Review of the Skin Culture Peel 3000. Taken from the website of TV presenter and Anti-aging expert, Nicky Hambleton-Jones. Former presenter of Channel 4 program "10 Years Younger".
I have never tried a chemical peel and I’m very apprehensive. I’ve had my lips plumped, my cellulite pummelled and injections in the soles of my feet, but a skin peel is well, on my face. I may not be going for an all out clinical peel, but as far as DIY peels go, this is as serious as it gets.
However, Michelle from Skin Culture assures me that as long as I follow the instructions to the letter and do a patch test (which I do), nothing can go wrong. So after a couple of weeks of ‘should I or shouldn’t I?’ I take the plunge.
Day one: I feel nervous yet excited as I apply the first day’s pot of peel onto my face. It smells medicinal but looks like something you would spread on your toast. And it stings like hell. I grit my teeth and after ten minutes or so the burning sensation subsides. After 90 minutes I scrape it off and rinse my face the following morning.
Day two: My face is slightly red, and when I apply the paste today the pain is so unbearable I want to cry. Fortunately I know that this is normal and it only lasts for ten minutes or so.
Day three: Looking rather tanned today which is all part of the process apparently. I can still leave the house without scaring anybody although my skin is starting to feel rather tight. The paste is less painful today and it’s the last application.
Day four: Not only am I looking tanned but my skin is starting to look like a two-week-old apple which has put about 30 years on me!
Day five: My skin as started to PEEL! If I thought the stinging was bad, that was nothing compared to the temptation to pick at my skin. I’m told that if I do I can cause infection and scarring, so I resort to snipping the loose skin off with nail scissors.
Day six: My face looks like a prune and I’ve decided not to leave the house until I look a bit more human. I shocked the postman this morning when I answered the door.
Day seven: Part of my face is still flaking, especially on my forehead and cheeks, but the new skin on my nose and chin is particularly fresh and glowing. I’m not allowed to apply any products until all the peeling has finished.
Day 1: After cleansing my face thoroughly and letting it dry for 5 minutes, I opened one of the little pots of cerate 39XXX. I found myself staring at the contents. It didn't look pleasant. Inside is a putrid yellowish looking paste with an even worse smell emanating from it. After tying my hair back, I took out the spatula and spread the paste all over my face, while taking care not to rub it in.
The smell is all encompassing and any one venturing near you will recoil in horror. It's best to go through this part while you're alone. As indicated in the instructions, as soon as the paste was applied over my face, I began to experience the hot and stinging sensation as described. It was bearable but after 5 minutes I wasn't looking forward to 90 minutes of this feeling with another 3 nights to go through. However, after 10 minutes, the stinging subsided and I couldn't feel it at all. Unfortunately, the smell remains as strong throughout.
What a relief once the 90 minutes is up and I could scrape off the paste. You mustn't wash it off, just scrape it off with the spatula. Then, any remaining paste has to be removed with Vaseline. I'd made sure I bought a small jar of Vaseline before I started. I rubbed Vaseline over my face then wiped it all off with a piece of cotton wool. You then must wait at least 8 hours before washing your face with warm water followed by cold water. It's suggested that you do this procedure before going to bed, which is what I did. In the morning you just wash your face and leave it. You don't put any creams, lotions or potions on.
My face feels very tight and looks slightly red on the first day and I can still go out and about and face the world.
Day 2: I repeat last night's scenario. The same hot stinging sensation again and this time when I remove the paste, my face looks redder than last night. The following day my face has taken on a somewhat robust look, redder than yesterday but still not too abnormal.
Day 3: the same process again. Face stings for 10 minutes then it subsides. My face has become very red now once the cream is off. I feel a bit self conscious the next day when out and about.
Day 4: Thank goodness it's the last day. Once tonight's paste is wiped off, my face is very red, like I have a bad sunburn. I can still go outside although I have begun the peeling process around my mouth. It's starting to flake off in tiny amounts, but it's still not noticeable enough to prohibit me from mixing with the great wide world.
Day 5: Thank goodness, tonight I can smother my face with normalizer cream. Now this barely has any perceptible smell at all. It provides a welcome relief to my poor tortured skin. This cream is white and very thick and glides easily over my roughened skin. Again I must leave it on for 90 minutes before wiping off any excess. I mustn't wash my face until the morning.
