how smoking impacts the skin

November 4, 2014

Smoking is one of the most controllable causes of disease and death today. It is also a major contributor to many skin conditions and complications, such as skin discoloration, breakdown of collagen and elastin, deep wrinkling, skin aging, poor wound healing and abnormal skin growths.

Our skin relies on oxygen in order to function properly. Air is pulled into our lungs, travels down to the smallest air sacs in the lungs, and is then carried throughout the body via the tiny and intricate network of capillaries. Without sufficient oxygen, the body and the skin suffer.

Nicotine in cigarette smoke causes vasoconstriction or blood vessel contraction, which limits the actual size of the vessel. Carbon monoxide in cigarettes bonds with oxygen, greatly reducing the amount available to the body. This combination of nicotine and carbon monoxide not only limits the size of the vessel, but also the amount of oxygen flowing through them.

some not so fun facts

  • Just one cigarette restricts blood flow for up to 90 minutes.
  • The body produces more blood vessels to compensate for the oxygen restriction due to smoking.
  • De-oxygenated skin often exhibits a grey or yellow tone.
  • It only takes 15-20 seconds for cigarette smoke to impact each part of the body.
  • Blood circulation is significantly decreased due to the vasoconstrictive nature of nicotine.

The sooner a smoker decides to quit, the sooner the vital organs and the skin start to heal. However, the breakdown of the dermal layers is not easily recovered by simply putting out the cigarette. Rebuilding of collagen, repairing elastin and improving the overall function of the dermis must be instigated.

Regular chemical peels will improve not only the production of collagen, but will also improve the tone and texture of the skin. Daily use of collagen-building topical products is also a vital component to reversing the signs of aging due to smoking. Integrating ingredients like vitamin C during the morning and retinoids at night, along with advanced peptides and epidermal growth factor, will prolong the benefits gained from monthly chemical peels.

The effects of cigarettes reach nearly every organ of the body, including the skin. The sooner a smoker puts down the cigarettes, the sooner the body will begin healing from the damage of the nicotine and various chemicals contained within. The skin, however, typically requires more attention. With monthly chemical peels and a comprehensive collagen-building daily care regimen, the skin can begin the recovery process.


sifting through the noise

January 23, 2014

Every day, new products come out boasting to be the best in the industry. It’s true that there are some great product lines out there, but what is most important is to make sure that you partner with a clinician whose philosophy aligns with yours.

Some treatments are more aggressive than others, and clinicians need to educate the public and their patients on what is best for their individual skin type. Most importantly, clinicians must be able to explain to their patients what is taking place within their skin when various types of chemical exfoliating products and peels are applied to their skin, as well as why certain procedures have been chosen.

The term “chemical peel” creates many scary images in the minds of our patients, especially when the term “chemical” is used in conjunction with the word “peel.” However, the good news is that peel formulations have become very sophisticated over the years and many actually improve the overall health of the skin.

In simple terms, there are different depths of penetration. The deeper dermal peels which literally remove the epidermis, require long periods of downtime and are typically applied in a physician’s office,  are still used for deeper wrinkles and surface imperfections such as acne scarring. This is usually what comes to the patient’s mind and causes a significant amount of fear.

Superficial – or epidermal peels – are designed to only penetrate into the upper layers of the skin.  Many peels are now formulated as blends which are even more gentle than a single-ingredient formulation and, in some cases, are so gentle the patient may not even see any visible exfoliation; however, they will still be able to see visible results with little to no downtime.

There is also some confusion surrounding chemical peels causing thinning of the skin when used on a regular basis.  It is most important to understand that the epidermal cells are continuously produced and are supported by the body’s own epidermal stem cells.  There is no limit to this cellular production; however, as we age and with over-exposure to UV rays, our natural cell turnover slows down and our epidermal stem cells aren’t as active as in younger skin.  Superficial, blended chemical peel formulations actually encourage cellular renewal and help to speed up cell turnover while stimulating collagen and elastin production, reducing the appearance of brown spots, fine lines and wrinkles; many also introduce important hydrating ingredients back into the skin.  There are even formulations gentle enough for sensitive skin and rosacea.  It’s really all about the blend!

