Phytic peel is a skin treatment that consists in application of peel solution containing phytic acid as an active component. Phytic acid, also known as inositol hexakisphosphate, is a compound ether composed of myo inositol, cyclic sixfold polyalcohol, and 6 units of orthophosphoric acid. In nature, phytic acid is found in cereal grains, beans, some vegetables, and oilseeds.
The phytic peel is a superficial peel. Neutralization is not required during the procedure. Besides phytic acid, special peel solutions often contain a high percentage of glycolic or tartaric acids.
The phytic peel has proven to be a great way to solve problems of mature skin with couperose.
The phytic peel can be performed all year round. Beauty experts recommend using it even during the periods of high solar activity.
Indications and Contraindications for a Phytic Peel
The phytic peel is used to treat the following conditions:
• problem skin
• skin with enlarged pores
• to a lesser extent, acne and pitted acne scars
• demodicosis in remission
• aging skin
• stretch marks
• old and new scars
• loss of skin elasticity
• dehydrated skin
• fine lines
• keratomas (skin growths caused by excessive sun-bathing)
• can be a preparatory stage for more complicated skin treatments such as laser skin resurfacing or microdermabrasion.
Contraindications for a phytic peel are as follows:
• molluscum contagiosum
• secondary infection
• small scratch marks on skin
• skin hypersensitivity
• oncological diseases
• renal, heart, or liver failure, pulmonary insufficiency
• herpes lesions
Phytic Acid Properties
Besides of its scientifically proven ability to exfoliate and cleanse skin very mildly, phytic acid is also capable of inactivating tyrosinase – the enzyme, which causes hyperpigmentation when it is excessively produced. This also explains good antioxidant, whitening, and anti-inflammatory properties of phytic acid, which help to remove existing pigment spots and effectively prevent the development of the new ones. Phytic acid is also characterized by significant rejuvenating and lifting effect.
One of the characteristic features of phytic acid is that even highly concentrated 50% acid with low рН=1,2 does not cause any damage to deep epidermal layers. The effect of phytic acid on skin is therefore achieved quite rapidly and does not provoke any pain or discomfort.
The molecules of phytic acid are relatively large in size; during skin treatment, they do not penetrate deeply into skin, but stay in the horny layer. At the same time, they are capable of retaining hydrogen ions and keeping them from penetrating into skin. When skin is exposed to phytic acid for more than 15 minutes, keratinocytes start dying; this time period is considered the maximal possible time of exposure.
It is worth mentioning that unlike TCA, AHA, and phenol peels, which have scientific evidence, approved protocols, and lists of experimentally proven complications, the phytic peel has not yet been certified and approved by EU ministries of public health. Up to now (2013), there has not been any research that confirmed safety of this kind of peel.
Preliminary studies conducted by Israeli dermatologists have shown that phytic acid solutions have a significant anti-cancer effect, which consists in their ability to:
• suppress cell division;
• increase apoptosis (programmed cell death);
• stop the growth of vessels;
• bind zinc and copper divalent cations, which leads to shortage of these chemical elements that are extremely necessary for skin health;
• show observable antioxidant properties.
Thus, the scientific community nowadays considers phytic acid an understudied substance, which shows ambiguous biological activity.
Benefits and Drawbacks of a Phytic Peel
Experts speak of the following benefits of a phytic peel:
• capable of whitening skin
• mild and almost non-aggressive
• characterized by high antioxidant activity, since it slows down production of free radicals
• can be used to treat couperose
• stimulates regenerative processes in skin
• has high efficacy (compared to the efficacy of 50% glycolic acid)
• causes less discomfort and painful sensations than other chemical peels
• can be performed in summer
• post-peel complications are rare
• the peel procedure is simple
• requires minimal specific pre-peel and post-peel care
• presupposes the briefest recovery period
• has a long-term effect
• suitable for sensitive skin
• there are no age restrictions for its usage
Drawbacks of a phytic peel are as follows:
• relatively high cost;
• understudied biological activity of phytic acid;
• not very effective against acne and pitted acne scars;
• there is a tingling sensation during the phytic peel procedure, which is quite bearable.
In order to make epidermis thinner and smoother, experts recommend 7-day pre-peel preparation. In case of hyperpigmentation, pre-peel preparation should last up to 21 days. The skin is pre-treated with special gels containing glycolic acid that are applied once a day.
Besides, it has been scientifically proven that phytic acid shows maximum activity only when skin has been pre-treated with 15% mandelic acid. It is recommended to apply this pre-peel solution once a day within a week.
