Aesthetics and Wellness Studio. And, Winslow Facial Plastic Surgery administered the 35% peel. Both located in Carmel, IN.
I'd also trust ReNeu Beauty with my regimen going forward. They are located on the South Side of Indy.