Words to the wise: Never get a peel during the summertime unless it's absolutely crucial. So you're probably wondering why I tried the Vi Peel in the middle of July. Crucial? Maybe not, but lately I've been suffering from hormonal acne and my hyperpigmentation is back in full swing so I decided to go to extremes, which is fitting for my personality. Living in this world of instant gratification, I couldn't wait to have cleaner looking skin, but let me tell you, the seven days post peel were perhaps the longest days of summer. And yes, I did actually look like Samantha from Sex and the City. I thought peels came a long way from that, but maybe not...
I've been seeing Todd Newman, PA-C at Schweiger Dermatology in Hoboken, NJ (he's been saving my skin!) and this time, understanding my skincare issues and desire for fresh skin, he recommended the Vi Peel, a combination of Salicylic Acid, Vitamin C, Retinoic Acid and more. Upon applying, it felt irritating on my skin, but tolerable and was only on for a few minutes. After trying Fraxel (read my post and see before and after pics here), I could handle anything. Later that day, my face was red and itched throughout the night resulting in a serious lack of sleep. The peel did come with an at-home care kit that included a Post Peel Cream with 1% hydrocortisone cream to help stop the itching, but I wasn't supposed to use it until day two.
After scratching my face off all night, I "woke up" to red skin that screams, "I had something done." Luckily, I had a down week with work on air and in the city so I only had to explain my face to those I worked out with. Mind you, to prevent blistering (eek), you're not allowed to sweat when working out for 72 hours after getting a peel so I didn't run and stuck with barre and yoga. (You know, the type of workouts that'll preserve a blowout.) Running around Hoboken, I wore a baseball cap, big sunglasses and lots of sunscreen. The only thing I wished for was a permanent filter over my face IRL.
I woke up and despite the fact that I applied a ton of Post Peel Cream and SkinCeuticals Epidermal Repair (my go-to skin savior) before bed, my face felt tight and dry – as expected. It's red and looks like I got a really bad sunburn. It look like it hurts and let me tell you, it does. At least today I have the satisfaction of peeling, which began around my mouth and the acne I had on my cheek. I know I'm not supposed to pick, but I love pulling the skin off. (Sick I know.) All day long I applied layers of Post Peel Cream, SkinCeuticals and SPF. My skin drank it up. I literally applied the SkinCeuticals cream over and over every five minutes because that's how quickly my skin would dry out. No matter what I put on, it stung as I applied and my eyes filled with tears. I've had peels before, but this might be the most aggressive. I tried wearing a BB Cream to reduce the appearance of the redness when going out in public (I had a wine tasting class with Joe in NYC), but no matter what I did, my skin still didn't look so hot considering the peeling. My face hurts so much I could throw up. This isn't any less invasive than Fraxel. There, I said it.
My face peeled off so much yesterday that today I'm just all over dry and tight and left with burn marks. It's ugly. I expected that once the peeling happened, fresh, new skin would be revealed, but I literally have burn marks. I've tried peels by SkinCeuticals, the Dermaceutic peel and others and didn't experience this. At this point I'm hoping it's normal and praying that maybe my skin looks like this because the Vi Peel is more aggressive. At least my face doesn't hurt today, but it's still swollen. I also don't think the 1% hydrocortisone cream is doing anything to help the inflammation.
Thanks to the massive amounts of Neosporin I lathered across my face last night, things are looking a bit brighter today. Inflammation is gone and while some of my skin is raw and red, the rest has turned to brown.
I slathered my face in Neosporin again all day yesterday and overnight. We're definitely nearing the end here, but I wish I could fast forward a few days and be done with this! My forehead is done peeling as is my nose and the skin is baby soft so I'm getting excited. My cheeks, smile lines and chin are still brown, tight and flaking. At this point, the my skin isn't actually peeling off in layers anymore. Instead, it looks a bit dirty and just flakes.
Yes, today's day 7 of this "7 day peel," and while it's definitely the first day I don't feel obligated to explain my face to everyone I come in contact with, it's still not over. Tightness, redness and flaking seems to be only left at the smile line and chin area. The rest of my skin is bight and super soft, which is exactly what I was seeking.
My skin is restored! No more dry patches or tightness. The only signs of my peel are a few cuts (like the one on the side of my nose), which of course aren't cute, but I'll take it. I'm done. As you can see, I still have hyperpigmentation, but I will say some spots are completely gone and the rest has lightened. I didn't expect to get rid of it all during this one peel, but for what I went through this week.... ugh!
So... I know you're probably asking, was it all worth it?
Truth is, I'd never do it again. I thought I was doing a series of four of these peels throughout the next couple of months to really blast my hyperpigmentation, but I couldn't do this to myself again nor do I think it's necessary. This was the most aggressive peel I've ever done. The inflammation, dryness and burning pain isn't a trade for brighter skin. Instead, I'm going to stick with less invasive brightening peels (where I don't have to hide out for a week) and use over the counter topicals to keep my skin in check.