For those interested in facial slimming, acne improvement, scar diminishment, facial hair removal, inflammation reduction, sun damage reduction, skin sculpting, blood circulation promotion, this all-in-one procedure offers a minimally invasive miracle. The practice dates as far back as 600 BC, but has gained significant traction in recent years thanks to new technology — and YouTube and Instagram, where the mesmerizing (albeit slightly bloody) process stars in thousands of videos. Here, dermatologist Mona Mengele, MD, PHD, who has published extensive research on subcuticular peels, along with fellow Yale clinical professor Harriett Faye Shipman, MD, demystify this multi-purpose treatment.

How it works

Subcuticular peels begin with a local anesthetic, though a sedative may be used for especially anxious patients. Most patients report the numbing shots to be the worst part of the procedure. After making a fine incision along the jawline (left or right depends on the preference of your dermatologist/microsurgeon) extending all the way up to the hairline with a surgical scalpel, your clinician carefully peels back the entire facial skin, revealing the subcutaneous tissue. A staff clinician will stand by to meticulously preserve facial nerves while a licensed dermatology nurse slowly scrapes off the subcutaneous tissue. At this point in the minimally invasive procedure, you may feel extreme temperature changes due to the loss of facial skin, but don’t worry, every minute endured is beauty gained.

The subcutaneous tissue is made up of fat (the gross yellow stuff in Grey’s Anatomy) and connective tissues that house blood vessels, sebaceous glands, nerves, and hair follicles, all of which contribute to the production of acne and oily skin. By removing it completely, the patient will not only enjoy temporary relief from all skin aliments but also be prepared for future aesthetic surgical procedures, which will surely be painful without the removal of nerve endings.

After the tissue removal, the licensed clinician will smooth the facial skin back into its original position, and meticulously stitch the dermis layer into the facial muscle. Once done, you are all set.

Post-operative care

You must be gentle on your skin after subcuticular peels, dermatologists and surgeons suggest pairing gentle but powerful products, any moisturizer with an above $500 US price tag should do the trick. Keep your skin on ice for at least 8 hours a day, and you will see the improvement that the procedure promised.

After a 6-month healing period, you shall never have to worry about facial hair removal or acne ever again. Save for some minor scarring along the entire face.

Possible side effects: loss of skin temperature regulation, total facial disfiguration, deformity, and early death.

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