Can a Peel Replace the Skin Rejuvenation Effects of Needling? Business Owners Weigh In

Aestheticians are privy to the rising interest in needling treatments made to provide a string of benefits tied to the overall rejuvenation of the skin. Recent studies anticipate the global microneedling market to be valued at $USD1.1 billion ($AUD1.69 billion) by 2031, with a compound annual growth rate of 7.8 per cent. But needling is not the solution for every client and as a result, beauty business owners are investing in topical solutions to replicate the results achievable.

A Herbal Solution

Jen Dixon is the owner of Sydney-based salon, Embellish Inc. and Lira Clinical stockist of six years. The brand’s signature Green Power peel has featured on her treatment menu for nearly as long. Unlike traditional chemical peels, Green Power is considered a herbal peel whereby in place of acids and enzymes it utilises an algae extract called Spongia Officinalis to conduct a mechanical exfoliation. The peel works to create a friction that allows the extract, along with additional actives, to penetrate the skin, Jen explains. “And because it’s herbal, we actually absorb it into our skin.” The main benefit to Green Power, Jen says, is that it can be used on all clients – regardless of Fitzpatrick type – because it is acid-free.

Jen Dixon Embellish Lira Stockist Green Power
Jen Dixon

The peel is mixed in with water or a cleanser, depending on the severity of the skin to be treated. Once applied and absorbed, Green Power begins to rehydrate the skin. “If you can imagine, the Green Power has been dehydrated and pulverised – almost a fiberglass-like texture. We massage that into the skin and the skin sucks it in. Then, as it starts to bind with our own microbiome and skin juices, it expands.” As part of that expansion and consequent rehydrating process, Jen says the peel works to “open up the channels of the skin, allowing other active ingredients to get down to the layers we need them to.” Jen says the peel works wonders on detoxing the skin by dislodging bacteria responsible for acne and sallowness. 

Expansion is also said to replicate the collagen induction therapy commonly associated with microneedling. “Collagen induction therapy creates change in the skin, whether through friction or heat,” Jen explains. “White blood cells come to the surface, followed by collagen elastin.” The aesthetician is also granted the ability to control the depth of ingredient penetration. Jen says this can be done simply by swapping one cleanser for another, such as the MYSTIQ Illuminating Cleanser for the BIO Enzyme Cleanser, or for water.

Ideal After-Care

The Green Power protocol calls for the peel to be followed by the PRO Lite Serum to brighten and ICE Refining Masque to sooth, where the infusion of Lira’s mastiha provides an anti-inflammatory effect. Jen has also been known to enhance any ordinary cleanse with a sprinkle of Green Power. For those with severe acne or acne scarring, Green Power can be followed up with a healing Mineral Retinol peel.

Despite the boom in demand for needling treatments, Jen cites the 80-20 rule that suggests 80 per cent of the results achievable typically come from at-home product use. Conducting “dynamic” in-clinic treatments like Green Power prompts the skin to retrain; “to start acting appropriately again,” Jen says. “Active ingredients are a big part in the skin’s [ability to heal]. The more beneficial ingredients you have on the skin, you will see your skin come to life and glow in a way that it hasn’t glowed before.” A peel thereby sets the skin up for this intake of reparative actives. Post-peel, any enzymatic or acid-based topicals are removed for a client’s after-care routine in place of nutrient-dense solutions. “If you don’t nurture and support the skin, problems are going to come back,” Jen warns.

Jen Dixon Embellish Lira Stockist Green Power
Jen Dixon performs a treatment at her business, Embellish Inc.

Treatment Schedule

Where needling treatments are, on average, spaced four weeks apart, Green Power peels can be conducted weekly and on active acne – an ideal course for acne-prone skins graded three and above. “Initially, you would see the purging process. But because of the amount of antibacterial properties in the Green Power and supporting at-home products, it gets nipped-in-the-bud quite quickly. You really do see the skin start to turn around quickly when you’re doing [the peel] on a regular basis. With needling, you’re creating a micro injury and hoping for the best.” 

