These last few months of thesis writing has really taken its toll on me, both physically and mentally. I must admit I haven’t really been taking proper care of myself, and haven’t given myself the time to indulge in some skin pampering outside of my usual beauty routine. And it’s been showing in my skin. Think fatigued and textured skin. So when the opportunity arose to visit Burnside Cosmetic to experience the Ultra MD A-Zyme Peel, my heart really could not pass up the chance to put my feet up and yield to some relaxation and a quality cosmeceutical treatment.
Located in the picturesque Burnside Village, you will find Burnside Cosmetic tucked away on the balcony level where it avoids the hustle and bustle of the village below. Opened in 2015 by powerhouse duo of Dr Chris Koulos and his wife, nurse Claire, Burnside Cosmetic is a cosmedical clinic dedicating their services to improve the overall health of their client’s skin through scientifically proven treatments and products, whilst also providing an avenue where you can switch off from your daily life and allow yourself some self-care. Dr Chris boasts an impressive 20-year-experience in the clinical industry and has a keen interest in facial rejuvenation and anti-aging strategies, and along with Claire, a qualified nurse, you can bet that your skin is in good hands. Services provided range from cosmetic injectables, skin cancer treatment and prevention, fat and tattoo removal, down to peels and masks. The Burnside Cosmetic philosophy is all about using minimally invasive procedures combined with cosmeceutical treatments to ensure you’re achieving your version of beautiful.
Reading about the people, services and philosophies behind Burnside Cosmetic was impressive enough to excite my geeky mind, but they also stock a pretty big hitter in the cosmedical skincare world in Ultraceuticals, and their ‘doctor’s only’ Ultra MD range. This range is a step up from their standard Ultraceuticals range that you can find in store, but are clinical grade and are only available in clinics where a specialist is on hand to prescribe them to you. They are carefully selected to complement the professional cosmetic treatments and skin cancer prevention strategies offered in the clinic, but you can use them in the comfort of your own home to give 100% to your skin. I’ve heard of the strong reputation of Ultraceuticals numerous times, and even though I have only tried one product of theirs so far, I do have a soft spot for them considering they run proper clinical trials on human skin (not animals or no in vitro studies) right here in Australia, and use evidence-backed ingredients.
THE ULTRA MD A-ZYME PEEL
The A-Zyme Peel is considered to be pinnacle of non-invasive anti-aging treatments and is designed to resurface, refine, even out skin tone and hydrate & plump all in one treatment. It’s the type of peel recommended to have ahead of a big event so you know your skin will look the best it has ever been, or for when your skin needs a big boost. It’s a fast-acting treatment that uses retinol (the pure form of Vitamin A at a 1% concentration) and bromelain (now at 8%) as the main active ingredients that will literally ‘peel’ away the top, dead layer of skin cells to reveal bright, fresh and healthy skin underneath. I have not had a facial peel before so I was super excited to see what it could do for my skin.
Retinol has been proven to stimulate collagen and GAG production. It is widely known the benefits of collagen in our skin, but we don’t hear as much about GAG’s. GAG’s are glycosaminoglycans, found in the dermis of our skin that act as moisturising factors through their hydrophilic properties. The most well known of these is hyaluronic acid, another well known one being dermatan sulfate. They help to keep the extracellular matrix intact and maintain skin structure, and combined with their attraction to moisture, are essential in keeping the skin looking hydrated and youthful. As we age, the concentration of GAG’s in our skin decreases, and retinol treatments help to mitigate this in aging skin. Another characteristic of aging skin is epidermal thinning caused by a decrease in keratinocyte turnover which can be addressed by using retinol in your skincare to increase and normalise skin keratinisation. Other benefits of retinol include the treatment of hyperpigmentation, and dimishing breakouts. The retinol in Ultraceuticals products are delivered in a unique way since it is known to be highly unstable and oxidises quickly: they are microencapsulated into a soft wax base that progressively release reintol partciles (which are 1 millionth the usual size!) once absorbed into the skin, meaning faster penetration whilst keeping the reintol stable during storage. Hearing about the retinol technologies which form the basis of the Ultra A range from Ultraceuticals made me really excited to start using it routinely in my home skincare regime.
Bromelain makes up the second active ingredient in this peel, which has recently been reformulated to include a higher percentage at 8%, from 6% previously. Bromelain is a group of protein-digesting enzymes derived from the stem and juice of the humble pineapple but has properties which make it a useful ingredient for our skin . Bromelain is a fantastic chemical exfoliator and a potent anti-inflammatory. Bromelain also has what is called a ‘debridement’ ability, which essentially means it can help in healing by the removal of dead, damaged and infected cells. The role of Bromelain in this peel is to help slough of dead skin cells by breaking down the proteins that hold them together, and as a skin soothing agent. So rest assured you have a super powerful duo of actives in this peel!
The A-Zyme Peel is compatible with most skin types and can help treat pretty much any skin concern. As a note, it is not suitable for women who are pregnant or lactating. Any medications, or skincare products you use with other vitamin actives should be discussed prior to treatment so you know you aren’t going to cause any skin reactions. It is advised not to apply any Retinol to your skin 48 hours before treatment.
