Anyone who read the recent Daily Mail feature (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2133583l) about exfoliating medi-facials that ‘wreck your looks’ could be forgiven for feeling alarmed. After all, who would want to risk the thin ‘blackened’ skin model Sophie Anderton complained of following a long-term addiction to ‘super-facials’ like microdermabrasion and glycolic acid peels?
However there is no need to panic. Used sensibly, as part of a prescribed progamme, these facials are not only safe, but can also give your skin a great boost. “These treatments are designed to support the skin, remove dead surface skin cells and stimulate collagen production to ‘plump’ up the new skin coming through,” says Medicetics’ Dr Vicky Dondos. “Yet, as with all treatments, you can definitely too have too much of a good thing.”
Problems arise when women become hooked, returning for treatment as often as once a week. Or if they are suffering from rosacea or burst blood vessels, which can worsen. Anderton was left with paper-thin skin which meant that when she exposed herself to the sun, she developed dark brown pigment blotches all over her face, which took months of intensive treatment with specialist creams to reverse.
“Depending on the harshness of the treatment, misuse of MDAs and peels certainly may remove more layers of dead cells than appropriate, potentially increasing skin sensitivity. Indeed, they may even exacerbate oil gland activity, thereby increasing oil gland production, the opposite of what many clients want to achieve,” says Dr Dondos. Treatments should always be prescribed according to an individual’s skin type, but as a rule, intense facials shouldn’t be repeated more than once every six weeks in the long term. “You need to give the skin a rest with a ‘fallow’ recovery period. The skin can’t cope with continuous aggravation,” says Dr Dondos.
“However, I think it’s important to point out that in expert hands, these peels can actually RESTRUCTURE an abnormal stratum corneum, re-arranging a thick scaled, uneven pattern of cells into a healthy, normal (young) thin, compact, basket-weave structure. This is essential for strong barrier function. As this weakens, as part of the normal ageing process, more water is allowed to escape, leading to dehydration and sometimes irritation, redness and acne, as toxins penetrate more easily.”