Index Peeling

PHA peel

PHA face peel is the next generation of superficial chemical peels. Gluconolactone is an active ingredient that treats skin very gently without affecting deeper layers.

The effect is very similar to that of AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids or fruit acids like glycolic or lactic acid), but as a type of polyhydroxy acid gluconolactone is more beneficial. Containing five hydroxyl groups, it has more hydrating properties compared to alpha hydroxy acid with only one hydroxyl group. Since it is a larger molecule, gluconolactone penetrates the skin slowly without burning it like the other chemical peels with alternative active ingredients do. That`s why non-irritating gluconolactone is perfect even for dry and hypersensitive skin peel.

PHA face peel is indicated for:

1. Adolescence
- problem skin
- acne-prone skin
- comedones
- enlarged pores

2. Age 25-30
- post-acne
- hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone
- skin aging prevention
- early signs of photoaging such as skin dryness, loss of elasticity and fine lines
- hyperkeratosis (rosacea, seborrheic dermatitis)
- actinic dermatitis

3. Age 30 and over
- correction and prevention of natural aging signs such as withering and first wrinkles
- pigmentation
- plastic surgery preparation

There are some important contraindications to PHA peel that are the same as general contraindications to AHA peel:

1. Gluconolactone intolerance or hypersensitivity to any component of the formulation
2. Active phase of skin disease (hyperkeratosis, acne etc)
3. Acute viral infections (herpes, papilloma)
4. Violation of skin integrity (open wounds, scratches)
5. Fever
6. Pregnancy and lactation
7. Sunburned skin

Gluconolactone or glucono-delta-lactone is a cyclic ester that hydrolyses in water to gluconic acid which is metabolized to glucose. Determined by certain physical characteristics such as concentration, pH, temperature etc, the interconversion of components leads to reduction of gluconolactone by carbohydrate metabolism or more exactly by ribose synthesis (of sugar present in RNA). Gluconolactone is commonly found in honey, wine, corn, some types of fruits and tea sorts.

Experimentally proved properties of gluconolactone:

1. Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, boost of skin`s immune system.
Gluconolactone is a natural antioxidant which is as effective as vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and vitamin E (tocopherol). It is contained in the skin maintaining optimal moisture content. Gluconolactone blocks the synthesis of pro-interleukin-1 which is responsible for the regulation of immune and which high concentration in the horny layer of the skin can cause increased inflammation.

2. Restoring pH balance
The interaction of gluconolactone with skin begins once it was applied, affecting the acid mantle. The enzyme activity depends on the pH balance that may be disrupted by hostile environment or pathology. The gentle influence of gluconolactone helps to achieve proper pH level restoring pH balance.

3. Recovery of skin barrier properties, collagen fibers strengthening.
Skin barrier integrity is dependent on serine protease activity – an enzyme that cleaves peptide bones in proteins. Skin cells are connected with protein fibers. That means that reduction of serine protease activity caused by lower pH level in the acid mantle can help to maintain cell junctions. Gluconolactone also activates lipid synthesis in keratinocytes providing moisture into horny layer of skin.

4. Moisturizing
The ability of gluconolactone to transfer water molecules plays a central role in skin moisturizing. Getting in the granular layer of skin, water causes calcium ions concentration decline sending signal to the body to stimulate lipid synthesis in keratinocytes.

5. Hyperpigmentation removal and photo-aging protection
As a chelating agent, gluconolactone has the ability to bind and remove free radicals from the body. The oxidation process, caused by overabundance of iron and UV-rays influence, occurs in skin pigmentation that is a typical sign of photoaging. Gluconolactone helps to bind free iron ions preventing the oxidation process and consequences of UV-radiation.

6. Lifting and firming effect, skin surface smoothing
Gluconolactone initiates processes that precede the production of hyaluronic acid in keratinocytes and fibroblasts, as well as synthesis in matrix metalloproteinase (necessary for tissue regeneration) and collagen.

7. Skin tone smoothing provided by keratolytic action of gluconolactone – superficial dead skin cells exfoliation.

Pros and cons of PHA peeling

It is believed that PHA peeling is less effective than retinoic acid or glycolic peel and therefore more expensive, what means more treatment sessions are required to achieve desired results. However this peeling is very gentle and can be used even by patients with acids allergy or hypersensitivity to any components, because indications for use of AHA and PHA peels are generally the same.

The non-irritating formulation doesn`t require an acid neutralizer application after the treatment and can be washed off with water. It is a very delicate skin treatment that can be used as often as you wish to achieve desired result.
The mild effect of the peel makes it suitable for people with low pain threshold, causing no burning on skin or any other discomfort feelings. In addition, the risk of post-peel symptoms such as redness and swelling is significantly reduced avoiding post-inflammatory pigmentation.

Gluconolactone doesn`t accumulate in the cells and is easily excreted from the body. But even in relatively high concentrations it doesn`t have a mutagenic, toxic or teratogenic effect.

PHA peeling is recommended for sensitive skin with weak protective properties and in cases when the injury was caused by keratosis pathologies.

PHA peel stages:

1. Pre-peel preparation is preferable, but not obligatory. If there is a point to prepare skin with special care, should be discussed with beauty therapist 2 weeks before the first treatment. Skin therapy products are picked up depending on individual skin features in order to prepare skin for the action of gluconolactone. The pre-peel prep kit usually includes a cleanser, day and night creams with gluconolactone (the concentration of the active ingredient should not exceed 5-15%). On the day of the first procedure no additional care products with gluconolactone are used.

