Peel Away Pimples

Last Friday morning I woke up to a rather unpleasant surprise: a chin full of giant blemishes that seemed to appear out of nowhere. With a weekend jam-packed with holiday parties, I needed to eliminate these pimples and fast.

Before I got dressed to go to work, I spent nearly an hour applying and reapplying layer upon layer of drying lotion, an acne mask and Differin, which I also use every night to prevent pimples from forming. Even though I had high hopes for my homemade concoction, it didn't work and Laura Mercier concealer can only hide so much.

With a mod-inspired sequin mini dress hanging in my closet for a HUGE holiday party the next night, I needed the perfect accessory-clear skin! When I arrived for my pre-party mani/pedi, I asked my aesthetician at the salon what she could do to help me out. Since I had been using a retinoid (which is a major no-no before getting a peel since it can really dry you out), she suggested a light application of a glycolic peel.

After gently cleansing my skin, and explaining that I had cystic acne (aka hard, large pimples that can be painful), she applied the peel to my face with a cotton swab. Although the peel was only on my skin for about 90 seconds, it stung and burned so badly that tears began to stream down my face. To soothe the burning, she applied an antiseptic cooling gel, which instantly worked and supposedly helps kill bacteria living on the skin. After letting that sit for a few minutes, she wiped my face with a cool, damp washcloth and advised me to keep my skin free of acne medicine and products for at least two days and to use a light moisturizer to prevent my skin from peeling any worse than it was going to. I was also told to steer clear of the sun since it could cause my skin to burn and blister.

Nearly 24 hours later my skin had cleared up dramatically! I couldn't believe how powerful the peel was. Even though I had to use makeup to cover up what still remained of my pimples, they were much less noticeable than the day before. Since then, I have vowed to get a peel once every other month to keep my skin in tip-top shape and go straight to the dermatologist or my facialist the next time my skin erupts rather than trying to treat it myself.