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Chemical peels can help your skin look younger and smoother, but chemical peel recovery can take time.

According to a 2018 study, chemical peels are the third most commonly performed non-invasive cosmetic procedure in the U.S., with over 1.3 million procedures performed in 2016. Nearly all peeling agents are safe and effective.

Still, no matter how good your chemical peel is, you’re likely to experience some side effects that will require post-peel treatment. Here, we examine how you can make your recovery easier and increase the likelihood that you’ll be happy with the results.

What is a Chemical Peel?

A chemical peel is a technique used to improve the appearance of your skin, usually on your face, but you can also perform it on your neck and hands.

The idea is to get rid of the old dead skin cells on the surface of the skin so that the newer, younger cells can emerge from underneath. The regenerated skin typically looks smoother, younger, and more radiant than the old skin did.

To achieve this updated look, you (or your dermatologist) apply a chemical solution to the skin that helps exfoliate it. That chemical solution causes trauma or injury to the skin’s layers, forcing them to peel away and reveal more youthful skin underneath.

There are three basic types of chemical peels:

Superficial or light peel

This peel uses alpha-hydroxy and other mild acids to penetrate the outer layer of skin and gently slough away old, dead skin cells. It helps to improve mild discoloration and rough skin and gives your appearance a nice pick-me-up.

Recovery takes between a few hours to a few days, depending on the chemicals used. The skin may appear red or be slightly irritated. You can repeat the procedure every 2-5 weeks.

Medium peel

This is a more aggressive peel and uses glycolic or trichloroacetic acid to penetrate the outer layer and part of the middle layer of the skin. It removes dead and damaged skin cells and can help improve the look of age spots, fine lines and wrinkles, freckles, and moderate hyperpigmentation. It can also smooth rough skin.

Recovery takes between 7-14 days. Skin will be red and swollen for the first 48 hours or so. Blisters may form and break, and skin will crust and peel off within a couple of weeks. You can repeat the procedure if needed after a few months.

Deep peel

The most aggressive of the three, this peel uses trichloroacetic acid or phenol to penetrate the outer and middle layers of the skin even more deeply than a medium peel. It helps to remove moderate lines, age spots, freckles, and shallow scars and may help treat precancerous growths. This peel can produce a dramatic improvement, but recovery will take longer.

Expect 14-21 days for healing. The treated area will need to be bandaged and the skin soaked four to six times daily for the first 14 days. Patients must avoid all sun exposure for 3-6 months after this sort of peel. A repeat procedure is usually not recommended.

Why Is Chemical Peel Recovery Necessary?

Except for the very mild chemical peels, most produce some side effects on the skin. The most common include:

  • Redness: Since a peel removes some of the skin, it will likely be red and irritated.
  • Swelling: That removal of the upper and potentially middle layers of the skin can cause swelling as the immune system works to heal the “injury.”
  • Scabbing: As part of the normal healing process, the skin may scab over the “injured” areas for a time.
  • Scarring: Sometimes, a peel can cause scarring, typically on the lower part of the face.
  • Changes in skin color: Though not common, a chemical peel can cause the treated area of the skin to turn darker or lighter than usual. These changes are more common in people of color and can be permanent.
  • Infection: Usually after a medium or deep peel, your dermatologist will prescribe antibiotics to help you avoid an infection. With the removal of the dead skin cells, the skin becomes vulnerable to bacterial, fungal, or viral invaders.

7 Ways to Make Chemical Peel Recovery Easier

How you care for your skin after a peel can make a big difference in your results.

We suggest the following 7 steps to help your skin heal quickly and thoroughly.

Restorative Skin Balm Chemical Peel1. Stay Away from the Sun and the Heat

Your skin will be fragile after a peel, particularly if you get a medium or deep peel. If you expose those new, young cells to the sun, you risk permanent scarring and damage to the skin. Therefore you must take all the precautions necessary to avoid sun exposure until your skin is completely healed. That includes staying indoors, using hats and umbrellas, and applying sunscreen.

