my first chemical peel & microdermabrasion

August 12, 2010

During my two weeks off I got pretty used to not wearing makeup. When you’re in the hospital for three days and then don’t leave the house for the next week there’s really no need for it. Through this I discovered something very important about myself: I hate putting on makeup. For that matter, I hate blow-drying my hair and styling it too, but that’s a topic for a different day.

I’m at the point in my life where I want to minimize things that don’t make me happy, and I’m making a big push for a simpler lifestyle. Now, I’m not willing to go completely bare-faced in public, but I decided to take steps that might allow me to one day do just that.

Enter Groupon. Y’all know about Groupon, right? For those of you that don’t, let me share the good news: just sign up and they’ll email you a deal a day for your city. But be careful, it’s addicting. Anyway, recently the deal for Houston was $40 for $85 worth of skin care services at Body Envy. Since I’d always wanted to try microdermabrasion I figured I might as well get it for cheap!

Last week I went in for a free consultation, and I talked with the esthetician about what the best treatment for my skin would be. Usually microdermabrasion is done in a package of once a month for 6 months, but since I’m cheap I only wanted a single session. So the esthetician recommended that I get a mild chemical peel on top of the microdermabrasion, which would penetrate deeper and give me more bang for my buck. Great idea! I thought.

Two days later I was back for my treatment. She cleaned my face twice, then came the microderm. She used a little machine to remove the very surface layer of skin. It stung a little in places, like near my ear and under my eyes, but it goes fast. When that was done she applied a prep for the chemical peel, and that burned like crazy. I had to fan myself and practice deep breathing techniques, but the worst soon passed. The peel itself (lactic acid) wasn’t as bad as the prep, but it wasn’t a walk in the park, either. She left it there for three minutes or so, then wiped it off with a warm towel and applied a neutralizer. After the whole thing, she put on some lotion and powdered sunscreen, gave me some samples, and taught me what to do at home for the next week.

Right away my face looked mildly puffy, but it subsided after a couple hours.

Not too bad, right? I was warned that because of the combination treatment that I might have a few little scratches on my face, but the next day I woke up to discover this:

For several days I looked like I had an unfortunate run-in with an angry cat. This is pretty much what I looked like when I returned to work, and I got a lot of questions. Mostly, “What happened to your face?” but there were also some assumptions like, “Did you fall?” and “Did your husband beat you?” Just kidding, that’s just David’s paranoia. ;)

It’s been almost a week, and although I can still feel a few rough spots the worst of it is gone.

Supposedly I’ll see the most improvement in my skin after a month or so. I can already tell that it looks clearer and more even than before, and I’m hopeful that it will decrease my need for makeup. Even though it wasn’t the most pleasant process, I really recommend it. One day I’d love to do a deeper peel, but it’ll have to be at a time that I can stay at home for a couple of weeks, because I don’t want to go in public looking like I have a disease.

As far as makeup I wear currently, I’ll put on a touch of concealer if I have a blemish, Colorescience Sunforgettable powdered sunscreen spf 30, Bare Minerals powdered foundation spf 15, a little Nars Madly blush if I’m going out, and mascara (currently Maybelline Lash Stilleto, but it changes). I’m on the hunt for an all-natural blush and mascara. I ditched eyeliner and eye shadow because that was the most annoying part for me, but right now I don’t ever see myself giving up mascara.

Here I am today, ready to head to work:

From this picture I see that I’ll have to work on those eye wrinkles (getting old!) and I could probably use some lip gloss!

Now your turn. Have you had experience with microderm or chemical peels? What do you think about reducing the amount of beauty products and makeup you use? Any recommendations you’d like to share?

Posted in: personal, me, style

Comments on my first chemical peel & microdermabrasion

  1. 1

    From Rae:

    You’re braver than I with the chemical peel!

    I share your dislike of spending time on hair and makeup to the extent that this morning I was contemplating the possibility of shaving my head and wearing a wig in order to get out of blow drying and straightening!

    I think that reducing the amount of beauty products one uses is a good thing (we Americans are a bit excessive imo) but I am stuck on foundation, mascara, and eyeshadow when working/caring about how I look in public.

  2. 2

    From Chelsea:

    I considered telling you that microdermabrasion and chemicals peels make your face look bad for a few days but I didn’t want to be Debbie Downer!

    DON’T do anything to your eye wrinkles. Eye wrinkles are the best!! They show happiness and character. I loooove them!

  3. 3

    From kapachino:

    Yay eye wrinkles!!