For business owners and their clients alike, Jen sees that peels are “far more cost effective” when compared to investments in needling. “It’s a much quicker treatment to have done. And you don’t need to buy a device to have it done. It also generally tends to generate more of a return because it’s doing so much more than just needling, where needling is one modality. When you’re working with a peal, you’ve generally got a multitude of other active ingredients; our clients see a better transformation in the skin as a result.”

PB’s Hannah Gay undergoes a Lira Green Power peel. Images show results immediately post-treatment.

A Marine-Based Solution

South Korean skincare brand, tHermoCEUTICAL has produced a marine-based alternative in the form of its DNA Peel. The brand, recently launched in Australia under the distribution of Cosmeceutical Solutions, is at the forefront of skincare innovation out of Asia.

DNA Peel combines AHAs, BHAs, enzymes, vitamins and peptides in the form of marine-based spicules. Such spicules, when massaged into the skin, create microscopic puncture wounds in the skin – replicating the effects of needling, minus the needles. Needle-like mineral elements are developed from sea sponges, with the goal of stimulating collagen production, minus the discomfort and downtime often associated with needling.

The treatment runs in six parts: 4-step cleansing phase, AHA/BHA peel,  2-step hydration boost and massage/infusion, application of spicule cream, freeze-dried sterile patches applied for incubation of spicules, seal and moisturise. Like with Lira’s Green Power, clients are notified to expect a warm, prickly sensation on the skin during application. The spicules then remain in the skin for 12-14 hours while self-neutralising. No shedding or downtime is expected. The brand’s Centella Asiatica-rich D-Booster and copper-rich N-Reverter are recommended for at-home use post-treatment.

The unique treatment is recommended for indications such as sun damage and photo-ageing, fine lines and wrinkles, pigmentation and uneven skin tone, and scarring. A course of five treatments is typically recommended, taken weekly or fortnightly.

thermoceutical DNA Peel

Stockist Feedback

For dermal therapist and business owner, Ainslie Lidstone-Fleming of Many Faces Aesthetics in Warragul, VIC taking on DNA Peel came in response to a noticable “shift back to traditional, hands-on facials with an edge”. “[Treatments] don’t have to be abrasive and feel uncomfortable to get amazing results; the Koreans seem to just have it.” Similarly, Alyse Francois who operates Beauty Bliss Skin Boutique in Princess Hill, Victoria sought to fill a gap in her treatment menu with “something new, shiny and high tech.” “I wanted something completely different that we’d never had before and quite liked that this treatment was from South Korea. We took it on and have had some amazing feedback from it.”

Cindy Chong, senior dermal clinician and assistant manager at EST Clinic in Box Hill and Melbourne CBD, VIC sees that DNA Peel is “a novel addition to Australia’s beauty industry”, having first discovered the treatment in Asia years prior. “DNA Peel serves as an excellent alternative for clients intrigued by microneedling but wary of the associated downtime,” Cindy says. “It offers a compelling option for those seeking effective treatment without the inconvenience of extended recovery periods.”

Stockists praise the “gentle yet effective” treatment for its innovative use of sea sponges. “Once they are finished working by dispersing actives into the skin, the marine based sea sponges melt,  leaving behind a hydrating algae residue which forms an affinity with the skin,” Alyse explains. “Think glossy, dewy, ultimate hydration!” Ainslie concurs, “the glow and the lift the skin gets within two to four days post is something I haven’t seen in any other treatment, and our clientele like that. They can feel something going on…. that it’s creating a change.”

DNA Peel v Needling

Whether DNA Peel and similar topical treatments in the market could ever replace the desire for needling remains up for debate. “Predicting specific trends can be challenging, as the beauty industry is dynamic and subject to ongoing innovation,” Cindy explains. “However, I do believe DNA Peel could become more popular as a microneedling alternative [thanks to its] comparable benefits and minimal downtime.”

Ainslie adds, “there is a large market of people that are uneasy with the idea of needles on their skin, so I believe this is a great alternative for those people.” Alyse takes the most optimistic approach, flagging the treatment’s “high tech and restorative” characteristics.

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