Remember that these are superficial peels only designed to penetrate within the upper layers of the skin; dermal peels do penetrate into living tissue, and there would be significant damage to the skin if peels such as these were performed on a regular, monthly basis.

Share your peel experiences below or at the PCA SKIN Facebook page now!

Vogue dives into chemical peels with PCA SKIN’s expert advice

April 29, 2013

In the May 2013 issue of Vogue, PCA SKIN®‘s chief scientific officer, Dr. Jennifer Linder, is featured dispelling myths about chemical peels and assuring readers that they are the best thing you can do for your skin. The article, titled “Lift Off,” highlights Ultra Peel® I and explains the many benefits regular chemical peel treatments have on skin health, while amplifying the effects of daily care in the process.

Vogue, May 2013

Vogue, May 2013

“I always say, ‘You don’t have to peel with a peel,’” Dr. Linder says. Regarding Ultra Peel® I, she noted that following the treatment, “the skin takes on this lovely glow and looks more even.” When performed regularly, Linder said, “you can get to the same end points with peels as you can with lasers.”

article highlights

  • The latest cocktails have yielded gentle peels for virtually every skin type and issue: Have sun damage or discoloration? There’s a peel for that. Bothered by fine lines? Or just dull skin? Get a peel. Is acne a problem? A peel will help.
  • The new thinking trades the no-pain-no-gain mentality for the more palatable slow-and-steady-wins-the-race: Combinations of multiple exfoliating acids in lower strengths encourage the skin to shed its top layers, along with dead, complexion-clogging surface cells and impurities.
  • Beyond the luminous, near-instant gratification achieved by so many peels, [there is] another reason to incorporate one into a regular regimen: They help pave the way for daily skin care to perform better by removing dead surface cells that may be impeding its absorption.

Linder ends the piece saying, “Peels are the one thing that every dermatologist can do to help their patient’s age gracefully. The experience is much like getting a facial, but you get more out of it. You’re actually doing something to change the long-term health of the skin [and] it’s such an easy thing to do.”

Pick up the May 2013 issue of Vogue, on newsstands now, to read the full article. Follow PCA SKIN on Facebook and Twitter, and share the story on your own social channels to get customers buzzing about your peel offerings!

Interested in offering Ultra Peel® I in your practice? Call PCA SKIN at 877.PCA.SKIN [722.7546] or visit for more information.

from the PCA SKIN newsroom

April 10, 2013

As many of us recognize, the movers and shakers of the beauty media industry hold major influence on consumer buying trends. PCA SKIN is dedicated to building awareness among this influential group to provide third-party expert value to PCA SKIN products and treatments. Leverage the recent PCA SKIN media placements below in your practice and social channels to drive sales of your PCA SKIN offerings:

  • RUNWAY Magazine (Spring Issue) – “Springtime Renewal” featuring PCA SKIN’s ExLinea® Peptide Smoothing Serum.

  • – “To Peel or Not to Peel” featuring PCA SKIN’s enhanced Jessner’s peels and Sensi Peel®.
  • People en Español (April Issue) – “Rostro” featuring PCA SKIN’s Creamy Cleanser.



Love the chatter surrounding a specific product or treatment, but don’t carry it? Call us at 877.PCA.SKIN [722.7546].

shaving considerations for men

March 22, 2013

The skin industry is finally making a dent on the treatment of men.  There are many different products that are marketed toward men’s skin health, but what about when they come to your treatment room? Men, too, have acne, uneven skin tone and aging concerns, all of which can be addressed with a chemical peel treatment.

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of


PCA SKIN® has blended and enhanced peel solutions, such as the Sensi Peel®, which creates little to no irritation and downtime — exactly what men want, not to look like they just had a treatment done!

