I’m SO cranky with my pigmentation! Over the years I’ve hit it with everything – laser, lightening creams, Intense Pulsed Light treatments (IPL), only to have the little buggers sneak back onto my skin post-summer. I don’t know how the freckles get there because I’m fastidious with the sun, but somehow, every Autumn, I notice a pesky smattering of pigment paw prints across my nose and up over my cheekbones. IPL is effective but it’s also painful and super expensive, so I was already searching for another option when Dermalogica’s latest innovation pinged into my inbox.
The company has just launched its first ever chemical peel, the Bio Surface Peel. The professional salon-only treatment boasts many skin-brightening and tone-evening benefits but can be used in conjunction with their Powerbright TRx to tackle pigmentation. I love a two-prong approach - professional-grade treatments backed up by home care is always the best way to go. So I promptly book in for a series of four treatments (between three and six is recommended) and order the skincare system - stat.
At my first appointment I fill out a questionnaire, which, among other things, tells my lovely therapist, Charlotte, that I’ve been on antibiotics for an illness (which of course, can affect your skin). She bundles me into the treatment room in a soothing swoop of reassurances.
“The great thing about this peel is you don’t have to walk out looking like Samantha from Sex and the City,” she explains gently. “There are so many progressive ingredients in the peel now so you won’t feel like your skin is burning or stinging."
After applying a blend of essential oils on the soles of my feet to help relax me, Charlotte analyses my skin using a device they call the BT Analyze which measures the amount of moisture in the skin. Surprise, surprise, I'm dehydrated! But Charlotte says she will infuse some plumping hyaluronic acid into my treatment today. After a double cleanse to prep and a quick face-mapping session to see where the problem areas lie, she then paints on each of the peel solutions in layers, giving each time to work, explaining that since I've been on medication we won't do the full four layers of peel today, as I may be too sensitive.
With each layer, I’m to grade my sensation between 1 and 10 – this gives the therapist an idea of how the skin is responding. Charlotte takes notes and adjust the treatment each time I go and will increase the intensity accordingly as you build up to it. The first two layers are fine and the third feels vaguely itchy, but nothing unbearable. The active ingredients include salicylic acid to weaken the keratin bonds (the cell connections), lactic and phytic acids to aid in cell turnover alongside papain and pumpkin enzymes as well as gentle botanical brighteners. The ingredients are in such high concentration that therapists are required to do a full two days training before being allowed to perform the peels.
The final layer, the decelerator halts the exfoliation process with a soothing cocktail of cucumber, green Tea, and oat leaf extract to calm and comforting the skin. Over the next few days, I use the Bio Surface Peel After Care Kit (complimentary with your first treatment) and, while apparently some people get a little flaky skin, I don’t notice any, just the feeling that my skin is a bit more rough than usual and a slight darkening of the pigmentation.
By day four, my skin is smoother than my toddler son’s velvet-soft tummy. Makeup slips on like a dream and I notice an all over brightening and evening.
On day five, I switch to the Powerbright TRX skincare system. The C-12 Pure Bright Serum packs a potent punch of peptides and botanical extracts that help inhibit the production of melanin in my skin that leads to pigmentation, while the Pure Light SPF 50 is a feather light day moisturizer with an SPF50 sunscreen that melts on instantly and doesn't leave that weird white mask that some factor fifties do. It’s also pumped up with hyaluronic acid to tackle the dehydration issue I seem to have. Pure Night is my night time dream cream that contains known pigment puncher Vitamin C along with superstar Oligopeptide-34 to keep the melanin to a minimum.
I return weekly for my peels for the next three weeks and by the end of it all, I’ve definitely noticed a reduction in my pigmentation. It’s not as dramatic (or painful) as IPL but it certainly got the bulk of it. And the plus side is my skin is in better shape all-round. It’s hydrated, plump and glowy and if I chose to wear makeup (which I’m feeling less inclined to do now) it sits beautifully on the skin.