Still, the diluted lactic acid and TCA are the tried-andtrue, game-changing ingredients. Lactic acid peels have actually been around forever. It has been said that Cleopatra bathed in milk for its restorative properties. She didn’t know it, but she was giving herself a peel since lactic acid is derived from sour milk. The acid helps to maintain the skin’s pH level, exfoliate dead cells, and smooth the skin.
It’s also gentler than glycolic acid, so it’s less irritating to sensitive skin. And in a peel, it requires less downtime. TCA, usually diluted to 6 percent, helps to generate new skin cells and encourage collagen growth and alignment— which means it can correct fine lines and wrinkles. Now that you know what’s in the peel, here’s how it’s done: Before the treatment, our estheticians exfoliate the skin with a process called dermaplaning, which increases the effectiveness of the peel. Then they apply the diluted acid solution.
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It’s painless, except for a slight tingling sensation you’ll feel while the acid is on your skin. The procedure takes 40 minutes, and other than transient redness, the only sign of having had the treatment is glowing, healthy-looking skin. As with any peel, immediate sun exposure is prohibited, and sunblock must be used daily. Best results are achieved when the peel is repeated once a month for three to six months because each peel builds on the previous one. By the end, you’re left with skin that feels smoother as well as reduced pores, dark spots, and wrinkles— without pain or downtime. What could be better?
Gerald Imber, M.D., is a renowned plastic surgeon to the stars, an author, and a teacher. He heads a private clinic in New York City and is affiliated with the Weill-Cornell Medical College. Imber is cited by Castle Connolly and U.S. News as among the top 1 percent of plastic surgeons in the country. His philosophy, “The Youth Corridor,” is defined as the period of life when you look your healthy, youthful best. His book of the same name can be purchased at amazon .com and is also available at Books for iPad including instructional videos.