But there are some different contraindications when treating men’s skin as opposed to women. The most important, and often overlooked, is shaving. Approximately 1.3 billion men use a razor blade to shave worldwide, with 75% of them shaving their face daily. Shaving not only removes unwanted hair, but also removes part of the stratum corneum, much like microdermabrasion or a light dermabrasion treatment. When performing either of these two treatments prior to a peel, we know the peel penetration will increase due to the removal of dead surface cells. Therefore, a man shaving the same day as a peel treatment will cause similar results as doing a microdermabrasion with a peel.

Keeping this in mind, it is recommended to ask your male patients when they last shaved. This will help you gauge their sensitivity and may alter the peel treatment you were planning on performing. We always want to ensure men wait at least 24 hours to shave after the peel treatment as well to limit any undue trauma and irritation that can aggravate current skin conditions.

Another great recommendation would be to have them use Total Wash Face & Body Cleanser as a shaving gel. This formulation is blended with surfactants, calming and soothing agents, as well as hydrating ingredients. It helps to clear follicle debris while providing the perfect amount of slip and glide for shaving. This is also great for women to shave their legs, too.

PCA SKIN's Total Wash Face & Body Cleanser

PCA SKIN’s Total Wash Face & Body Cleanser

Have you treated male patients with any specific PCA SKIN peel to achieve incredible results? Share your story in the comments below or on the PCA SKIN Facebook page.

PCA SKIN reaches influencers through beauty media events

March 13, 2013

A valuable component of supporting our PCA SKIN® professionals is our dedication to increasing consumer awareness for our professional treatments and daily care products. As part of this commitment, PCA SKIN has developed key relationships with top-tier beauty editors to leverage their platforms in order to reach our key consumer audiences. These relationships have resulted in PCA SKIN products and spokespeople being featured in such publications as Vogue, Redbook, People en Español, Prevention, O, The Oprah Magazine and many others.

Earlier this year, PCA SKIN took the opportunity to host two exclusive media events–one on each coast–to further engage with a variety of beauty editors and influencers. Read on to learn more about each event and the exciting ways we were able to educate and let media experience PCA SKIN. 

PCA Education: Treating Skin Through Conclusive Science

Harvard Club NYC, January 24, 2013

New York beauty editors are constantly bombarded with the latest products and ingredients, many of which are not always backed by science. Leveraging our authority as experts in skin health, we invited editors, writers and bloggers to an exclusive media-only seminar at the Harvard Club NYC presented by PCA SKIN Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Jennifer Linder. The seminar covered ingredients proven to work, ingredients to avoid, treating common skin concerns and chemical peels.

Dr. Jennifer Linder of PCA SKIN speaks at The Harvard Club in NYC.

Dr. Jennifer Linder of PCA SKIN speaks at The Harvard Club in NYC.

Media in attendance included Vogue, All You, Beauty Blogging Junkie, Cosmopolitan, Fashion.Style.Beauty, Good Housekeeping, Health, New York SCENE, Parents, People en Español, Prevention, Refinery29, Self, Seventeen, ThisThatBeauty, Town & Country, Vogue and W. 

Behind the Scenes: Secrets for Healthy Skin

Presented by PCA SKIN and Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery, Inc.

Beverly Hills, February 18, 2013

Red-carpet award season means amazing dresses, accessories and, of course, glowing, radiant celebrity skin. PCA SKIN professionals know that one of the best ways to reach this level of skin health is through customized chemical peels and treatments, yet there are still so many misconceptions about peels amongst consumers. In order to educate the Hollywood/LA media scene on of all the benefits of chemical peels, PCA SKIN, in partnership with The SPA by Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery, Inc., hosted a day-long event where select media were invited to experience a customized PCA SKIN peel and learn more about PCA SKIN professional treatments.

Many of the top LA-based beauty influencers were in attendance including: Allure, BeautyNewsLA, Blush, E! Online, Examiner LA, FabFitFun, Hollywood Weekly, Los Angeles Times, myGloss and SheKnows.

