BEST (AND WORST) SALON TREATMENTS FOR BETTER LOOKING SKIN

AHA PEEL

This one is by far my personal favorite !A treatment with FRUIT ACIDS is SIMPLE, EFFECTIVE and visibly IMPROVES skin in only one session. This doens’t mean you’ll need only one, but it’s nice to see some effect afther the first session.

Fruit acid peels work by exfoliating the dead, dull skin cells on your skin’s surface. Salon fruit acid peels will be more intense than the fruit acid products you might be using at home. The treament isn’t really a “wellness” experience, as you may experience some itching & burning during the treament. But the results are suerly worth it !

In general, your aesthetician will advice you a course of 4 to 10 sessions. Four being for a good skin condition, ten being for those of you with specific problems like acne or hyperpigmentation.

Skin can be a bit red during and immediately after the treatment and you might experience some flakiness (dead cells shedding) in the days following the session.

Prices are generally moderate and every skin type, except ultra-sensitive will benefit from these treatments.

Exuviance makes some damn good peels you should absolutely look out for. www.exuviance.com

www.exuviance.be 

IPL PULSED LIGHT TREATMENT

This one has been around for quite a few years now, but still can be a good option if you have specific skin concerns like hyperpigmented areas and (light) sagging of the skin or (fine) wrinkles. Don’t expect miracles, but a number of sessions can give you really visible results.

LED LIGHT THERAPY TREATMENT

Collagen stimulation by light isn’t a new one either, but it has proven to be effective for skins that need (moderate) anti-ageing. Can also be combined (ideally) with the AHA Peels mentionned above. Red LED Light will stimulate the fibroblasts that produce COLLAGEN & ELASTIN in your skin, meaning your skin will be TONED and more FIRM  afther a number (generally 10) of sessions.

Blue LED Light is a great option in case you suffer from ACNE, as blue light emitted by LED Diodes kills the acne bacteria. Can ideally be combined with some peels also. Like with red LED light, expect a number of sessions to be required to get best results.

OXYGEN TREATMENTS

Listen, guys, or rather : girls. Oxygen sounds great, but is it really so good for skin ? I wonder, but if you have to believe the marketing claims, oxygen treatments are a real miracle. However : oxygen can be quite damaging to your skin cells, as it generates free radicals…. You know, those evil little bastards we are trying to combat with our anti-oxidant loaded serums and creams. So where’s the logic ? Put a cream to combat negative “oxygen” reactions and put extra oxygen into the skin at the same time ???!!! Stop the nonsense please and take a good deep breath when you’re on the beach or in the woods (please do not in the centre of town), so you can get some good extra oxygen IN A NATURAL MANNER. 

FRESH CELLS TREATMENT

Fresh cells used  to be very popular during the ’70 & ’80 of the last century, but then lost their popularity after the introduction of diseases like BSE (Mad Cow Disease) and others. Of course, fresh cells have to be harvested from somewhere and this generally is from animals like bovines or sheap.

The results, however, of FRESH CELLScan be quite spectacularand I have many (women) friends who absolutely swear by them. The idea of fresh cells is that the natural defense and repair mechanisms in our skin will be stimulated by the presence of certain proteins, thus having a REJUVENATING EFFECT on your skin.

If you decide to give this one a try, find yourself a KLAPP* beauty salon/spa, as they have a very famous treament with frozen cells.

  • * as KLAPP Cosmetics is a brand I work with on a professional basis, there is NO affiliated link whatsoever.

MICRODERMABRASION

Microdermabrasion uses a technique that “polishes” your skin with fine (aluminium/diamond) cristals in order to peel away dead skin cells. It is being recommended for scars (acne), wrinkles and uneven skin tone. Personally, I don’t find this technique to be as effective as an AHA Peel, and therefore, wouldn’t recommend you to spend a lot of money on this. Some beauticians do a light microdermabrasion during another treatment (to prepare for a peel, for example), and this is fine for me. Just don’t expect it to be as effective as a course of Fruit Acid Peels.

SCALPEL TREATMENT

The latest HYPE !But don’t worry, there is nothing bloody about this “invention”. A scalpel treatment consists of “scraping” away dead skin cells of the skin with a special type of scalpel. The result ? Well, where did we hear a similar thing before ? YES, indeed microdermabrasion works exactly the same way, but uses polishing cristal instead of a “scalpel”. Skip this one, if you ask me ……

ACNE & ADULT ACNE

According to Dr. Nicolas Perricone, dermatologist, there are 7 different stages of acne that can be distinguished. Stage one being the beginning, stage 7 being the worst state of acne.

  • Retention Hyperkeratosis. In a healthy skin, dead skin cells are shedded in a natural, ongoing manner. This also goes for the skin cells INSIDE the pores. In the case of retention hyperkeratosis, the dead skin cells inside the pores do not exfoliate in that natural manner and cling together with the sebum (natural skin oils). As a result of this, pores get clogged. The condition is triggered by several factors, one of them being genetics. In order to normalise this process, vitamin A derivatives like Tretinoin or Retinol can be applied to the skin. Retinol normalises the way skin cells behave inside our pores. Salicylic and glycolic acid can help prevent new pores from getting clogged, as these ingredients will further help exfoliation (elimination of dead skin cells).
  • Bacterial accumulation and multiplication inside the follicle. The acne bacteria, Propionibacterium acnes, starts multiplying inside the clogged pores. Infection is around the corner. Antibiotics are used (as well orally as topically) by dermatologists, but there is a risk of developping resistant strains. Benzoyl peroxide kills the acne bacteria by releasing oxygen into the skin. This also means that free radicals are being formed, leading to possible cell damage and premature ageing. Benzoyl peroxide can also be very harsh to the skin and is not tolerated very well by sensitive skin types. Light Therapy with a wavelength of 410-420 Nanometer is very effective. Combined with the stage 1 treatments good results can be achieved.
  • Microcomedones/comedones formation. Meaning whiteheads and blackheads. Treatment should now be focused on anti-bacterial and light therapy.