My skin is peeling more around the mouth area but nowhere else. The rest of my skin now looks like it's covered in a layer of cling film. When I smile or pull extreme facial expressions, the look of my skin is quite terrifying. In fact, it gives me a glimpse into the future where I can see what I might look like aged 80. I try not to make too many facial expressions because it scares my kids. Actually, they're very accepting and take it all in their stride. Mum has warned them that her face will be falling off in a few days so they must be prepared.
Day 6: Still not much in the way of peeling. The instructions say the peeling mainly occurs on days 5 and 6. In some cases it completes over days 7 and 8. I fall into the category of some cases, whereby my facial peeling is nowhere near complete on day 6. This is annoying as it meant I had to cancel visiting plans over Christmas.
The shedding of my skin is working up from around my mouth to the sides of my nose. I must continue using the normalizer cream until all peeling is finished. I'm no longer in any fit state to present my face to the outside world. I'm now confined to my house, which is no bad thing seeing as it's the school and Christmas holidays so I don't need to do the school run. Friends are banned from visiting.
Day 7: The peeling is spreading out much more now. Most of my nose is done, and half of my cheeks.
Day 8: Still peeling and not finished yet. I got my first real glimpse of the effects of the peel today. One of my greatest hopes of the peel were to achieve a more even skintone. I suffer quite badly from uneven pigmentation as well as a couple of quite bad sun spots. That's due to growing up in Australia and spending years and years in the sun playing tennis. Anyway, today I was helping the peeling process along a bit. It's just too hard to resist sometimes. The instructions warn you NOT to peel or pull at your skin and to let it shed naturally. I found this impossible at times but I didn't ever pull skin that wasn't ready to be removed.
Day 11: Today I have exfoliated the last remaining flecks of skin, mainly around the edges of my face and top of my forehead. I've been able to face the world for the past three days and am back to normal now.
Day 1: I did the full face peel about two weeks later, and this time, I felt the hot stinging sensation. It was painful!! It wasn't unbearable but it was very noticeable but it subsided after about 10-15 minutes. I applied it at night so I could sleep it off... I removed it after 90 minutes... The smell is quite strong- some people may find it unpleasant- it doesn't really annoy me but it was noticeable for other people in the same house.
Day 2: My skin was slightly darker than before as if I have a very light tan. It feels slightly tighter. I got on with my daily activities without a problem, although someone did notice but just thought I had a tan. I applied the cream again at night to more stinging sensation, and removed it 90 minutes later.
Day 3: The colour of my skin wasn't much darker than the day before... it was slightly redder and I could feel it being more itchy... And skin appeared to have a light film over it- so any big facial expression, the face wrinkles up... I followed the instructions and again applied the peeling cream over the face to leave for ninety minutes... This time, the pain isn't as obvious, probably because I am now used to it!!
Day 5: It has started peeling more around the mouth and whole face feels much tighter... I don't want to go out today because it is obvious with the flaking skin and the patchiness of it... but I must! Everyone noticed my skin and were asking about it... I guess if I went out not to see people I know, it would be fine... At late afternoon, it started peeling around my nose... At night I used the normalizer cream which is really smooth and smelt of butter cream (which is nice) and it felt good on the skin... making it nice and soft... I can't wait for it to just all peel away now!!!
Day 6:It has started peeling around my nose and I am not in a state to leave the house. I have to go out tomorrow to meet people, so I am desperately hoping it would have mostly peeled by tomorrow afternoon... The pack says it should be a six day peel, but the peeling has only really just begun! Anyway, I put normalizer cream on... which really seems to smoothen and soften skin!
Day 7: More obvious peeling around jaw area, cheeks starting to peel... and really not in a state to go out- as I look like some monster, but I must today- so dreading it, and trying to find a way to hide it. I was actually quite surprised because no one said anything to me about my skin. They may have noticed but no one mentioned it. It has peeled a lot more now after a shower... once again, normalizer cream...
Day 8: My cheeks feel really itchy and are slightly red... The guide says itchiness and redness is normal, so I hope it is... it is quite a nuisance- can't stop thinking about it! Anyway, It has peeled pretty much all of my cheeks and started peeling above the eyes on the forehead... The tip of my nose has yet to be peeled... the results are starting to show... I think another night of normalizer cream... this might be the last?
Day 9 : Red all over face where peeling cream was applied and quite itchy- not a happy bunny. It has mostly peeled only tip of nose, top of forehead and side of face, near the ears, that have yet to peel... I look like some sunburnt alien. . . and shall not be using the normalizer cream- I think it might be that which is making my skin unhappy... will just use cool water to wash face until it gets better. I have applied a thin layer of E45 cream, which has eased the itching and makes me feel MUCH better. . .
