I had a post-heartbreak chemical peel and here’s what happened…

  • Marie Claire is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy.
  • Publicist Kate Morgan went through a devastating break up and her skin seriously reacted. After trying everything she could, she finally resorted to a strong chemical peel. She explains the process - with pictures...

    My skin is angry with me.

    After a very bad breakup following the discovery that my boyfriend (whom I had planned to marry, no biggie) had cheated on me, my skin FLIPPED.
    The painful truth of his many infidelities was, quite literally, written all over my face. As my world literally felt like it was collapsing around me, my skin broke out into painful, reddened eruptions that I had no control over. On top of everything that was happening emotionally me and my complexion – were a bit of a mess. 

    I tried everything to fix it; natural remedies, a holistic approach, change of diet, change of lifestyle – but the breakouts kept happening, and with that, my confidence completely plummeted. But a friend who suffered with skin issues recommended a chemical peel – if I’m honest, it was my last hope.
    I’ve always been terrified at the thought of a chemical peel, let’s thank Samantha Jones for that (cliche too, being that I am a publicist!) No amount of SATC fabulous sass was going to make me any less nervous. The one thing you need after a break up is to feel and LOOK good again. If dousing my skin in chemicals was the way forward – then I had to give it a go. I needed something. 
    I arrived at my consultation with Dr. Ramin Sarshad of Cosmetique Aesthetics without a slick of makeup, just me and my worn out, blemished skin. You could clearly see the debris left from my battle with post breakup breakouts; the scars were so angry and red. 
    Dr. Sarshad makes me feel instantly at ease and analyzes my skin and from there, determines what peel is right for me. We go with the ‘Jessner’s Peel’. I take comfort in the fact my face is in the hands of a medical doctor, no disrespect to the talented estheticians out there. 
    The Jessner’s Peel according to Dr. Sarshad is a “medium strength peel designed to treat extensive skin damage”. Apparently, I would peel and flake for seven days, but after that I’m on the Smooth Skin Express. I’m officially on board now. 
    First my skin is prepped with a solution that smells like nail varnish remover. The smell is clinical, and I feel a light tingling sensation. The ‘Chemical Peel’ is then applied. The Jessner’s Peel is comprised of salicylic acid (a beta hydroxy acid), lactic acid (an alpha hydroxy acid) and resorcinol. What this translates to me as is “F%&* – this *really* stings”. My eyes are watering, I am cursing under my breath, I am MAD with life right now. Luckily, I only had to endure this hate for mankind for three minutes. That’s it, three simple minutes and I was done. 
    I then wash my face with a soap free cleanser, and Dr. Sarshad applies a cooling serum and high factor SPF. I reach for the biggest pair of sunglasses I own, and hide from the world for the next 24 hours. 
    A few hours after my Peel my skin was raw, hot, red and similar to the sensation of sunburn, I was also feeling very very tight too. Tight to a level that I didn’t think it would be physically possible to smile, luckily – I wasn’t particularly in the smiling mood. I called Dr. Sarshad a little panicked, to which he firstly, calmed me down and secondly, suggested a ‘compression mask’ as a solution to soothe my very sore skin. 
    I reach for my Dermovia Compression Mask. It has been in the fridge for an hour and is cold as ice; it feels like heaven is gracing me with its sweet touch. ‘Compression’ is a technique used in the medical field to help heal wounded skin. I leave my Lace Face Mask on for an hour; the handy ear and chin straps mean I am completely mobile while I soothe my skin. The solution in the mask stayed moist for an hour and provided the sweetest relief. 
    I didn’t sleep very well the first night post peel, mainly because my mind was racing i.e. “My god, I hope my skin heals after this.” and “Oh shit, my mother is going to kill me.” The next morning I am still red, but not nearly as aggressive looking as it was the night before. I feel really thirsty and dehydrated, so I make a pact to myself to skip the wine (sob) and stick to water and herbal tea for the next few days. Dr. Sarshad kindly gave me some Alastin Skincare to use – which is what he recommends to his patients post peel – and I reapply the Alastin Skin Nectar every few hours, it feel glorious on my hyper sensitive skin.
    The peeling starts. I was told by the team at Cosmetique Aesthetics that the centre panels of my face would peel first; they are indeed correct. I am still red in patches too, but apparently this is a sign of new skin, so – hooray for that.
    Around my mouth and nose continue to peel a few days after I had the treatment, and I have to fight every urge in my body not to pick. I leave the house to run an errand, the young man at the UPS Store did not know where to look: I feel awkward, he looks terrified. Errand done, I work from home for the rest of the day. That week in fact, I am officially hibernating until the peel process is complete.
    My mouth continues to peel – not seeing much flaking action anywhere else. Apparently, this is quite normal. At this point in the game it isn’t even the peeling itself so much that is bothering me, it is the tightness. So. Very. Tight. 
    The tightness subsides somewhat and the peeling is becoming less aggressive. The redness had subsided too.
    A week goes by and as the last little flake of skin comes off the result is pretty darn impressive. My skin texture has never been so smooth, the tone and clarity of my complexion is even, blemish and scar free – like I’ve literally wiped the slate clean. 
    For me, the experience was symbolic and cathartic. As I was shedding my skin I felt like I was letting go of a very toxic part of my life. Now when I looked in the mirror, I no longer saw a heartbroken, devastated shell of myself – instead, now I was greeted by a powerful, confident woman who is ready to put her best face forward. 
    In short, I am really impressed with the outcome. Was it worth the down days? The tightness? The redness? The embarrassment of having to leave the house looking just really odd? Simply put: YES. Would I have it done again? Without hesitation – but it’s also because I went to a really skilled, recommended doctor. Chemicals like this in the wrong hands could be very dangerous. 
    I now have to be extra vigilant with the SPF, since my skin is essentially new. This picture above, is my new skin – and I finally feel like I can move forward.

    Reading now