Extremely hot showers and excessive sweating can also rush the peeling process and may result in scarring. So it’s best to use only lukewarm (or cool) water and to take it easy with your workouts while your skin is healing.

2. Use Cold Compresses

If your skin is swollen after a peel, use cold compresses to ease the swelling and discomfort. A soft cloth immersed in cool water is best—avoid placing ice directly on the affected area. Soaking your skin in cool water can also help and is often advised after medium or deep peels.

We also recommend using our Rescue + Relief Spray as needed. It helps soothe redness and tame inflammation without you having to touch the sensitive areas, reducing your risk of infection. Ingredients like valerian and comfrey also produce calm while providing anti-inflammatory benefits.

If you store this spray in the refrigerator, it will feel cool and refreshing on your skin and will give you instant, hydrating relief.

3. Apply Skim Balms and Ointments

When your skin has gone through the trauma of a chemical peel, it typically needs more than just your normal moisturizer. Your dermatologist may recommend an ointment or cream that will help keep the skin moist while it heals. Moisture is critical to smooth healing and can help you avoid scabbing and scarring.

We recommend our Restorative Skin Balm as a healing balm post peel. It’s an all-natural, petroleum-free balm that contains vitamin E to aid in wound healing as well as beeswax to safeguard the moisture barrier. Seabukthorn oil and arnica provide antioxidants that help heal and regenerate skin.

Our customers love that this balm encourages faster restoration of healthy skin for a speedy recovery!

4. Don’t Pick!

Your skin may peel after a few days. No matter how tempted you are, it’s critical not to pick or pull at your peeling skin or scabs. If you do so, you could increase your risk of infection or scarring. Instead, simply apply moisture to those areas.

Calming Moisture Chemical Peel5. Moisturize More Than Usual

The best way to aid your skin in recovering from a peel or any cosmetic procedure is to step up your hydration. Rather than moisturizing only in the morning and before bed, you should moisturize every two hours, particularly if you had a medium or deep peel.

Indeed, it’s not uncommon to moisturize 10-20 times a day after a cosmetic procedure. For a light peel, it’s best to moisturize at least one extra time per day for a week.

Moisture helps the skin regenerate more evenly and will reduce your risk of hard scabs and scars. You can use the Restorative Skin Balm we mentioned above, or in between balm applications, use our Calming Moisture to smooth and camouflage the peeling areas. Make sure you’re using a moisturizing, creamy cleanser as well.

6. Hydrate Hydrate!

While you’re applying balm and moisturizer to the surface of your skin, it’s important to stay hydrated inside too. A chemical peel can be like a burn to the skin, and your skin will react by pulling moisture from the deeper layers to heal. You need to replenish that moisture from the inside out by drinking water throughout the day.

7. Wait Before Using Makeup

Though you can probably use makeup a day after a superficial peel without repercussions, for more serious peels it will be best to avoid makeup at least for the first few days. With a medium peel, you’ll want to wait 5-7 days, and with a deep peel, at least 14 days.

Applying makeup too soon can irritate your skin and may increase your risk of infection. Whenever you go back to using makeup, make sure your brushes have been cleaned and that you’re using newer products that are less likely to be contaminated with bacteria.

Talk to Us About Your Cosmetic Surgery Recovery

If you’ve gone through a cosmetic procedure like a chemical peel and you have questions, feel free to contact our skin care specialists. They can help recommend products that may speed up your healing as well as techniques to tame inflammation and swelling.

How do you speed recovery after a chemical peel?

Featured photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels.

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10 tips to make it easier

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The natural hair movement has led to many women of color embracing their natural curls and coils. For several decades, many women with curly and kinky hair types opted to use chemical relaxers to straighten out their locks. While there’s no shame in the relaxed hair game, many women with curly hair are now finding themselves rocking their hair just as it grows from their scalp. Here’s a few tips on how to transition to natural hair.

How to transition to your natural hair

Why should you transition to natural hair?

