What Happened When I Tried A Medical-Grade Chemical Peel At Home

Typically performed in a doctor’s office, one New York City-based plastic surgeon created a socially distant way to treat his patients virtually.
Patient Perspective
Written by Jeannine Morris Lombardi
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What Happened When I Tried A Medical-Grade Chemical Peel At HomeJC Gellidon/Unsplash

When I received an email invite from a publicist friend about trying a medical-grade chemical peel in the comfort of my own home, I don’t even think I blinked before writing back that I was in. From Fraxel to tattoo removal, I’ve been a guinea pig for all sorts of skincare treatments over the course of my career — but this was different.

Medical-grade chemical peels are usually only enjoyed in a professional setting, yet I was being offered the opportunity to mix and apply the peel myself under the close watch of an aesthetician via FaceTime. I’m not sure if I was more excited to play skincare mixologist or to see the results. While there have been plenty of COVID-19 quarantine horror stories about dangerous DIY dermatology treatments, this felt like a unique opportunity to enjoy in-office results at home in a safe and effective way.

Here’s everything you need to know about my experience from the first consultation through recovery and results (spoiler alert: they lived up to my expectations).

Step 1: The Consultation

The plastic surgeon offering this treatment is Kevin Tehrani, MD, a board certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon and founder of Aristocrat Plastic Surgery & MedAesthetics in New York City. I worked closely with his medical aesthetician, Louisa Agate, who was very empathetic and cared about my results just as much as I did. The process included a virtual consultation, where we spoke about my skin and the concerns I have. My biggest skincare concern has always been hyperpigmentation, but lately it’s acne (hi, maskne) and texture as well.

Step 2: The Prep

Once I received the products and tools for my customized peel, Louisa and I got back on the phone to discuss the ingredients, pre- and post-peel care, and what I could expect in regards to peeling. I learned the peel would have three layers consisting of:

  1. A vitamin A solution
  2. A kojic acid and vitamin C lightening oil
  3. A mask made up of hydroquinone, vitamin C, kojic acid, and arbutin

After application, she told me I would leave the concoction on for six hours.

Step 3: The Treatment

On our third and final FaceTime, Louisa walked me through applying the peel. Before getting started, she instructed me to wipe my cleansed face with alcohol and apply a bit of Aquaphor to the inner and outer corners of my eyes, corners of my mouth, rim of my nose, and lash line to protect them from any solution that may drip or spread. If the peel were to settle in those areas, it could burn the skin or cause a rash. Together, we mixed and applied the three steps — layer by layer. After 20 minutes of application, it was time to wait. Six hours later, as instructed, I washed it all off.

Step 4: The Results

I expected to start seeing flakes around my mouth on day three and peel for up to 10 days. However, Louisa mentioned that, since my skin was used to retinol, I may not peel all that much. As a matter of fact, I didn’t peel at all. Instead, I experienced a breakout around my chin, which cleared up in about a week. Overall, I’m really happy with the results. My skin looks brighter and healthier. The tone is more even and my pores appear smaller.

The writer's skin before (left) and one week after treatment (right).

Dr. Tehrani is offering this at-home service to remote patients. If you’re interested in learning more about his medical grade chemical peels and booking your own, request a virtual consultation.

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JEANNINE MORRIS LOMBARDIis a contributing writer for AEDIT.

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