In addition to keeping an eye on our social media channels and press room for articles coming out of PCA SKIN media events, we will be launching a quarterly newsletter that will be emailed to all of our clients with media highlights from the previous three months. The first edition of this newsletter will be sent out in early April 2013.

We hope you are able to leverage PCA SKIN media placements in your practices, and circulate them throughout your social media channels as a vehicle to help promote and sell your PCA SKIN professional treatment and daily care product offerings to your client base.

myths/truths about chemical peels

March 7, 2013

When patients hear the words “chemical peel” they have many different thoughts as to what the actual outcome will be. Due to a lot of misinformation readily available on the internet and in the general media, chemical peeling can make people nervous. It is the clinician’s responsibility to explain treatment outcomes and why they may vary. Discussing patient expectations during the initial consultation to clear up any misconceptions surrounding chemical peels ensures a positive experience for both the patient and the clinician. Our philosophy incorporates a progressive, rather than aggressive, approach. This way, patients will experience little or no downtime following a peel, yet still achieve outstanding results.

PCA SKIN's peels are self-neutralizing, leaving patients with little to no downtime following treatment.

PCA SKIN’s peels are self-neutralizing, leaving patients with little to no downtime following treatment.

myths and truths

  1. Skin should “peel” after having a peel treatment – As clinicians, many of us have had the experience of treating a patient with a chemical peel, after which they come back to you and say, “Your treatment didn’t work because I didn’t peel.” Visible exfoliation doesn’t determine the efficacy of treatment. Generally, healthy skin has less visible exfoliation. Exfoliation often takes place at the cellular level and is not always apparent to the naked eye. Conversely, some patients’ skin is so impacted that it can take a few peels to loosen dead cells enough to allow them to shed. Typically, these patients will see little or no peeling initially, and then see sloughing after a few treatments. Using analogies that a patient can relate to can be an incredibly useful tool when explaining to a patient why they may not peel. For example, feeling drowsy after taking pain medication is a side effect, just as peeling is a side effect to a chemical peel; some people may feel drowsy when taking the medication and some may not, just as some may experience exfoliation from a peel and some may not – either way, the efficacy of the medication or peel is not contingent on the side effect.
  2. My skin is too sensitive for a chemical peel – Sensitive skin is defined as a heightened intolerance to topical products or external factors. Sensitive Skin presents itself as red, irritated or scaly. PCA SKIN utilizes ingredient blends to combat sensitive skin presentations. Our philosophy follows the low-dose approach; meaning, inducing the least amount of trauma to the skin to achieve optimal results. Sensi Peel® is formulated primarily for extremely sensitive skin types. This multi-faceted treatment also provides calming and soothing properties and helps to clear follicle debris, making it an excellent choice for helping sensitive skin types. Hydrate: Therapeutic Oat Milk Mask was strategically formulated to soothe and hydrate impaired skin conditions of all kinds. Oat milk is also a potent antioxidant that effectively manages dry or sensitive skin conditions.
  3. All peels must be neutralized – Straight alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) peels, such as glycolic and lactic acid, require neutralization with either water or a weak base like sodium bicarbonate. Unfortunately, the neutralization process can free hydrogen and, therefore, reactivate the acid and increase the heat sensation and discomfort in the skin. This increases the potential for negative outcomes and side effects. However, peels such as the Jessner’s and trichloroacetic acid (TCA) peels, and retinol treatments do not require neutralization. The water and lipid content in the skin leads to self-neutralization of the aforementioned acids. PCA SKIN combines AHA acids with TCA or Jessner’s peels, along with ingredients like retinol, salicylic acid, antioxidants and calming and soothing agents in bases that provide excellent delivery systems. The synergy of these ingredients is such that the peels are self-neutralizing, allowing for maximum effectiveness with little or no downtime.
