Types of Chemical Peels: Which is Right for You?

Types of Chemical Peels: Which is Right for You?

If you have fine wrinkles, pigmentation spots, acne scarring, large pores, or just wish to improve the texture of your skin, a chemical peel may be your answer.

These procedures are excellent options for the renewal the skin on your face, neck, back, and hands, providing a simple and effective addition to your daily skin care regimen. There’s a peel for every skin type and condition.

What is a Chemical Peel?

A chemical peel is a process by which chemicals are used to destroy skin cells in a controlled way, allowing new and rejuvenated skin to grow in its place. Basically, an ex-foliating or “wounding” chemical solution is applied to clean skin and allowed to soak in. Over the next 1-14 days, the dead skin peels off, leaving radiant new skin in its place.

How Chemical Peels Differ

Chemical peels vary based on strength and solution. That is, the chemicals used may differ, resulting in different levels of penetration. Acid concentration, number of coats applied, and time in contact with skin are all factors in how deeply a peel can penetrate skin. Deeper peels can show more dramatic effects, but also come with higher risks, and a longer recovery time.

The Types of Chemical Peels

You’ll usually find that there are three main types of chemical peels.

Types of Chemical PeelsSuperficial or Light Peels

Superficial or light peels are the mildest type, and often use a mild, diluted acid such as glycolic acid to slough off the top layer of skin, the epidermis. Alpha and beta hydroxy acids, fruit enzymes, and natural acids are often used as well.

Medium Peels

Medium peels, which penetrate more deeply, often employ a multi-step process that uses trichloroacetic acid to destroys the epidermal barrier allowing penetration down to the papillary dermis. These peels trigger an inflammatory response. Some patients describe their skin as looking wind burned and a bit swollen. Active peeling can last 5-7 days. The fresh skin can appear a bit pink, but this will fade and you’ll be left with skin that is noticeably improved and radiant.

Deep Chemical Peels

Deep resurfacing peels are the strongest type, utilizing phenol to penetrate several layers of skin. These peels can be uncomfortable (sedation is sometimes recommended), and require prepping the skin for weeks leading up to the procedure.

Deep peels can only be used on the face, and may not be recommended for darker skin types because they can cause a bleaching effect. Most of the time, you can only use a deep peel once in your life. Deep peel recovery can take months, but they are very corrective and you’ll enjoy the results for years to come. Deep peels should only be performed by an experienced physician.

If you are interested in a peel, consult your skincare specialist to find out which one might be right for you. If you decide on this method of skin care, make sure to follow your doctor’s or skin specialist instructions for care before and after your peel to ensure the best results.

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