    I knew that my face would look bad for a few days, but I wasn’t expecting it to be quite like this! Still, it was worth it.

  4. 4

    From C:

    I’m with you on minimizing stuff like that. I guess I just don’t really care anymore. In college I would do my eye makeup all the time. Now all I do is concealer under my eyes (horrible hereditary dark circles…without concealer I look like I have black eyes), and Bare Minerals powder foundation with Mineral Veil on the top. Sometimes I will use mascara but mostly I don’t mess with it, and I have very light and thin lashes. I just got used to my appearance without it. I honestly doubt if anyone else really notices. I use lip balm and maybe occasionally lip gloss if I remember.

  5. 5

    From Leslie:

    Wow – thanks for the pics! I’ve been wanting to try a peel so it’s great to see what to expect! The last pic of you is super cute!

  6. 6

    From kapachino:

    My pleasure! FYI, the scratches are from the microderm and only showed up because I got the chemical peel on top of it. My peel was pretty mild!

  7. 7

    From Spring:

    Ahh! You look so beautiful. I was worried when you said you were getting combined microderm AND a peel, but I’m glad it turned out alright. Those scratches, I would guess, are from the microderm and not the peel.

    I didn’t have enough room on Twitter to tell you the reason why I got so many peels. I had terrible cystic acne before my wedding, and the dermo wanted to put me on Accutane, but I didn’t want to risk it so close to the wedding, so we did bimonthly chemical peels for the weeks leading up to the wedding. Just as soon as my face would stop peeling I’d get another peel. It hurt like hell, and I pretty much always looked awful, but it did beautiful things for my skin, and it definitely took care of the acne, though it wasn’t a long-term solution. I went on Accutane after the wedding and haven’t had any problems since.

  8. 8

    From kapachino:

    Thanks Spring! The scratches are definitely from the microderm, and they wouldn’t have showed up except that I got the peel on top of it. My peel was the mildest one, so I don’t know if I would have noticed much if I’d gotten it on its own.

    I don’t have acne but I do get minor breakouts, and I’m hoping this will take care of them for awhile. I’ve heard that peels are great for acne scars. You look flawless in every picture I’ve ever seen of you, though. :)

  9. 9

    From steph anne:

    Okay…you’ve got me convinced I should do this. Maybe I’ll get over the pain I’m afraid of and just do it! The only make up I wear is mascara, eyeshadow & eyeliner…basically the eye works.

  10. 10

    From Vanessa:

    Chemical peels scare the bejeesus out of me! Maybe I’m fortunate to actually enjoy the morning makeup routine?

    Nice blog, BTW. :)

  11. 11

    From kapachino:

    My peel was really mild, a great introduction to them. You’re really lucky that you like the morning routine though!

    Nice to meet you. :)

  12. 12

    From Amanda:

    I’ve always wondered about chemical peels, and now I know! I don’t wear a lot of make-up either, and would love clearer skin. Try Aveda’s mascara, it’s $20, but if that’s the most important then I find it’s worth it. Thanks for sharing your experience, and the follow on Twitter ;) Looking forward to more from you!

  13. 13

    From kapachino:

    Thanks for the mascara recommendation! That’ll be my next one to try. Glad to meet you!

  14. 14

    From Uncle David:

    You don’t need makeup. You are a natural beauty. Love you.
    Uncle David

  15. 15

    From Elizabeth:

    You look radiant! I may be goofy, but I love eye wrinkles–to me they’re a sign of a life well laughed. As for makeup, I rarely wear it, so it lasts for years. I splurge a little with Origins because perfume and scents drive me nuts.

  16. 16

    From Nora:

    I’ve done a chemical peel before and I really liked it; I haven’t done the microdermabrasion thing. It kind of scares me to think about it but if the results work… I really love getting facials and treat myself to one every six to eight weeks (but I guess if I go regularly it’s not such a treat. ha.)

  17. 17

    From Maggie Peroni:

    I have been using Colorscience for years. Mineral is the way to go, so natural and light. I think they make blush too.

  18. 18

    From Amber:

    Hi, I’m here via Taryn. I’ve never done microdermabrasion, but I used to have TCA peels every month in a dermatologist’s office because my face suddenly went crazy in my mid-20s. Loved the results. When I moved to Texas I started using at-home peels instead of finding a new doctor. I love Peter Thomas Roth’s Unwrinkle pads. I have looked at the ingredients of a lot of at-home peels and I’m convinced that this is one of the best. Obviously it’s gentler than an office-visit peel, but you could use them every day and still come out way ahead on cash. I have pretty sensitive skin so I do 3x/week on face, hands, and chest.