In case no skin preparations were made, the beauty therapist can suggest some alternatives if the skin is in satisfactory condition. Several treatments with gradually increased gluconolactone concentration can help to improve general skin health. But in case the PHA peel is supposed to solve some serious skin problems, it can be applied once with the highest concentration of gluconolactone for a short time to get most out of the procedure without harming the skin. The exposure time is increased step-by-step requiring a long-term treatment.

For that reason a 3-4 days skin preparation is preferable for a face peel. That will make skin more receptive to the action of gluconolactone saving your money, because an adjunctive treatment is more expensive than a pre-peel prep kit.

2. Just before the procedure the skin should be cleansed with gluconolactone-containing make-up removal, cleansing milk and lotion. This products help to prepare skin for the high-concentrated PHA peel. A pre-peel treatment with low concentration of gluconolactone (up to 5%) may be applied after skin cleansing at the discretion of the beauty therapist.
3. The timing of the peel may vary from 1-2 to 25 minutes, there are no strict prescriptions. The exposure time is set individually depending on skin type and sensitivity considering manufacturers recommendations. The longer the peel lasts, the deeper active ingredients penetrate the skin. That means the exposure time should be increased to assure deeper penetration of gluconolactone into epidermis. Downtime procedure may be useful for acne skin, actinic dermatitis, hyperkeratosis and other skin diseases, if the patient shows tolerance to gluconolactone.

The concentration of active ingredient is also individually adjusted. 50% is a classic concentration, but it can be increased or decreased according to the formulation of the peel (in particular, according to the concentration of other acids) or depending on the manufacturers recommendations and skin diagnosis result in case the peel is prepared by the beauty therapist.

4. PHA peeling is simply washed off with water after procedure. There are no specific indications for post-peel treatment, because gluconolactone normally doesn`t cause irritation. However an acid neutralizer is advisory for hypersensitive skin.

A calming mask with plant extracts such as chamomile, aloe vera and calendula is applied after peel removal. Then follows post peel moisturizer with SPF protection. Preferable are products from one line and from the same manufacturer to achieve best results avoiding irritation.

5. Proper post-peel home care is very important for prevention of potential complications. Home post-peel skin care basics are avoiding sun exposure and proper moisturizing.

As a mild type of chemical peel, PHA can be used in summer. But it doesn’t mean UV-rays are harmless – actually, UV-radiation causes skin dehydration and hyperpigmentation. That’s why a strong sunscreen and a good moisturizer are necessary.

The day cream from the post-peel treatment kit contains a high SPF and effective moisturizing agents providing reliable protection. However post-peel products do not contain gluconolactone, because it can cause irritation on affected skin. Sunscreen with SPF30 or SPF50 is preferable in summer, while SPF15 is enough for winter.
To prevent skin discomfort and inflammation after peel, patient should use only mild soap-free cleanser (for example cleansing milk) and special face care containing antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, moisturizing and regenerating ingredients.

Post-peel phase lasts 2-4 days, then follows pre-peel preparation phase. Therefore the interval between treatments should be at least 6-7 days or more depending on the gluconolactone concentration – for example by a 70% concentration a 2 weeks break is necessary.

The non-irritating formulation of PHA peel allows making 10-12 procedures with a 6-weeks treatment course. The treatment schedule can vary according to individual skin features. The patient should use high-SPF day cream during the course and two weeks after the procedure.

Side effects and complications that can occur after PHA peel:

1. Hyperemia
Skin redness and swelling may occur both during the procedure and in the next few days after, despite the fact that PHA peel was primarily designed for sensitive skin. Hyperemia may develop on hypersensitive allergic skin even by proper post-peel care. The symptoms can be reduced with extra calming treatment and eliminated in 3-4 days.

2. Dryness, skin sensitization and flaking
With regular use in compliance with recommendations of beauty therapist post-peel skin treatment designed for skin moisturizing and rejuvenation can help to relieve symptoms within 3-4 days.

3. Skin eruptions and infections
Disregard of contraindications to acid peel can lead to serious implications. Strict adherence to the expert recommendations and proper post-peel skin care help to avoid complications.

Skin eruptions may be caused by an allergy reaction, diseases of internal organs or hormone imbalance, not by the peel. It is important to determine the causes before symptoms treatment. Anyway if symptoms persist the patient should seek medical advice. Antihistamines and hormone creams are usually ordered to relieve symptoms. In some cases, if the inflammation was caused by skin infection, doctor can prescribe antibiotics in order to eliminate development of serious skin diseases. Self-medication is extremely dangerous causing irreparable harm and general health deterioration.
Poor sanitation before peeling may aggravate the herpes virus. In that case the treatment course should be canceled until complete healing by using HSV ointments and creams.

4. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation
The mild formulation of PHA peel minimizes the risk of chemical burn and inflammation that may cause hyperpigmentation. However if such symptoms occur, a good day cream with high SPF (at least SPF40) is required. It should be applied on injured areas every time before going outside, especially on areas around the mouth where the pigmentation spots usually occur.

Sunscreen should be used not only for pigmentation prevention, but also for proper care of pigmented areas to avoid complications. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation treatment is determined by the beauty therapist. The classical treatment includes bleaching creams and anti-inflammatory medicines. The pigmentation may disappear within few weeks by proper skin care.

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