Saturday, July 9, 2011

My Jessner Peel Horror Story

Jessner with caution! Before applying any peel a esthetician should take into consideration where the clients skin falls on the Fitzpatrick scale.  I, for example fall between 4-5.  They should also know the clients full ethnic background.  I am African American, Irish, German, and Native American.  Irish & German skin tends to be sensitive.  African American skin needs to be treated even more caution, because the more melanin, the more there is to damage.  Native American skin should also be treated with caution.  While in school, my beauty school instructor told me if someone has Native American background, their skin sensitivity will go up on the Fitzpatrick scale.  This makes my skin EXTREMELY sensitive.  She was right, my skin is very sensitive and should be treated thus.

 About 2 years ago I was looking around for a new spa.  I chose a medical spa to get a peel and asked to get something stronger then a glycolic.  We learn in beauty school that if a treatment is not right for a client, simply let them know that treatment is not appropriate for their skin.  Estheticians can turn away people from a treatment and educate a client on a better one suited for them.  The esthetician said I would be fine getting a Jessner (salicylic acid, lactic acid, resorcinal) and even do a couple layers.  I even got my upper back done. The esthetician added on my lower back, which I did not want.  My lower back had no scars, the skin was flawless.

After the peel my skin seemed fine, I treated it with extra care.  I asked my mom to take a look at my back because it was hurt, felt like a BAD burn.  She started crying and said it looked like I had skin cancer.  This pissed me off.  I told her about the peel and it should heal.  I emailed the esthetician, she suggested I use triple antibiotic on it.  I had no plans to let her "fix it" or make up for it, no thank you.  My upper back healed, but my lower back now has permanent light spots (hypopigmentation).  My FACE is damaged as well, I now have light spots on my cheeks, chin, jaw and some on my neck.  

I feel very angry that someone has permanently damaged my skin.  I take this experience as a greater motivation to educate clients on what is appropriate for their skin and what is NOT.  I am completely comfortable with losing a client, instead of damaging their skin.  I am here to help others, listen to them, and educate them.  Through this experience I have learned its easier and safer to explain why a gentle and less aggressive treatment is safer then a aggressive peel 2-3 layers.  Now that I am a Licensed Esthetician, I will never apply a Jessner on anyone over a Fitzpatrick 3.  I would not feel comfortable doing that.  I know now to take extra caution.

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