What is a Chemical Peel?
A chemical peel is a facial resurfacing treatment where chemicals are used to destroy skin cells in a controlled way, allowing new skin to be exposed. During the treatment an exfoliating 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, revealing radiant, fresh skin.
While chemical peels are very common skin treatments, they also raise a lot of questions. Chemical peels are not a “one-size-fits-all” treatment, as not all chemical peels are right for all skin types and skin conditions. Different types of chemical peels address certain skin conditions like acne, wrinkles, and sun damage better than others.
You should schedule a consultation with a skincare specialist to determine the right chemical peel that will provide the most benefit for your skin.
Benefits of Chemical Peels: Why Get One?
In terms of general benefits of chemical peels, peels definitely resurface the skin and get rid of the outer layer of dead skin, which can cause your skin to look dull and accentuate fine lines and wrinkles. By removing this layer your pores can breathe and expel any build up it might have within it. The process of chemical peels also helps stimulate collagen production to plump and rejuvenate the skin.
Though the benefits are vast and can vary depending on the type of peel that works best for your skin, you should really consider getting a series of peels for the best results. Make sure you don’t pick or peel at the skin after a chemical peel this can cause discoloration and scarring. Allow the skin to shed on its own. You will also need to use a good quality at-home skincare regimen to optimize and maintain your results.
Different Types of Chemical Peels
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 type of peel that will be effective for you will depend on your individual skin needs, since there are many different types of peels within the three major categories: superficial, medium, and deep. With each of the three peels, you will experience different results.
Superficial 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, 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. Typically, 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.
Schedule a Consultation at WIFH
If you are interested in how a chemical peel may work for you, schedule a free consultation with one of our medical aestheticians. During your consultation we will help you decide the right chemical peel for you, discuss expectations for results and make skin care recommendations to enhance the results of your peel.