Stages of a Phytic Peel
The peel procedure includes the following sequential steps:
• skin cleansing
• application of tonic lotion containing alpha and beta hydroxy acids (AHAs and BHAs)
• application of glycolate for 10 minutes
• application of a phytic acid solution for 10-12 minutes in order to achieve homogeneous frosting (it is recommended to start with 3 to 5 minute exposition during the first treatment and increase it gradually. The exposition should not exceed 15 minutes)
• washing active components off with water
• application of a skin toner
• application of a calming mask
• washing the mask off with water
• final application of the skin toner
Each treatment lasts about 40 minutes. To achieve a long-lasting result, it is recommended to perform 3-8 treatments once in every 1 – 2 weeks. An esthetician determines the number of treatments according to individual requirements of a client. Supporting treatment might be performed in 1 – 2 months after the basic procedures.
Post-Peel Skin Care
In order to achieve an optimal result, it is recommended to follow the post-peel regimen within a month, which presupposes application of photo protective, renovating, and moisturizing creams.
This will allow for normal skin regeneration and faster epithelization. In the very beginning of a recovery period, one should use special liquids, gels, and foams, which can be easily applied, well absorbed, and do not require rubbing. On the second day after the peel treatment, skin begins to peel, and one should start using creams.
Active skin moisturization in the post-peel period helps to get rid of subjective discomfort, i.e. skin tightness or dryness, to increase epithelization and minimize risk of scarring. It is recommended to use products with hyaluronic acid, which has significant hydrating effect. Hyaluronic acid creates kind of a polymer network on skin that captures water molecules and allows for normal migration of regenerating cells.
Efforts to restore epidermal barrier also reduce transepidermal water loss. Products containing considerable amounts of phospholipids, shea butter, ceramides, and natural waxes have proven their efficacy in this case.
In order to speed up post-peel skin regeneration, one should use products containing a variety of regenerative agents, such as retinol, placenta-based products, and panthenol.
To reduce the risk of post-peel inflammations and hyperpigmentation development, it is recommended to use cosmetic products containing antioxidants – bioflavonoids, selenium, and tocopherol.
In the post-peel period, it is important to prevent development of herpes infection. Patients who have more than two active herpes episodes per year should take special anti-viral drugs like Valtrex or Acyclovir.
Effects of a Phytic Peel
According to manufacturers, phytic peels effectively:
• improve hemodynamics, which helps to make skin smoother and improves skin tone
• help to achieve smooth, radiant, and soft skin
• remove pigment spots
• provide lifting effect
• normalize the functions of sebaceous and sweat glands
• reduce size of skin pores
• produce powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect
• increase regeneration of damaged tissues
• augment metabolic processes
• increase production of elastin and collagen, which allow for skin’s firmness and rejuvenation
• provide quality skin cleansing
• remove dead skin cells
• reduce fine lines on skin
• decrease wrinkle depth
• whiten skin
• reduce acne and pitted acne scars
• remove small scars and stretch marks
• moisturize skin
• increase skin elasticity
Phytic Peel. Photos before and after 4 procedures
Possible Complications after a Phytic Peel
Phytic acid is almost non-aggressive, which contributes to the fact that various complications in the post-peel period are quite rare. Their development is associated with individual sensitivity to the active component of the peel.
Individual responses to a phytic peel treatment might include:
• dehydration of epidermis, resulting from removal of its outermost layer;
• patchy erythema with moderate intensity that is present for no longer than 3 hours;
• slight skin peeling present within 2 days after the treatment;
• swelling and pastosity of the eyelids and neck caused by considerable amount of various anti-inflammatory mediators;
• herpes infection;
• streptostaphylococcal pyoderma, which might occur if hygiene rules were violated during the peel procedure;
To minimize the risk of such complications, experts recommend that the post-peel skin regimen should be precisely followed.
If there are long-term swellings and erythemas lasting more than 3 days, use of anti-inflammatory medications is necessary (18-glycyrrhetinic acid, Voltaren, Indometacin, Traumeel).
In case of streptostaphylococcal pyoderma, a standard antibacterial therapy is prescribed; doctors recommend using such ointments as Baneocin.
Allergies are very rare and can be treated by a single dose of antihistamines, e.g. Aerius.
Phytic peels are manufactured by Beauty SPA (Italy), Renew (Israel), СRC (USA), SKIN NECH (Spain), Dermacode (USA), MedicControlPeel (Brazil), Skin Medica (USA).
Courses of Phytic peel available from $125.