Everyone has different reasons for transitioning to natural hair. For some women, embracing natural hair is a political statement, while for others, embracing natural curls and coils is a method of hair repair. It might be a good idea to transition if you have experienced damage due to using excessive heat or chemical relaxers on your hair. Or you just might want a break from styling your hair on a day-to day-basis, in which case protective styles may be the perfect fit for you. Transitioning to natural hair takes time and patience. Here are 10 tips to help you to achieve healthy natural hair.

10 steps to transition to your natural hair

1. Determine your hair density

Many women make the mistake of getting overly hung up on their hair types, and don’t familiarize themselves with their hair density. While the hair typing system is useful in that it provides basic insight on your curl texture, it is only the first step in choosing the best hair products to get you started on your healthy natural hair journey. Once you determine your hair density, you will have a wide range of specific products to choose from for your hair type.

Hair density refers to the amount of hair strands and cuticles that your hair is comprised of.

How to transition to your natural hair

If your hair is made up of thinner strands, then you have low density hair. Moreover, if after washing your hair, you can easily see your scalp, you have low density hair. Volumizing shampoos, conditioners and styling products are the perfect option for healthy low density hair. 

If you have medium density hair, you can probably guess that your hair strands fall in between thick and thin. While this hair density is the harder of the three to determine, if you can see your scalp after parting it, then you have medium density hair. Medium density hair thrives with both volumizing and softening products such as creams, butters and gels.

Last, but certainly not least, if you have high density hair, you have thick hair strands and you have to work a little harder to see your scalp. Products such as creams, butters and gels are a must-have in your hair regimen if you have high density hair.

2. Determine your hair porosity

Once you have determined your hair density, the next most important step when transitioning to natural hair is figuring out your hair porosity. Hair porosity refers to your hair’s ability to absorb moisture.

Low porosity hair is made up of tightly packed cuticles of hair. If water tends to sit on top of your hair when wet, this means you have low porosity hair. Because low porosity hair is so resistant to water, it must be washed more frequently to prevent product buildup. Jojoba and coconut oils are perfect for naturalistas with water-resistant low porosity hair.  

How to transition to your natural hair
Medium porosity hair requires significantly less styling effort, as the hair cuticles aren’t packed together super tightly or significantly separated from each other. Luckily, if you have medium porosity hair, you can pick up pretty much any styling products formulated for natural hair.

High porosity hair is typically damaged and highly separated from the cuticle. This usually occurs when hair is damaged due to excessive use of hair dyes and chemical relaxers. High porosity hair struggles to maintain moisture. If you have high porosity hair, you should use products such as leave-in conditioners, moisturizers and sealants.

If you’re still confused on which hair porosity you have, the tried and true ‘H2O Test’ will give you the answers you need. Simply pour a glass of lukewarm water and place a clean strand of your hair into the glass. If your hair sits at the top of the glass, you have low porosity hair. If your hair sinks to the middle of the glass you have medium porosity hair. And you guessed it – if your hair sinks to the bottom of the glass, you have high porosity hair.  

3. Use little to no heat

Excessive heat can lead to extremely dry hair, especially during winter months and may cause long-lasting damage to your curl texture. Type 4 hair textures are particularly drier than other hair textures and too much heat can strip your outside protective hair layers of the keratin proteins that it needs to be healthy.

How to transition to your natural hair

4. Wear hair extensions

We may be a little biased here, but wearing hair extensions is a great way to protect your natural hair when you’re transitioning.

Clip-in hair extensions, wigs and sew-ins give you a reprieve from the time-consuming hair styling that often comes with being a naturalista. Simply leave out the front portion of your hair when wearing hair extensions and braid the remainder of your hair for optimal protection. Use the front section of your hair or “leave out” to cover the wefts of your extensions.

The best part about wearing clip-in hair extensions is that they aren’t permanent. When you’re a naturalista who rocks clip-ins, after a long day, you can simply unclip them and moisturize and massage your scalp before you go to bed every night. Moisturizing and massaging your scalp on a daily and/or nightly basis stimulates hair growth. One of our favorite hair-growth stimulating oils is the Tropic Isle Living Jamaican Black Castor Oil.

