Skin Care Skin Care - Acne

My Acne Skin Care Prescription from Aesthetic Science Clinic

Since posting about Maxi-Peel exfoliant solution, I’ve gotten a few requests/questions about how to use Maxi Peel step-by-step, how to deal with the peeling, what moisturizers to use, and how to go about sun protection.

Before we go there, I’ll tell you about my skin first and what got me to try the product.

BACKGROUND

Before: My acne during my teens wasn’t that bad. I’ve always had acne but I’d consider it mild. I get tiny pimples here and there but I wasn’t really bothered by it. They’re always just small ones, not a pretty sight, but I dealt with it.Scatterbraintures

My acne got really bad when I was in my mid-20s (2009). I got clusters of small pimples and a galaxy of whiteheads that lay on top of each other. I get one or two cystic pimples but they’re not that frequent. I went to the doctor as soon as I realized that I was experiencing adult acne. Cringe-worthy story: An officemate/friend told me that in one of our meetings, I talked to my boss with one of my pimples bleeding.

In this photo, my skin was already on its way to recovery. My acne looked like this, only 5x worse.

Now: I only get pimples during that time of the month, and they disappear quickly. My face is clear for most of the month.

I thought you’d want to know this so you can manage your expectations — especially those who have it worse than I did.

MY PRESCRIPTION BEFORE MAXI-PEEL

My acne journey did not start with Maxi-Peel and OTC Tretinoin Creams. It started with the routine prescribed by Aesthetic Science Clinic. I hope I remember enough of everything that happened. Anyway, this was my prescription from them (their products are listed here):

How I Cleared My Skin in A Week

  1. Kojic Acid Soap
  2. Anti-bacterial Toner (alcohol-based, I don’t know what the “anti-bacterial” ingredient is)
  3. CHAT 2% Solution (alcohol-based, CHAT = clindamycin phosphate, hydroquinone, alum, tretinoin)
  4. Sunblock Gel SPF 15 (no ingredients listed)
  5. Retinoic Acid .1% (Essentia Cream ie Tretinoin Cream)
  6. Blending Cream (Hydroquinone Cream)

In the morning, I was asked to use the first three products, in this manner:

  1. Wash face with kojic acid soap and pat the skin dry.
  2. With a cotton pad, swipe anti-bacterial toner followed by CHAT 2%
  3. Apply sunblock gel and stay indoors from 10am to 4pm.

At night, I was told to use all 5 of them:

  1. Repeat steps 1 and 2 above.
  2. Mix equal parts of Essentia Cream and Blending Cream, then apply all over the face.

This is a very strong prescription, each product has at least 1 potent active in it — at concentrations that are not at their lowest. As I mentioned in my post on easing into tretinoin, here’s what happened:

“On my fourth day, my skin was so raw that when I touch my jaw, I felt like I was touching raw flesh.”

In addition, my face shed like a snake. I remember flakes of my skin literally falling all over my keyboard. If I wore something dark, you’d see the flakes all over my clothes.

As I approached the end of my first week, I couldn’t handle washing my face with Kojic Acid soap. Imagine putting drops of calamansia la Ibong Adarna, on a fresh wound. The pain was enough to put me to tears whenever I wash my face. I was advised to push through with using the soap but I didn’t listen.

At the end of the 1st week, I was prescribed with a mild TCA peel procedure administered by an esthetician.

DEALING WITH IRRITATION AND PEELING

On the 2nd week, I gave the soap to E and never used a bar soap on my face ever again.

I washed my face with just water and continued with all the other meds. But I only applied the products on the areas of my face that were not raw and swollen.

I could afford washing my face with just water because I didn’t wear makeup back in 2009. I have only 1 makeup item, Avon’s Lip and Cheek Tint. Yes, just the tint. I didn’t even own face powder. The week ended with another TCA peel. My face was still irritated with a few new breakouts. I asked if they could prescribe me a moisturizer. I can’t remember what the moisturizer was, but it didn’t sting.

On the third week, the raw areas on my face started getting better. The redness also started to tone down. I applied the products on those areas again. My skin seem to be more tolerant by that time. Some of my breakouts started healing, but I still got a few new ones. Since I undergo a mild TCA peel every week, the breakouts dry out fast.

When I get a large pimple, they ask me to come back for it to be injected with something that’s supposed to either make the swelling go down or make the zit ripen faster.

The good thing about Aesthetic Science Clinic, unlike other facial centers, is that before or after a procedure, a doctor ALWAYS examines your face. If it’s your first time getting ANY treatment done (incl. just a basic facial), they won’t do anything unless a doctor sees you first. I’m not sure if they still have the same SOP, its been years.

RESULTS

hydroquinone days
(2009) Please excuse the annoying face, that’s the only photo I could find that clearly shows the contrast of color between my face and body. Not a look I prefer. Note: That’s without makeup.

By the fourth week, my skin was really getting clear and my dark spots were fading significantly. The doctor removed the nightly prescription for CHAT 2%. The mix of essentia to blending cream was also changed from 1:1 to 1:2.

By the end of the 2nd month my skin was super clear. But, as seen in the photo above, my face was urgh whiter than my body.

I asked the doctor if I could stop altogether. She said that the routine should be done for 3 months (apparently, that’s how long it takes before you get significant results from tretinoin). I guess, since my face was being literally peeled off, the results came super fast.

