Dr. Suneel Chilukuri offers observations and opportunities for patient self-care and maintenance during the pandemic.
With the recent restrictions due to COVID-19, patients all over the world have been unable to regularly visit their medical and aesthetic offices. While some of these visits are for beauty augmentation, the majority are for self-care and maintenance. Although physical access to facials, chemical peels and lasers is still limited for many, technology allows physicians and health care providers to visit virtually to address aesthetic concerns and enhance skin health. Many of our patients have been asking us how to take advantage of this social downtime for their skin. While quality time with skincare physicians and/or aestheticians is integral to skincare, there are some other great options available while we continue to restrict and/or limit face-to-face contact.
Because our patients are focusing on correcting and improving their skin during this pause from social engagements, we have started to dive deeper into options for at-home peels. While we usually use in-office PCA Skin chemical peels administered by my aestheticians or myself, we have found some very effective alternatives that our patients can use twice a week at home. These are not only safe, but they can effectively enhance our in-office treatments.
We have been seeing great results with their medicated Pick Me Up Booster Pads which incorporate alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids to increase cell turnover and clean pores. While not the same strength as what a patient would have in our office, these are very clean, efficacious formulations that provide a great alternative to having a professional chemical peel.
If the patient is on prescription tretinoin, I ask him or her to increase usage to twice a day for four to seven days until peeling is seen. For those patients who are exercising outside, I recommend one of the PCA Skin retinols as the retinol is stabilized with omnisome technology and are not degraded by sunlight.
Clients with retinoid sensitivity can still benefit ISDIN’s Melatonik which contains bakuchiol shown to be as effective as tretinoin without the irritation. Another excellent retinol alternative is ClarityRx’s Sleep It Off Mask. This product is applied on clean skin and has a warming sensation as it activates. This unique mask then converts into a moisturizer to be left on overnight.
Masks, too, have been a very popular addition to our patients’ skincare routines. We carry a variety of masks to specifically address each patient’s concerns, and with this new-found commitment-free time at home, many of our patients are alternating different masks to keep their skin refreshed and glowing. In fact, over the past three months, our monthly at-home mask sales have been seven times higher than average. Typical usage is two to three times per week. The mask is applied and left on anywhere between 15 and 30 minutes before rinsing off.
Dr. Suneel Chilukuri is a board-certified dermatologist in Houston, Tex., who specializes in cosmetic dermatology. He is an international trainer for numerous cosmetic dermatology products and procedures and a member of the Aesthetic Authority Editorial Advisory Board.