Updated: Jul 14, 2022
When self-tasked with writing my first blog post for my business, I wondered naturally what topic to start with. My mind immediately went to the question I get asked the most by clients who are just starting a treatment/skin care regimen for the first time - "Does it actually work?" I usually receive this question after giving their initial consultation and telling them my recommendations on how I would address their skin concerns, and which treatments and product I would recommend for their specific skin type. I also tell them approximately how long to expect the process to take. I also receive this question after they have done either some or a lot of initial research on YouTube and Google and they have seen the extreme images of people peeling from an aggressive chemical peel that has been either overdone or misused and they are concerned about damaging their skin.
In short, the answer is, yes, it does work, with some dependent variables to consider: the extent of the damage we are correcting, the realistic goals of the client, and the dedication to the consistency it will take to see results. I don't like to say that I have seen miracles happen. A miracle is an out of reach and undefinable term that looks different for everyone. I back everything up with science and a visual representation of what is actually happening under the many layers of skin as well as at the surface. Initial, more immediate results are soft, glowing, smooth skin and reduced texture. This is because the upper layers of dead skin have been exfoliated off. The deeper effects are seen more gradually and sometimes even worsen before they get better. This is because we are bringing up to the surface what is already underneath in order to exfoliate it off.
Yes, it is a process, and the long answer is of course much more involved and would take a book to explain everything that is happening to the skin on a daily basis with product and once a month (on average) during a treatment. The biggest take away I hope that my clients have is that the skin is complicated and unique to every individual, but that the results are attainable, and that it is important to see a licensed individual with experience who knows what they are doing. I have seen amazing results over my 8 years of being an esthetician from hormonal acne being cleared to reversing years of sun damage to smoothing out wrinkles. Noticeable differences that everyone, after a few months, says they keep getting complimented on their skin. These are results that have sometimes taken a few weeks, and sometimes a few months to resolve, but that always see improvement at first and get better with time.
To use myself as an example, the pictures taken below were due to an experiment I decided to conduct on myself. I decided to “let my skin go,” so to speak, and not do any of my usual maintenance things such as chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and exfoliating skin care products. Just to see what would happen. I did not do any professional treatments, nor did I use my homecare products that would have helped my skin maintain the treatments I had done before. It took two months to get to the state you see in the left picture. Clogged pores, blackheads, and a couple of deeper breakouts. Make sure you click on the picture to take a closer look. There is a lot of texture!
You might be asking right about now, does that even mean what I was doing before worked? Why do you have to keep doing it? Shouldn’t it just be fixed? The answer is, yes, it did work, and no, it is not just fixed permanently. Because our skin is in a constant state of growth, just like our hair and our fingernails. You don’t get a hair cut one time and never have to get a haircut again, right? Right! It may not be as obvious, and it doesn’t seem to be something that is taught in health class. I certainly don’t remember going over it or learning anything about my skin until esthetician school. That’s where I really learned the science of my skin and how to actually take care of it. And just like taking care of your hair and nails, you have to get rid of the dead skin cells in order to have healthy skin.
It took two months to correct my skin and get it “back in shape” and looking like the picture on the right. One of the reasons it did not take much time is because my skin remembered what I had been doing before and responded more quickly. Just like when you take a break from working out and then go back to it! That’s right, muscle memory. To use another analogy, you know how you can “train” your hair to be more straight or curlier? It’s like that too! Your skin will remember how to be healthy and will respond more quickly over time.
To conclude, no, treatments are not a miracle problem-solver, once and done, and your skin is "fixed" forever. It is a process, especially because your skin is constantly changing and producing millions of new skin cells every day. But, and I speak from personal experience here, it is well worth it.