Anyway, I can’t believe I had a conversation with a doctor that went something like this:
ME: Can I quit the routine?
Dermatologist: Why? Your skin will not have that texture anymore, and you won’t remain white.
ME: O_o I just want my pimples gone. I don’t want to be whiter.
Dermatologist: (Seemed surprised.)

I only re-purchased CHAT 2% and Essentia Cream (didn’t buy the rest of the other stuff). I started using Physiogel Cleanser and Lotion to replace the kojic acid soap and the moisturizer.

I used the products until I ran out. I then started using drugstore skin care products (I can’t remember which ones). I thought that my acne wouldn’t come back. I found out the hard way that there seems to be no cure to acne. It can only be treated. It might stop if it’s just a phase i.e. if your hormones normalize or if your skin suddenly starts shedding efficiently.

Basically, if you have acne as a disease, you would probably have to treat it for as long as you have that skin condition. As expected, my acne came back in about a month. That’s when I started reading a lot about acne and the ingredients of the products that were prescribed to me. That was also how I stumbled upon tretinoin creams and Maxi-Peel.

Note: I don’t use hydroquinone products anymore, but I still use tretinoin. My current skin care routine is at the bottom part of this post: Easing Into Tretinoin.

Next: [A Step-by-Step Guide On How I Would Use Maxi-Peel]

28 Comment

  1. Hi Rae I would like to recommend some moisturizer and sunblock cream while using maxi peel? Im just starting using maxi peel this week. Thanks.

      1. Sorry my fault, what I mean is could you suggest some moisturizer and sunblock cream products to use while using maxi peel?

        1. For sunblock, I really like Biore’s stuff. High spf but not too expensive. Watsons Cover FX has a new one sa sachet, too. SPF 50 din. For moisturizer, I use those na may niacinamide. I read a study that it helps lessen irritation daw. Most of Olay’s moisturizers have niacinamide. Ponds, too pero di ako hiyang. Right now I’m using Aromatica Aloe (parang gel consistency na super light).

          1. hindi ako hiyang sa Olay at Ponds ngkakapimples ako pag gumagamit ako ng creams, as of now nag pe.peel na skin ko question po mag continue pa rin po ba ako sa pag gamit kahit nagstart na mag peel?

  2. Hi Rae, Thanks for sharing with us your blog. I’ve searched about how to use the Maxi Peel right for first timer then I found yours. I’m planing to buy Maxi Peel but What number do I need to use for the first timer? Am I going to use any soap? I’m badly need a cure for this… Thanks

  3. Hi Rae, after reading your blog I went to Aesthetic Science clinic to try their services because I’m suffering from adult acne. I knew how you feel when you’re on that stage and in my case, it’s really stressing me out. I have undergone Glycolic Acid Cleaning at their clinic and it’s super sakit talaga. After that they gave me a medication routine, which is the same with yours, but they told me to use CHAT 2% during night time only. I just got their products recently and told me to be back after a week to check my skin. I haven’t done TCA peel yet or Jessner’s Peel because they have to test it first on my skin. I’m worried that I might experience a “raw face”. Have you tried these services before? How’s your experience back then? Thanks!

    1. Yup! No significant difference between TCA and Jessner’s Peel for me. So, I was ok with just TCA (plus, cheaper). They usually do that after the facial/ cleaning. It’s super harsh but I think it made the treatment faster. I think if I didn’t soak the cotton pad with CHAT and if I waited after washing, I wouldn’t have experienced “raw face”.

    1. I think it’s ok. But make sure to space out washing your face and putting on maxi peel, about 15 to 20 mins, to minimize the peeling. Make sure your skin is completely dry. :)

  4. Hmmm. The prescription products you listed sound suspiciously like the products in the Rejuvenating Set I used before. It was starting to work, I think, but I stopped because I was outdoors a lot of time back then and I was afraid of literally burning my skin. Tsk. Maybe I’ll try again sometime later..

      1. It would seem so. :P But at least now I have some peace of mind knowing it actually has a scientific basis, the prescription coming from a reputable skin clinic. Lol.

        1. Ang pangit kasi minsan sa mga random and/or repackaged sets, di mo alam kung san nanggaling and kung anong ingredients. But no doubt, they do work. Kaya siguro preferred ko maxi-peel. Kung may mangyari man sakin, meron akong ma-i-dedemanda. Hahaha.

  5. very detailed and i don’t understand wanted a white face while the rest of the body is a shade darker…i’m afraid of maxipeel but i wanted to use it in some parts of my body that needs some lightening para pumantay naman kulay ko…well wait for your next post

  6. I love the very detailed account of your journey. I suddenly feel super fortunate that I never experienced such drastic acne, and I actually have better skin now than back when I was a teenager :knocks on wood:. The thing I found surprising (but I really shouldn’t) is that it really takes a long time to treat skin issues, but that it will get better with the right medication. I do have some issues on my arm, and my derma said it’ll take weeks or months before I see any difference. Your story brings me hope!

    1. I hope it gets better. I don’t know why it takes that long too. Maybe they work like psych meds. It takes time before the chemicals in the brain to normalize, maybe that’s also true for skin cells.

  7. Is it so hard to believe that not every Filipina wants a whiter skin? Haha

    I think the drug they injected you with for your pimples is a low potent steroid. It’s an anti-inflammatory drug. I’ve talked to dermatologists who self-inject themselves with it just to get rid of a pimple overnight.

    1. Wow, that’s convenient. Sometimes I wish I was stubborn enough to pursue medicine/ dermatology. I remember reading a medical encyclopedia when I was in high school.

What do you think?

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