  4. It’s fine to hit the gym after having a peel – The epidermis is comprised of several layers and when a chemical peel is applied, even if it’s very superficial, it can cause a separation of these layers. Any activity that induces heat and sweating, either from a work out, an athletic activity or sitting in the sauna, can cause water to become trapped between the epidermal layers. This may result in blistering and, depending on the severity of the blistering, lead to an uneven skin tone. Another reason to stay cool following a peel is that internal heat can also lead to uneven skin tone. PCA SKIN recommends remaining cool for 48 hours post-peel to avoid any heat-related complications post-treatment.
  5. Acetone is best to prep skin for peels – Skin must be clean and degreased to maximize penetration of chemical peel solutions. While acetone is often used because it is a strong and biocompatible solvent, it is not ideal for pre-peel prep. Acetone not only removes excess sebum that hinders peel penetration, but it also over-strips skin of essential cholesterol and lipids. This can leave skin overly dry post-procedure and last for weeks following treatment, causing undue discomfort for patients. The lactic and citric acid base of Smoothing Toner provides an astringent that gently and effectively removes any remaining sebum and debris post-cleansing, without drying out skin.
  6. My patient can expect the same outcome each time they receive a peel – The amount of visible exfoliation depends on current skin conditions, combined with atmospheric conditions like humidity, which may cause flakes to adhere to the skin more so than in dry climates. Further, there may be a lot of visible exfoliation after the first treatment and less for the second, but this does not mean the first treatment worked better than the second. Moreover, someone who has previously had peel treatments may not have as much visible exfoliation as someone who has never or rarely gets treatments, as these patients will have more build-up. Everyone has a different tolerance for peels and that tolerance tends to grow with every treatment.
  7. Peels are not indicated for drier skin types – A well-formulated chemical peel minimizes the amount of impacted skin cells lying on the surface of the skin while delivering hydrating, firming, strengthening and brightening ingredients into the skin. Once the skin is free of the dull surface layer, any products applied topically will penetrate better, leaving skin healthy and hydrated. PCA SKIN’s elegantly blended peels offer options for all Fitzpatrick types and skin conditions.
  8. Frequency of treatments is not important – Regular in-office treatments are critical to maintaining optimal skin health. We recommend basing frequency of treatment on the condition. Uneven skin tone may be treated every three weeks and acne (all types) may be treated every two weeks. Sensitive skin may be treated every four weeks, while aging skin may be treated every three weeks.
  9. A daily care regimen and sunscreen only matter if I have problem skin or I’m out in the sun all day – Along with receiving regular treatments from a clinician; a patient’s daily care regimen is just as important to maintaining skin health. Patients must manage their own skin at least twice a day; that’s 60 times in any given month vs. a single monthly treatment from a clinician. Therefore, one professional treatment won’t be beneficial if the patient is not doing his or her own part on a daily basis to maintain the health of their skin. Further, using a broad spectrum sunscreen is especially important post-peel as the procedure sensitizes skin to the sun. Remember, peels work at the cellular level and are still working long after you’ve had the treatment. Thus, it’s important to incorporate sun protection into your daily care regimen.
  10. Peels are safe for patients with vitiligo – Vitiligo is an autoimmune disorder in which the body attacks its own pigment-producing cells (melanocytes), resulting in areas of depigmented skin. Because its presentation is on the skin, it makes sense that patients would think that chemical peels would help to “even out” skin tone. This, however, is untrue. Because this is an autoimmune disorder, treating it topically with a chemical peel will have little to no effect. While chemical peels are not the recommended course of action, there are other prescription medications and therapies available.

PCA SKIN originated advanced blended chemical peel formulations. Our vision is to improve people’s lives through our professional treatments for healthy, beautiful skin. PCA SKIN treatments and products are available exclusively through licensed skin health professionals that have been trained and certified by PCA SKIN.

If you have any questions about chemical peels, feel free to contact our highly trained team at 877.PCA.SKIN [722.7546] or email us at