Pampering gone wrong
June 30, 2010 9:25 AM   Subscribe

I'madumbassfilter: I used a 70% Glycolic Acid chemical peel and, well, I certainly shouldn't have been drinking while doing it. I have a rash across my face. Note: I am prone to hyperpigmentation. What do I do now?

So I've been having minor skin problems. A cyst in the middle of my forehead right before my period, my nose has been weirdly thickly oily and dry and ripe with blackheads and whiteheads at the same time (those pore strips from Biore didn't work and neither did the Honey Snap Out of It face scrub), and my once lovely skin has accumulated a fair amount of hyperpigmentation marks (like little chocolate chips) from a) once a month deep pimples b) ingrown hairs after threading despite application of witch hazel and jojoba oil and c) around my nostrils because I keep getting monthly colds and the softest toilet paper I used (in a pinch -- and it was extremely soft) to blow my nose roughed up the skin around my nose and left it darker when it healed. So I was sick of feeling ugly and pancaking concealer on my brown spots.

And so I, after a rough day at work, decided I was sick of it. I had a couple of glasses of wine and applied the peel after washing my face. Not a half minute later, I washed it off with a washcloth in the shower and lots of water. I accidentally forgot and used hot water to wash it off instead of cold. I then applied a ton of Neosporin to my face and went to bed.

I woke up with a rash, no doubt due to the chemical peel, even where I thickly applied Neosporin.

I can't leave work to go to the doctor (guess who already went twice this week to the dentist and cut out of work to go get a scrip for a UTI! This moi!), so I'm applying jojoba oil, neosporin and Nivea to my face, and staying out of the sun. The jojoba oil was mainly because I freaked out and thought it would sooth the skin. I later dug up the Nivea.

I have tan, East Indian skin.

Is there anything else I can do to help heal this rash/burn? Relatedly, I'm scheduled for a microdermabrasion next month (at a dermatologist's office -- she was offering a special deal). Is that a really bad idea? I'm desperate to a) get rid of the burn without it hyperpigmenting and b) get rid of all the hyperpigmentation.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
70% is very strong and since you already had compromised skin that makes things even worse.

Plain Vaseline will speed healing. Apply it all over at night. During the day obviously take extra precautions not to get much of any sun on you (may I suggest a hat or an umbrella?).

Microdermabrasion isn't that great. Stop touching and picking your face. You need something to take care of the bacteria. I suggest Teraseptic, its what hospitals use. Once your face is somewhat healed again, you could pickup a soft acne scrub with low strength salicylic acid to use once a day (I suggest Neutrogena?)

About me: my parents are dermatologists.
posted by audio at 9:47 AM on June 30, 2010

Maybe you should call the dermatologist's office and ask.

Otherwise, I think "leave your skin alone for a while" is probably the best you can do. Once things have healed up, you can deal with the acne/oil issue and the hyperpigmentation using slightly less nuclear tactics.

(My anti-acne routine is to wash twice daily with Cetaphil and apply 5% Panoxyl gel to my entire face afterward. On top of that, sunscreen or makeup containing sunscreen is a good idea. But being as gentle to your skin as possible is the best way to promote healing and prevent hyperpigmentation.)
posted by Ouisch at 9:48 AM on June 30, 2010

IANAD(ermatologist) and I don't want to scold you for something that's already been done, but isn't 70% peel really strong for at home use? Did it have any instructions? Can you at least call a dermatologist to ask what you should be putting on your skin? Does the company that makes the peel have a help line?

Since I would think of a peel as being similar to a burn if I had to guess, I would suggest getting 100% pure aloe from a health food store and putting that on the affected area a few times a day. Since you are prone to hyperpigmentation and a peel will make your skin more sensitive to the sun, you also need to wear a wide brimmed hat outside. You should wear sunscreen, but I'd worry that it might aggravate your skin. Maybe try a physical sun block vs. a chemical? You could try a sunscreen made for babies or small children as it should be extra gentle on the skin.

But the above is just a guess. You should call the dermatologist with whom you've scheduled the microdermabrasion, be honest about what you've done, and ask if you should keep the appointment. I'd think that the less you do to your skin right now, the better. No makeup, no strong products, etc.
posted by kaybdc at 9:50 AM on June 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

I would talk to your dermatologist about Retin-A. Microdermabrasion may be too strong for the things you'd like to improve (your skin's overall texture and tone) and Retin-A may give you the results you want in a much more gentle way. Until then, keep using vaseline (I also like Eucerin when my skin is irritated), drink a lot of water, and resist the urge to pick at your skin if it starts to scab or flake.
posted by lucysparrow at 10:18 AM on June 30, 2010

Call your dermatologist's office. My guess is they field questions from overzealous skincare products users with some regularity and will be able to give you guidance on that.