4/5  Papule and pustule formation.Also called “stage 2 acne” by dermatologists. These are the well-known red, irritated and inflamed pustules that are so typical for people with acne. Treatment as in stage 3.

6/7 Nodules and cyst formation. This is a severe form of acne. Not every patient/acne sufferer gets to this stage. I did myself, unfortunately, mainly due to bad treatment in those days. Treatment now consists of Roaccutane (Isotretinoïn) orally. A course of about 3 to 4 months is generally effective at clearing the acne. Roaccutane has some serious side effects, like :

  • Bad vision at night
  • Hair loss (at high dosages)
  • Dryness of lips, nose, eyes
  • Increased triglyceride levels (this has to do with liver functions)
  • Severe birth defects in pregnant women

I personally did a course of 3 months of this medicine. It saved my skin and got me back on my feet after years of being depressed because of my severe acne. I only suffered dryness and had some increased triglycerides levels by the end of the course. This gets back to normal once you stop taking the medicine.I an soooo happy I did this !

What I also discovered during this stage, is how important GOOD, NON-AGRESSIVE skin care can be. It makes the whole difference, during and after the acne.

SKIN CARE REGIMEN FOR ACNE:

DAYCARE :

  • Start the day with a GENTLE, non-drying cleanser. Avoid foams if you can. A cream or milk will be just as affective, believe me ! Céravé Hydrating Cleanser, Mad Hippie Cream Cleanser, Klapp Bèta-Glucan Cleansing Milk, Clinique Take the Day Off are excellent.
  • Use a SPOT treatment ON your pimples. Try a solution with BHA/Salicylic acid. It will help reduce inflammation and “dry out” your spots (no, I know, you can’t litterally dry them out, but some of you NEED to hear it this way J)
  • Use an oil-controlling/mattifying product if you need to. A light moisturizer can be great too. Look for anti-inflammatory ingredients like Centella, Green Tea and Chamomile. Silver is great too.
  • Use suscreen (oil free) SPF 30 at least or a make-up with SPF. Avoid stick/compact make-up, as these often have waxes which could clog your pores.

NIGHTCARE :

  • Doublecleanse (see my articles about cleansing). Your first cleans eremoves make up and SPF. The second one cleanses your skin.
  • Spot treatment
  • Use a Retinoid:vitamin A derivative like Retinol. Many brands have good retinols and they all have different percentages. If you want a stronger one choose Paula’s Choice or Neostrata. If you want to start milder look for Klapp Micro Retinol Soft Cream or Mad Hippie serum.
  • Moisturize:with a light moisturizer. Hyaluronic acid based product are great. A gel like l’Occitanes Aqua Réotier or Leegeehaam Serum is wonderfull at this stage.

SOME INGREDIENTS TO AVOID:

  • Mineral oil
  • Cinnamon oil
  • Cocoa butter
  • Coconut oil
  • Isopropyl myristate & palmitate
  • Lanolin
  • Myristyl myristate
  • Propylene glycol (some persons, not all)
  • Sodiul lauryl & laureth sulphate.

Remeber that not everyone has the same reaction to cosmetic ingredients and some of the above mentionned will be perfectly ok for some.

Be consistent in what you do and seek for medical/dermatological advise if your acne doesn’t get better or gets worse.

SHOULD YOU GO FOR A FACIAL : YES OR NO ?

Are you going for a facial regularly ? Or were you planning to ? A good facialist can contribute to the overall condition of your skin. Here are a few tips to make the right choice:

– Experience. Choose your facialist according to the experience she/he has. A younger person does not have to be, per definition, unexperienced. Many younger facialists train with an experienced collegue/salon, before starting their own business.
– Professionality. Meaning: how does she/he present the salon (spa), how’s the website, what type of treatments does she/he offer.
– Brand. Don’t go because of the brand they’re using, go because of the person.
– Type of treatment. Before you decide where to go, ask yourself the question of what type of treatment you’re looking for. Wellness/relaxing or Intensive.
– “Anti-ageing” treatments often require the use of machinery (like Laser/LED). Articles about these will follow.
– Intake. Does the facialist do an intake before starting a treatment ? Questions about your expectations should be a part of the intake, as well as your medical background (discretely). No intake : stay away, I would say!
– Hygiene. Your first impression is most important here. Clean smell, but not smelling of desinfectant to make even the cat run away ! How’s the working material kept ? Clean towels before every new client. Soft background music and pleasant lighting. Might seem a bit over the top, but just imagine laying in a room lighted like an operation theatre. Not very pleasant, I assure you ….
– Price. Make sure you pay an “all-inclusive” price. No extras during treatment. Think of modelling of your eyebrows, extra masks. Should be clear on forehand.
– Ask how much time the facialist will actually be “working” on you. No use laying still with a clay mask on your face for half an hour. Do this at home ; you’re paying for the time !
– My believe is that the facialist should choose the right treatment for you. He/she knows what to do best. You’re not in a restaurant.

For very specific treatments, like stronger peels (Fruit Acids AHA/BHA) or acne treatments, go to a specialised salon. Some brands offer special training to their depositories. Make sure before you go !
Last but not least: your facialist can NOT replace your daily routine at home. A facial is meant to BOOST your skin. Your daily homework makes the real difference. In case you have a limited budget, just buy the best skincare you can afford and go to a facialist when you want to give yourself a treat.