5. Regularly trim your hair

As we mentioned earlier, using excessive heat or chemical treatments such as relaxers can cause damage to your hair that can last for years if not treated properly. While hair obviously grows from the roots and not the ends,  trimming your hair gradually helps to get rid of damaged hair strands. We recommend trimming your hair monthly at the bare minimum, which will allow for your curly hair strands to grow back.

After a fresh trim, you will immediately notice that your hair actually looks fuller and thicker from root to tip, without all the unhealthy, thinning strands.

Top tier Deva Certified Stylist, Emily Weiser advises to consider the “big chop,” which refers to cutting off practically all your hair and rocking a super short cut, if your curl pattern has been severely damaged by chemical relaxers or heat.

6. Protect your hair when sleeping

Protecting your hair while sleeping is a crucial part of the natural hair care process. Cotton pillowcases often dry out natural hair, especially if you are one who tends to toss and turn at night.

This is precisely why you should opt to wear a silk scarf, headband or bonnet to protect your hair while you sleep. You should also consider swapping out that cotton pillowcase for a silk one. While these sleep accessories do not always sound like the most glamorous options, you will be rewarded when you wake up with sleek and soft locks.

7. Develop a moisturizing regimen

No matter what curl type you may have, developing a robust moisturizing regimen is the key to achieving healthy natural hair. The drier your hair is, the more susceptible it is to breakage, therefore you should develop a routine that will allow you to retain your hair growth.

Popular methods such as the LCO (liquid, cream, oil) or and LOC (liquid, oil, cream) methods are two effective ways to care for low and high porosity hair respectively. Popularized by natural hair online influencers, both methods provide textured hair with the hydration it needs. The difference between the efficacy of the two methods all boils down to the order in which you apply them.

How to transition to your natural hair
The LCO Method (Liquid, Cream, Oil Method): While the order in which you apply these products to your hair may seem insignificant, it makes all the world of difference. In the LCO Method, you must first apply a liquid in the form of water or a water-based product to your hair. Next, apply a moisturizing cream (which also contains water) which helps to lock in the hydration in your hair. Finally, apply a natural oil to your hair. We recommend the LCO Method to those who have low porosity hair.

The LOC Method (Liquid, Oil, Cream Method): The LOC method consists of first, applying a liquid such as water or a water-based product to your hair. The next step is sealing the product into your hair with oil. Finally, apply a butter or cream to seal the product into your hair. The LOC Method is perfect for those with high porosity hair.

8. Detangle on a regular basis

Because textured hair is so curly, it is inevitably prone to some degree of tangling. This is why an essential practice in the natural hair regimen is to regularly detangle your hair.

Textured hair types are again more prone to breakage, which is why we recommend detangling your hair only when wet, which makes wash days the perfect time to detangle. On wash days, section off your hair and apply a “pre-poo” or pre-shampoo treatment to your hair such as the African Pride Moisture Miracle Aloe & Coconut Water Pre-Shampoo. This will help to detangle and moisturize your hair prior to shampooing, which will help to cut down your wash time. Seamlessly brush out your tangles with our Loop Brush for soft, knot-free hair.

How to transition to your natural hair

9. Consider using perm rods

Perm rods are the perfect training wheels for those who are newly transitioning to natural hair. Simply section off your hair and roll each perm rod from your ends all the way up to your roots to achieve bouncy, voluminous curls. Once you’ve rolled rods around your entire head, wrap a silk scarf around your hair and let it set for eight to 10 hours. Once taken down, finger comb your hair with a little moisturizer for a more effortless look.

“In terms of transitioning from relaxer to natural hair, the use of perm rods are helpful to match textures,” Weiser explains. 

How to transition to your natural hair

10. Track your progress

Tracking your progress along the natural hair transition journey is the best way to know what practices are working and what needs to be changed. We recommend keeping a hair journal, putting calendar reminders on your phone and regularly taking pictures to track hair growth and health.