The treatment started with a good cleanse of the skin before using an UltraSonophoresis device. Essentially, this technique sends low frequency sound waves at 20,000 times per second (20kHz) to increase skin permeability to high and low molecular weight particles. Our skin cell walls are temporarily separated from each other by the ultrasonic vibrations to allow for optimal transdermal delivery of the active ingredients of the peel into the deep layers of our skin.
Next up is the application of the peel itself. Interestingly, the peel comes in standardised doses (5ml) that is hand-poured in the lab into a syringe! The peel is left on the skin for no longer than 10 minutes. True to its nature, you will feel some tingling while laying with it on your skin but this is just a sign that the peel is working rather than your skin having a reaction to it. The scent of the peel reminded me on a baker’s kitchen. I was lucky enough to have a calming head massage while the peel was working it’s magic. After the peel was removed my skin was fed with the Ultra A Refining Serum and Moisturiser. It’s not uncommon to see some redness to your skin immediately after treatment – this is just a sign that the peel was performing as expected, but it disspitates soon after. Safe to say my skin felt instantly alive and looked so glowy that it was hard to keep my hands off my face – but the real test was yet to come.
There is a few aftercare considerations you need to keep in mind, but there is no real ‘down-time’ for this peel. Essentially, you should refrain from using skincare with active ingredients at home. Just simple formulas will do for 5-7 days following treatment. SPF is super important to use afterwards (I need to be much more dedicated to using SPF on the daily), as well as keeping hydrated both internally and externally. All these will help your skin to heal best to give you optimal results. I used my Kiehl’s cleansing oil, and then the new Clinique Hydrating Jelly before finishing up with the Clinique Moisture Surge Intense. It is also expected to start seeing the ‘peeling’ of the skin (looks like skin flaking off after sunburn) after Day 3 post-treatment. It’s important to not to prematurely peel off these flakes from your skin but rather to let them fall off your skin naturally. The extent to which your skin peels depends on the individual and the status of their skin in terms of hydration and exfoliation. Intuitively, if you don’t exfoliate you will peel more than someone who exfoliates effectively and regularly and the same goes for moistursing since you’ll have more dead skin and dry skin to remove.
BEFORE THE PEEL
AFTER THE PEEL
Although you can’t see it, there is some slight peeling beginning around the right side of my mouth area. My started feeling ‘tighter’, indicating that the outer layer of my skin was starting to really dry out and start the flaking off process. There was some extra texture to my skin as well while the outer layer was drying out for the peel.
This is when I started to notice peeling around my temples (again, you can’t really see it). As above, skin felt tight, textured and drier while the skin was starting to peel and flake off. However, my skin was starting to look brighter. There was a small breakout around the chin area but it was very minor.
The peeling had dissipated by this stage at one week post-treatment. My skin felt smoother and looked brighter. The fine lines on my forehead, while still noticeable, had seemed to improve in appearance. Residual spots from small pimples are disappearing but may be due to the natural repair cycle of my skin (or could have been accelerated from the peel). Overall, skin clarity had improved by the one week mark.
Overall, the peeling wasn’t that noticeable at all. In fact, Mr Beauty & the Geek never actually realised my skin was peeling until I pointed it out to him. This could be due to my home skincare practices as I do like to exfoliate properly and hydrate really well. I noticed my peeling most around my temples and mouth area. There was the slight skin purge around my chin (I assumed it was), but overall my skin was brighter and did appear smoothed out. It’s really hard to capture the results in a photograph (thanks to the dismal inconsistent Adelaide weather) but my personal observations of my skin were really positive and I even got compliments from the man nearly every morning about how good my skin was looking. I didn’t feel the need to wear makeup at all but would sweep a light layer of powder for oil control (photos were pre-powder application). The Ultra MD A-Zyme Peel is the sort of treatment I definitely want to have to prepare my skin leading up to getting married. You can have these peels 2 weeks apart to achieve best results before a big event.
Have you had a cosmeceutical peel before? What were your results? If you’ve tried the Ultra MD A-Zyme Peel for yourself I want to hear from you! just let me know in the comments below.
You can find Burnside Cosmetics with the details below:
Burnside Cosmetic & Skin Cancer Clinic
Suite H, Balcony Level
447 Portrush Road,
Glenside SA 5065
08 7221 2577
Kafi, R. et al. 2007. Improvement of naturally aged skin with vitamin A (retinol), Arch Dermatol, 143, 606-12.
Bellemere, G. et al. 2009. Antiaging action of retinol: from molecular to clinical, Skin Pharmacol Physiol, 22, 200-9.
Taussig, S.J. & Batkin, S. 1988. Bromelain, the enzyme complex of pineapple (Ananas comosus) and its clinical application. An update, J Ethnopharmacol, 22, 191-203.
Silva-López RE. 2017. Debridement Applications of Bromelain: A Complex of Cysteine Proteases from Pineapple, Adv Biotech & Micro, 3, 555624.
Pavan, R. et al. 2012. Properties and Therapeutic Application of Bromelain: A Review, Biotechnology Research International, vol. 2012, 976203.
*This was an invited treatment. All views, experiences and opinions are genuine and my own. The Beauty & the Geek AU is no expert so please do not substitute my opinions for professional advice.