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The Evolution of the Chemical Peel by the Queen of Peels

Metaxia Dalika, the Queen of Chemical Peels, began her esthetic career in a San Francisco Dermatology Clinic, not as a practitioner, but as a bookkeeper. It was in the early 1980s before the term “esthetician” was familiar to most. She worked her way up from bookkeeper to office manager and by watching Dr. Bruce Cohn and Dr. Jules Key, fell in love with the methods of making real changes in the skin. From working closely with the doctors and Dr. Cohn’s wife Janet (an R.N. and an esthetician), she grew familiar with many medical procedures and clinical solutions. Realizing her passion for skin, Dr. Cohn supervised Metaxia’s transition from office manager to delegated clinical resurfacing specialist. 

The ’80s Began The Chemical Peel 

“Dr. Cohn taught me many things, from interacting with patients to managerial styles. Looking back, I see the 80s as the beginning, the very start of using chemical peels as we know them. He was an amazing influence, and I am grateful to have worked with such a talented dermatologist, especially at that time. He was my inspiration in getting into the skincare field. He saw that a passion was sparked, and he really pushed me to follow it.” Metaxia recalls.

Metaxia Dalikas

Contribution by Metaxia Dalikas

Metaxia Dalikas, LE is internationally recognized for her expertise in advanced aesthetic treatments, education, and chemical peel formulation. She has worked side by side with world-renowned dermatologists and chemists over many years to assemble her extraordinary wealth of clinical skincare knowledge. Her knowledge of skincare distribution and training as well as chemical peels, waxing, and product formulation, has made Metaxia an essential component in Lira Clinical’s success. Having over 30 years in the medical and professional aesthetic treatment industry led Metaxia to open a successful chain of professional aesthetics supply houses and advanced training centers more than a decade ago.

Mextaxia Dalika Learned Chemical Peels from Doctors

Metaxia was encouraged to become an esthetician by both Dr. Cohn and Janet. He delegated many peel procedures to her, most of which were free-acid solutions ranging from 20-70%. Metaxia explains the early protocols were substantially different than what they have evolved to now: “They (the patients) washed their face, we prepped with acetone. There was no SPF, no finishing products, nothing. It was really ‘Peel and Pray’ and we charged $70 for each application!” 

As Metaxia’s talents were sharpened, another dermatologist in the practice took her under his guidance. Dr. Jules Keys is responsible for instilling the foundation of her peeling philosophy. “Dr. Keys taught me to ‘let the skin talk to you.’ He demonstrated how to watch for erythema and for frosting. He understood that every person was different. He took his time, allowing each layer to fully penetrate, watching how it worked within each patient’s skin. I also learned the quadrant application technique from him. He was very precise and methodical.” 

Back then, deciding on which solution to pick was simple. “Salicylic was acne, Glycolic, Jessners or TCA was for anti-aging,” Metaxia recalls. “We didn’t peel Fitzpatrick 4, 5, or 6, only 1, 2, and 3.” This is perhaps due to the practice of following a “dry healing” method post-procedure where the skin was encouraged to slough without additional product application. “We instructed the patients not to apply any product to the skin, and to cut sloughing with scissors. I learned early on that virgin skin is vulnerable, that heat, sweat, rubbing, and pulling in the first few days of post-peels all had an influence on hyperpigmentation. Also, the skin was more reactive to environmental factors like wind, or water, not to mention the sun.” 

Metaxia Dalika’s Philosophy On Brightening

This was the beginning of Metaxia’s philosophy on brightening the skin and post-care. “Post care is so important. You can excite a melanocyte quickly, but you can only calm it down slowly. This is why we avoid heat, to avoid exciting the melanocytes. Also, the body needs hydration, the skin needs hydration. After a peel, there must be a follow-up of a lightweight moisturizer and melanin management. This is what directly affects post-peel results.” 

As Metaxia’s career advanced, she soon became a regional distributor and educator for early chemical peel brands. Based on her experiences and passion, she quickly earned the nickname “The Peel Queen” as she taught practitioners the art of selection, application, and eventually pre and post-care. With her urging, the companies she represented instituted small kits for short-term use before and after treatments and peel “enhancers” which continued to advance the industry but were never quite right. Something was missing. 

“The skin is a living organ and needs many different approaches. It needs to be functional, and constantly in motion. Think about your body and how it works. If you sit too long, it’s hard to get up. You need balance, flexibility, and movement. The skin is the same. It doesn’t need to get ready two weeks before a treatment, it needs to stay ready. It needs to always be treatment ready. If it is, then it is healthy. If it is healthy, then any skin type, condition, Fitzpatrick can receive a treatment.”

This understanding was a cornerstone for the development of the Lira Clinical Skincare System. With home care and home treatments, clinical protocols are more effective. Intelligent resurfacing solutions were formulated to deliver many skin-compliant ingredients, not just exfoliating acids, but antioxidants, melanin suppressants, minerals, etc. Understanding what the skin needs means prevention, correction, and maintenance without unnecessary inflammation. Lira Clinical Smart Peels™ are different. “With peels, you deposit, not just put on and take off. Why not take in benefits, manipulate the skin in a way to get it excited, and at the same time insure it with additional ingredients? In the past, we understood controlled wounding of the skin for fibroblast stimulation. Today it is all about delivering correction with less inflammation for faster, instant results.”  Metaxia stated.

Chemical Peels Have Changed The Industry

 The incorporation of solutions into professional practices has allowed a whole new category of treatment, both in intention and duration. As science continues to evolve esthetics and the understanding of how the skin functions sharpen, resurfacing solutions should progress to keep up.  

“With technology, our lives have changed. We have access to global news, maps, and search engines, right in the palms of our hands. Our phones have advanced the way we think and interact. But the innovations do not stop. There is always a new app, a new upgrade, a new feature, and so on. In the skin, chemical peels should have as many benefits, as many different tools and features as your smartphones. Protocols should consider what the skin needs at every appointment.” 

With a career spanning several decades, Metaxia has witnessed the transition from the beginning of clinical chemical peel procedures, through understanding the benefits of home care, and now with the evolution of Smart Peel™ solutions. 

“I don’t believe we should ever stop learning or creating. I am always learning, from my business partners, from our team of professionals and from our practitioners. Imagine if we stopped learning and evolving peels? We wouldn’t be able to treat all global skin types, or effectively correct pigment, acne, or the side effects of aging. We wouldn’t be able to make lasting changes. I am so proud of how far we have come, and still excited for the future.” -Metaxia Dalikas 

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