Transitioning to natural hair can be challenging, but will prove rewarding if you follow these steps and track your progress along the way. Weiser advises to be patient, kind to yourself and ready for one of the most liberating experiences of your life when transitioning to natural hair.

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Written by: Ashley Inkumsah

 

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Are you thinking of transitioning your hair? Many hair experts recommend going for “The Big Chop”, also known as cutting off all of your hair. But if this isn’t for you, follow these tips for transitioning hair.

Transitioning from Relaxed to Natural Hair Without The Big Chop: 6 Tips

1. Choose Transitioning Hairstyles for Beginners

If you choose to transition your hair without The Big Chop, you’ll need to choose some transitioning hairstyles for beginners. The best transitioning hairstyles blend your natural and relaxed texture, and they’re easy enough to do at home. Some ideas for transitioning from relaxed to natural hairstyles:

    • Heatless curls created with rods or curlers
    • Bantu knots
    • Braids
    • Extensions
    • Twist outs
    • Bun or chignon

Hop onto your favorite video platform and follow a few step-by-step tutorials for transitioning hairstyles for beginners. As you gain more experience with transitioning hairstyles, you can try more complicated hairstyles.

And if you want to take a break from styling your hair, try a wig. Just make sure that you wear a wig cap to prevent breakage!

Transitioning Hair Tip #2: Wash Hair Less

2. Adjust Your Hair Washing Routine

As you grow out your natural hair, you’ll also want to shampoo your hair less. Shampooing your hair every day can dry out your hair and scalp, leading to brittle locks and irritation. Instead, try shampooing your roots one to two times per week. In between shampoos, you can wash hair using conditioner and warm water only.

3. Learn More About Natural Hair Care

There is a lot of knowledge to absorb when it comes to natural hair care, so take this transitioning hair period to educate yourself. Watch videos, read blog posts, and talk to curly hairstylists to learn how to best care for your natural hair. Once you’ve fully made the transition to natural hair, you’ll be prepared!

Avoid heat tools when transitioning hair from relaxed to natural texture.

4. Avoid Heat Styling

It can be tempting to break out the curling iron or the straightener to achieve a uniform hair texture. However, applying heat to hair can leave it dry and brittle (and prone to breakage) – definitely not what you’re looking for when you’re growing out your natural hair texture. Instead, try heatless hair styling techniques!

5. Follow Your Own Natural Hair Transition Timeline

Everyone’s natural hair transition timeline is different. You may wait three months before cutting off your relaxed ends, or you might wait eight months. The bottom line? Do what feels right for you.

the best products to transition relaxed hair to natural

6. Use Best Products for Transitioning from Relaxed Hair to Natural Hair

As your hair transitions, keep a hair journal to track which products and styles work best for your hair. A make sure to use the best products for transitioning from relaxed hair to natural hair, which include:

Hair Growth Supplements

To promote healthy hair growth, make sure you’re eating a balanced diet that includes plenty of lean proteins, fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, and healthy fats. Eating a balanced diet ensures that your hair follicles have all the nutrients they need for regular hair growth.

Taking a supplement like Viviscal Hair Growth Supplements can also help you to transition from relaxed to natural hair. Why? Because Viviscal nourishes hair from the inside out, promoting healthy hair growth right from the roots. The combination of AminoMarTM (a proprietary marine protein complex) plus key vitamins and minerals in Viviscal is scientifically proven to promote existing hair growth*.

A Wide-Tooth Comb

As your hair transitions, you’ll soon find that that fine-tooth comb that worked with your relaxed hair doesn’t work for your natural texture. Instead, try a wide-tooth comb to detangle your curls without breakage.

Clips

Investing in a good set of clips will make it so much easier for you to style transitional hairstyles for beginners.

Have you transitioned your hair from relaxed to natural hair? Share your transitioning hair experience with other readers in the comment section below!

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