This homely villa spa on Beach Road is far from the hospital-style venue implied by the ‘medi-spa’ name: think gentle candlelight, comfy furnishings and a genuinely warm, friendly welcome from staff.
Facial peels work by using strong chemicals to strip the top layer of skin, encouraging it to peel and promoting the growth of healthy new skin. Benefits include a smoother complexion, fewer lines and blemishes, and treatment of acne. Many peels are renowned for being harsh on the skin, yet the new Vi-Peel claims to be gentler, promising that skin will recover in four days, while the peeling can be hidden with moisturiser.
Step by step
My therapist, Zvezda, sits me down for a thorough skin consultation and explains how the peel works – she says I can expect tingling, redness and the eventual peeling of my skin over the next 48 hours. She then cleanses my skin and wipes it with alcohol (‘to make sure all traces of oil are removed’). Next up is the acid solution, aka ‘the peel’: she warns me to expect a strong smell – the scent is like rather potent antiseptic. Luckily a second therapist is on hand with a portable fan to waft away the aroma and help to keep my skin cool.
Zvezda first performs a gentle sweep of the solution onto my face to check for adverse reactions; when none appear, she continues with four more layers. It starts tingly, then begins to feel like gentle pinpricks, but it’s more unusual than uncomfortable.
Half an hour later, it’s all over: Zvezda advises me not to wash the solution from my face for four hours, and gives me small tubes of moisturiser and sunscreen to apply regularly, along with an instruction leaflet. I’m also advised to buy cortisone cream from the pharmacy in case of adverse itching.
Day one My skin looks red and irritated, although nothing like the sunburnt appearance I’d expected. It prickles uncomfortably during the night, and I use a few dabs of cortisone cream to calm the tingle.
Day two I wake with a slightly blotchy face, but my colleagues assure me it isn’t too noticeable. The tingling has mercifully subsided.
Day three My skin starts to peel, which is more annoying than painful. I hide the peeling with generous dollops of moisturiser.
Day four onwards The peeling subsides, leaving me with a slightly uneven complexion. It calms over a week or so, and I notice my skin is a lot smoother, minus blemishes.
• The treatment itself is super-quick: 30 minutes turnaround. • The recovery time is a lot faster than most peels, and the redness and peeling isn’t severe enough to leave me housebound for days. • A week later, my skin looks younger, fresher and smoother.
• The solution has a strong smell that lingers on my clothes. • I have a rather uncomfortable night post-peel; my skin prickles, keeping me awake. • It’s a lot pricier than a facial, but the results are more noticeable, especially for those trying to treat discoloured or pigmented skin.
Kaya Skin Clinic The Pigmentation Reducer Peel is designed to reduce discolouring. Dhs550. Dubai Marina Walk (04 450 8438)
Cocoona Try a smoothing fruit acid peel with glycolic acid. Dhs600. Al Wasl Road (04 394 1090) L’Esprit Beauté The Diamond Peel promises younger, more radiant skin. Dhs895. Beach Road (04 344 4047)