As many of you may know by now, I recently started going for various treatments at Skin Renewal in Claremont which I wrote about here and, 4 treatments later, I thought I should share my three-month update on everything I done so far and my thoughts on them. This is definitely a super long post so grab a cup of tea, get comfy, and read more below!
As mentioned in my first post which I linked above, the very first treatment I done was the Azelan Peel. Basically, this is a 30-minute superficial peel that combines salicylic and Azelaic acid to renew the skin by lifting dead cells and stimulating the metabolism of the cells underneath. Dr Toni recommended me to do this one because it helps to improve the appearance of both acne and epidermal hyperpigmentation, while making your skin look and feel softer, smoother and more radiant. After a week of having the peel, I definitely noticed that my skin texture was refined and smoother than before and, while I didn’t really get any breakouts immediately after the peel, I did find that I got my usual spots the week after but my skin was not as inflamed as before.
I had my Radiance Peel about 6 weeks later and before that, I had my derma-pen but I wanted to mention the peels first as the Dermapen treatments (I had two so far) were both very different experiences. The Radiance peel for me was the complete opposite of the Azelan peel which is probably because it is way stronger than the Azelan.
I found this peel to be quite gentle and relaxing which was the complete opposite to the Radiance Peel which I will talk about in a bit. For some people though, you skin may appear pink and even feel itchy afterwards but I experienced none of these. I also didn’t flake that much and only had a tiny bit on my forehead but that’s normal as there is usually almost no visible flaking or peeling with the Azelan Peel. Essentially, the Obagi Radiance peel is a chemical peel of salicylic acid, lactic acid and glycolic acid and is used to treat acne prone skin, aged skin and uneven skin tones.
While the concentration of the acids are not specified, it also contains some calming ingredients such as Willow Bark and Liquorice Root. Basically, the peel is applied to the skin and for me, a burning sensation was felt immediately. Maricia mentioned that I should tell her as soon as the burning stops and, even though it lasted for all of around 3 minutes, it felt like an eternity. I actually remember feeling the different stages of the peel on my face, all of it, a little worse than the last. I definitely wouldn’t recommend this is your skin is super sensitive just because of how much it burns but basically, the high salicylic acid content means that the peel kills microorganisms on the skin which makes it highly effective for acne. The increased exfoliation you get from it results in an increase in cell turnover which in turn, leads to smoother and healthier looking skin.
The burning sensation however, stops just as abruptly as it starts which means that out of the 30-minute session, there is only 3 minutes of discomfort (depending on your skin). My face was a bit inflamed after the treatment but, just like the Azelan Peel, was much smoother and so much more refined than before. Even though the burning was not fun at all, I took comfort in the fact that I could actually feel it working to kill the spots and bacteria in my skin but definitely am not looking forward to having it again next week.
The two peels are really great to do in the workday as, unlike the Dermapen, they both take about 30 minutes and you can apply your normal makeup right after.
My second treatment (which was after the Azelan Peel) was my first Derma-pen from Skin Renewal. I was for some reason quite nervous but was immediately put at ease from a sip of the delicious iced tea and the soothing environment of Skin Renewal that surrounded me (seriously, that place is interior goals!).
My first Dermapen was booked with Maricia which was also what calmed me down a hell of a lot as I was already quite used to her. She started off by cleansing my face and then massaging the anaesthetic cream into the skin for a bit before leaving it to work for 30 minutes. I didn’t have any breakouts on my skin this time (besides for probably two small spots) so it was quite straightforward.
Dermapen, which is by far my favourite treatment to have simply because for about a week after, you can still see the effects working, is basically micro needing that creates multiple incisions into the skin whose concept is based on the skin’s ability to repair itself whenever it encounters physical damage such as cuts, abrasions and other physical trauma. It works by inducing 3 phases inflammation which is wound healing, proliferation (this is the phase where they actually get the collagen to work) and maturation which, pretty obviously is where your skin matures.
I felt quite a bit of a sting on my forehead, nose and temples which is kind of like an elastic band going over your face really fast but that was mainly due to the fact that the skin on those areas are quite thin so it’s not unusual to feel a bit of pain.
Immediately after my first session, I noticed some flaking around the eye area and on my hairline which lasted for about 3 days. My skin was quite dry and Maricia applied Lycogel (which is a medicinal foundation) to my skin to mask the redness and increase healing. It was recommended that I sleep with the makeup on will ensure that the healing process speeds up and that the skin is protected. It felt a bit odd to sleep with such a heavy base of makeup but I found that there was no transfer of the product on my pillow, which was great.
The next morning you are expected to wash it off with a gentle cleanser and then apply the makeup again before putting on your normal makeup. Sun protection is extremely important at this stage because your skin is super sensitive to external factors and naturally, you would be exposed to a ton of sun damage which would result in pigmentation. The best way to explain what your skin feels like for next few days is extreme dryness that not even the most moisturizing cream can help with. I did however keep applying some barrier cream as well as the Avene Tolerance Extreme cream which helped for a bit before I needed to reapply again.
The second Dermapen treatment (which I had last week) was a bit more intense than the first due to the fact that I had a bunch of inflammation and breakouts on my skin for some reason and had to meet with Dr Toni before my therapist Lucinda, could do anything.
Dr Toni noted that I shouldn’t be too worried about having Dermapen while I was breaking out as the treatment would help to stimulate the growth factor in my skin which in turn, would aid in curing and restoring the wounds I already had. She did however warn me that I might have an increase in breakouts after the treatment which would kind of be like my skins way of clearing itself out.
During the second one I only felt pain on my cheekbones and bled a little on the forehead and cheeks due to the stimulating of collagen. I did however find that I after the treatment, I had a burning sensation ad well as an increase in skin sensitivity. I also had some bruising around the mouth, on the chin, cheeks and my left cheekbone. As expected, my face was also a little swollen and puffy and, like the first treatment, was extremely dry. I found that talking too much stinged quite a bit as my skin was really tight (kind of like when you have a clay face mask on that seems to suck the moisture out of your face).
The next day I felt really sensitive to the touch and my skin was still super dry. It started flaking towards the end of the second day which lasted for about a week and made wearing makeup really hard to do. The dryness seemed to increase as the week went by which was made even more tricky by the fact that I was peeling profusely over the cheeks, chin and especially the forehead. I made sure to take some before and after pics of my skin before I had the second treatment and the change is astounding. There is a definite decrease in pigmentation and scarring which I could not be happier about. Unfortunately, I got a few breakouts in the week which are still subsiding but I’m hoping that they don’t cause too much damage to my skin.
Shew… that was probably the longest post I ever had on this blog but I really wanted to share all my experiences with the treatments so that you would know what to expect if you wanted to do this. If you are suffering with any skin issues like I am then I would highly recommend you go to Skin Renewal and have a consultation with the Doctor. It is an extremely wonderful environment to be in and every single person who works there has your best interest at heart.