Also, I would avoid buying medical care based on a "special deal". You want an undistracted evaluation from a dermatologist who gets paid whether or not you use the treatment of the moment, right?
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 10:51 AM on June 30, 2010

The bigger question is why is your "once lovely skin" acting so crazy!

Are you on birth control? Are you taking any other meds? Have you radically changed your diet? Your environment? Your soap?

I don't know anything about dermatologists or face treatments. The Nivea I remember from my youth was rather harsh.

I do hope you figure out how to get your good skin back.
posted by mareli at 11:05 AM on June 30, 2010

From the OP:
This is the peel I used. Yes, I know it's bad to not have a professional do it, so I'd only used it in small amounts before with no bad effects, especially after applying neosporin on it.

The label wore off, I wasn't really thinking, I didn't keep it on that long and I shouldn't have used hot water. But it seemed like a good idea at the time

Ther dermatologist said that she would have to see it in order to recommend what I should do and she doesn't accept insurance. I don't generally need a dermatologist so I don't have a regular one. The ones that are in network in my insurance plan are either not accepting new patients or can't see me until next month. Urgent Care is booked up today too and no one is giving recommendations over the phone.

I'm not really looking for tips on controlling acne because I have one that includes benzol peroxide and face washes and jojoba and olive oil, etc. that is fine.

I already know I shouldn't pick my face or touch it when there's acne. I do my best. I'm specifically interested in recommendations for treating the resulting burn. I tried Mederma and it stung, so I took it off with cold cream, and have slathered Neosporin gel all over it.

I'll see if I can get aloe somewhere nearby, but there aren't any health food stores readily accessible to me. But there's a place nearby that has hats, so I'll get one of those when it gets cloudier out, plus some baby sunscreen.

Would putting ice on it help or hurt? Or, I don't know, some kind of tea bag or tea water?
posted by jessamyn at 11:18 AM on June 30, 2010

Re: Aloe - not sure where you live but in the US you can also find it in drug stores and regular grocery stores that carry some health and beauty products. I only suggested a health food store and they are more likely to carry the pure aloe. I would assume that the main problem right now is inflammation so you might want to google gentle products that have anti-inflammatory properties, argan oil is a good one, but it's difficult to come by and fairly expensive. I believe my previously mentioned aloe also has these properties, hence it's use as a treatment for sunburns.
You want to treat the inflammation because if you are prone to hyperpigmentation, you are most likely prone to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

I would avoid any extreme temperatures, so I wouldn't put ice on it. Maybe a cool water compress? You could also try taking some aspirin to help with the inflammation.
posted by kaybdc at 12:07 PM on June 30, 2010

I did this to myself a few months ago. I slathered on Aquaphor before bed after cleansing my face with cool water. The burns healed without leaving any dark spots. I'm also prone to hyperpigmentation and my dermatologist would not recommend it for me. I was prescribed a bleaching cream with 4% hydroquinone and Tretinoin. Most of the hyperpigmentation has faded and I can usually go without makeup.
posted by mamaquita at 12:57 PM on June 30, 2010

Meant to say that my dermatologist wouldn't recommend the microdermabrasion.
posted by mamaquita at 12:58 PM on June 30, 2010

I can usually get 100% aloe in a grocery store, with the sunscreen (in the US, in the summer).

(I get easily sunburned, and aloe is great for soothing sunburn. )
posted by leahwrenn at 1:38 PM on June 30, 2010

Aloe should be easy to find if you're in the US, but make sure it's pure aloe and doesn't have any alcohol or other chemicals in it as some brands do. I think for Mederma, you're not supposed to put it on the actual open wound/burn. Vaseline or neosporin that has Vaseline base could be irritating because it's so greasy. You might think about the neosporin that has more of a cream base. IANAD, and I hope you can talk to one soon, not only because of the burn, but also because you may need to get a new skincare routine if you're having so many different issues at the same time.
posted by ishotjr at 5:43 PM on June 30, 2010

I got a chemical burn from a benzol peroxide cream and my doctor had me use hydrocortisone cream for a week or so. My skin got better very fast, and it helped the pain of it. It isn't recommended for long term use but, for something like that, you need relief.
posted by SuzySmith at 8:54 PM on June 30, 2010

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