    I also use a retinol product. My derm was in her 60s and told me she was using retin-A for wrinkle prevention, but again, when I moved I wanted to try something I could get over the counter. Dermadoctor’s Poetry in Lotion is one of the highest-concentration retinol products that you can just walk into a store and buy, and it is awesome. It does make me a little too rosy so I mostly just use it after the peels. Between that and the peels, things are awesome. And no scratches on my face. ;) (Sorry for the longest comment ever!)

  19. 19

    From kapachino:

    So nice to meet you! I’m so excited that you mentioned at-home peels. I didn’t even know they had those! TCA peels are the deeper peel my esthetician recommended, and I’d love to do one someday. But I will definitely check out the Unwrinkle pads, and I should probably look into the retinol as well. Not as young as I used to be. ;)

  20. 20

    From dadman:


    those expressions you have on your face are priceless. I was chuckling while reading. And I vote to keep the eye wrinkles.

  21. 21

    From Lauren From Texas:

    You are SO pretty. I used to have chemical peels/microderm in college (how I afforded it, I will never know) to attempt to treat acne without medication. It didn’t do a whole lot. Now that I’m on meds for it, microderm might really help, but alas, I don’t want to spend the money on it. Oh well, one day. :)

  22. 22

    From Michele:

    I just had my first microderm treatment today, and noticed little scratches on my chin tonight… so I went searching online for some answers. I see that this is a little old, but I was wondering if you’ve gone back for more? Sure hoping I don’t wake up to more prominent scratches in the morning. Thank you for posting on this :)

  23. 23

    From kapachino:

    I never did go back for more! I had a coupon for one treatment and couldn’t afford to do more. I wish I could’ve, because it would definitely be more effective. I think the reason my scratches got as bad as they did was the combination of the chemical peel on top of the microderm.

  24. 24

    From M.A.H.:

    Thanks for posting this! I found your page when I was searching for scratches on face because I got a less intensive treatment with a facial spatula that’s supposed to work like microderm, and afterwards I was left with scratches on my face. Did you treat the scratches or did they just fade on their own?

  25. 25

    From kapachino:

    They just faded on their own! I’m sure you could treat them, but I was too nervous. :)

  26. 26

    From Luis Polanco:

    Wow you are gorgeous! At our office in Miami, FL we do diamond tip microdermabrasion and people love the results. Ive gotten it done and it absolutely softens my skin. I love getting it on my forehead, around the eyes and around the mouth because it softens wrinkles too.

  27. 27

    From Cherri Flournoy:

    Help!! I was searching the same things I had the microdermbrasion and gycholic chemical done in the same day. It burned so bad and the next morning I woke up to scratches on my face. I am African American so the scars look 10times worse than yours. This is day 3 for me and it seems to be getting worse. I contacted the lady who services and she claim its normal. I’m afraid becausebI go back to work soon. When I use sunblock it still burns. I’m so nervous can someone help me?

  28. 28

    From Lia:

    I tried an at home microderm and and I have deep red scrapes all over my face! Has anyone else experienced this? Advise on how to heal it?

  29. 29

    From Danielle Lipski:

    Thank you for your post! I just did both together and my scratches look the same as yours in the picture. I didn’t think this was normal and slightly freaked out but your post showed me it’s actually quite common. I’ve just been dousing my face in vitamin e oil in hopes to heal the scratches faster. Thanks again!

  30. 30

    From Maeva:

    Wow thanks so much for posting this,it has helped relieve some of the concerns I was having about my similar experience. I bought a online voucher myself to get a micro derm and peel. While getting it all done my beautician told me it was normal for there to be discomfort so I sat through the quick bursts of pain. It’s only been a day since getting that done and I have all these scratches on my face and was mortified. I had to do a google search to see if this was relieved and glad to have stumbled across your blog. It’s so comforting to know someone else has had a similar experience but that it’s turned out for the best. Thanks X

  31. 31

    From Glenda's Note:

    Well I am shocked when I saw this post address, Groupon made you a masochist. Lol

    I can feel what you feel Kapachino, but that’s better than microdermabrasion crystal. I believe you are using a diamond tip right? It is safer for our skin but we have to be patient for couple days and it is worth it. Just for note, maybe you should consider to try it at home. It will help you to save more money.



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