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Full-Service Facials

[whitespace] Skin City Skin-Peel Queen: Esthetician Kimberly Padgett of Skin City gives clients great face.

Leslie Williamson



Chemical peels get down to the nitty-gritty

By Diana Rupp

The phrase "chemical peel" conjures up sinister images of men in white coats slathering on acids to burn off dead skin. It sounds dramatic, perhaps even dangerous. I had to get one.

So I went straight to the skin-care specialists at Skin City. Esthetician Kimberly Padgett began the treatment by taking a close look at my face under a magnifying lens. The verdict? It was a mess or, in beauty-speak, "compromised." Turns out I was in desperate need of a traditional facial, which would prep my toxin-laden skin for the peel. The detox process included cleansing, massage (to bring water and oxygen to the skin), a mild steam, extractions (a.k.a. blackhead removal) and a superhydrating custom-blended mask.

After an hour or so of the above work, I was ready for the main event. Padgett applied the chemical to the clogged pores around the perimeter of my face (hair products were the most likely culprit for the blockage). Mildly itchy, it lasted less than two minutes.

Quick and effective, chemical peels penetrate the skin where facials don't reach, dissolving the bonds that glue defunct cells together. The result? A smoother, more even toned complexion.

Made from the common cosmetic ingredient AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid), the solution used in salons is more intense than anything you'd find over the counter. Concentrations above 10 percent are considered a drug, and the peel I received at Skin City was a potent 30 percent. Anything higher requires the services of a dermatologist or plastic surgeon.

Other than a mild tingling, there's no trauma to report; it's more therapeutic than abrasive. I left Skin City feeling incredibly relaxed and refreshed, certain that a flawless complexion was in my future. To achieve this end, Padgett made me promise to drink more water and put my face on a diet of hydrating repair gel, AHA-enriched moisturizer and a protective 15-SPF sunscreen.


Skin City is located at 323 Divisadero, 415/255-4777. Facials are $37-$65; chemical peels start at $30.

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From the November 16-29, 1998 issue of the Metropolitan.

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