Peruse the shelves of any drugstore and you’ll find a multitude of skin care products that offer ‘hope in a jar.’ Microdermabrasion, which uses minute crystals to exfoliate the skin, has been a popular treatment at spas and salons for many years, but it may not be the most effective choice for everyone.
“I own a microdermabrasion machine, and it has sat on a shelf for years,” says facial plastic surgeon Dr. Tamara Ehlert. “I found, after using it for awhile, that I could actually provide better treatment for my patients with light skin peels that are specifically tailored to their skin type.”
Ehlert meets with every new patient for a comprehensive skin assessment. “In my office, no one can even have a light skin peel if they have not seen me first. Just because something is called ‘light’ doesn’t mean it’s low impact, and it also doesn’t mean that every procedure is right for everyone. We offer 20 different light peels.” Although it’s a common ingredient in some procedures and products, Ehlert does not use products with glycolic acid. “It’s very irritating to some people. Gentle, sophisticated skin peels can be very effective, without the redness, dryness and irritation that you get from a glycolic acid peel.”
The most requested peels, says Ehlert, are the oxygenating peel and the rosacea peel. “Many patients refer to the rosacea peel as ‘a party peel’ because your skin just looks wonderful—glowing and firm—so it’s great just before a special event. Both are high in antioxidants, and increase blood flow that helps the skin get rid of toxins.”
The benefits of light peels appeal to people of all ages, says Ehlert. “It just depends on what your skin type is. I have 85-year-olds with very fragile, delicate skin but it’s beautiful because they’ve been doing these peels for years. I have teenagers with acne who love them because it really does help acne, but of course they get a totally different peel, personalized for their skin.” Smokers, in particular, benefit greatly from an oxygenating peel, she adds, because it improves the blood flow to the skin, which can be dull and gray-looking from smoke traveling across the surface of the skin.
At Inside Out Wellness in Clayton, the most requested procedure is the HydraFacial. “My patients love it, says owner Zack LaBoube. “So do I! I have it done every two weeks.” Instead of the crystals used for microdermabrasion, the process uses serums to combine cleansing, exfoliation, extraction, hydration and antioxidant protection, he explains. “It’s a non-invasive, non-surgical procedure that delivers instant results, without downtime. There’s no discomfort—in fact, it’s very soothing and moisturizing.”
The HydraFacial treatment, LaBoube explains, can improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, congested and enlarged pores, oily or acne-prone skin, hyperpigmentation and brown spots. “It’s suitable for most skin types, including thin or aging skin and ethnic complexions. It fits in well with our holistic approach to health, wellness and anti-aging.” LN