Day 10: I have officially finished the peeling process- but still red where it has peeled, and I'm getting a slight rash on my chin which is unpleasant and itchy... I have not used normaliser cream and switched for E45, which I'm continuing to use to ease the itchiness...
So when I saw a new facial system that claimed to improve skin tone and clear spots, blackheads and large pores while reducing the appearance of sun damage, acne scarring and fine lines, it sounded too good to miss.
Skin Culture's Peel is a chemical peel. This sort of treatment is normally carried out by doctors in hospital and involves burning off the first two or three layers of the skin. A mighty risky procedure, you might think.
(Skin Culture note: our Peeling treatment actually works by starving the top layers of skin of oxygen which then die and gently peel away. The treatment will not burn the skin or cause the skin to blister or bleed.)
Newly introduced into the country (UK), Skin Culture's Peel is done over a six-day period at home or in a beauty salon. You have a choice as to the strength of the peel, but this simply involves applying it in the same way for an extra one to four days.
The impressive packaging made me feel that I was at the forefront of skin science. The instructions seemed very thorough and I relished the thought of stripping off my old skin and exposing the young, spot-free skin underneath.
So after donning my white lab coat, I picked up the spatula and dabbed the tar-like substance over my face and neck.
It felt like I had put my face in a bucket of acid, which is effectively what I had done. This is where the 'instructions and questions people ask' section had got it horribly wrong. Unbelievably, to the question 'Is the treatment painful?', they had replied 'no', and suggested an 'inconvenient, deep warm sensation' instead.
I spent the next 20 or so minutes before the pain subsided swearing obscenities. My children rushed around trying to calm me down. They were unable to grasp the idea that what I was doing was voluntary.
It was an enlightening experience and I seriously questioned whether I would rather be covered with oozing pustules after all. I have never encountered such pain. Give me childbirth any day. I was in so much pain that my mouth watered. But it did ease as they had said 'the sensation' would, after 20 minutes or so.
(Skin Culture note: You will experience a hot stinging sensation lasting for 15-20 minutes after the peeling formula is applied. The sensation felt will vary from individual to individual. Some will apply the treatment and just feel a warm tingling sensation whereas others will feel an intense (burning like) sensation. On average you will feel a hot stinging sensation that will last for about 15-20 minutes after the peeling formula is applied. Fanning the facial area will relieve any discomfort felt by up to 75%. Also, it should be noted that the more you feel the treatment, the better the results will be.)
After an hour and a half, I removed the peel. You should not use any other products during the treatment and should leave the residue, a rather strong smelling substance, on your skin for eight hours before washing it off with water.
I woke the next morning with a healthy glow, feeling much better about my experience, and resolved to perform the second part of the peel. They say that after you've had a baby, your memory of the pain dulls, otherwise no one would have more than one. It was only after I'd put on the second coat that the reality of the pain hit me once again.
This time I thought I'd better check it was normal and that I hadn't missed the instruction to dilute it or something, so I rang the help line number.
On reflection, the fact that there was a help line should have been a clue. A kindly gentleman explained that what I was experiencing was quite normal and that I should try to relax, perhaps listen to music or watch television to take my mind off the fact that my skin was being burned off......
By the third morning, my skin had started to dry out and was noticeably red. People said I looked as though I'd spent too much time on the sunbed, or asked if I'd been skiing. If only I had.
After the third application of peel, I applied Normaliser cream which greatly eased the tightness and helped lift some of the bits of skin hanging off my face.
You are strongly advised not to pick at the trailing skin, but I'm afraid I couldn't resist. It came off easily but it took a good four days more to stop peeling completely. During that time, I really looked like something out of a horror film.....
Despite all the trauma, the end result was fantastic. I don't think my skin has looked so good since I was about 12. If only it hadn't been so painful, I would be performing the procedure every 30 days as recommended.
My face is not completely clear but the instructions warn you to expect this because the ingrained debris is released to the surface. They also advise that it can take several applications before it will stay looking really good.
There is vigorous cell renewal activity as lower layers of skin replace those that are stripped off. It makes sense then to repeat the procedure until you have the freshest skin 'moved up' to the top.
Will I do it again? I'll have to see if vanity overcomes my cowardice. What is certain is that the odd nasty relative I have to buy a Christmas present for will be receiving a highly recommended beauty treatment with my love.
* Testimonial Disclaimer: