Chemical peels can be used to reduce the appearance of uneven pigmentation, acne and other skin problems and can rejuvenate sun-damaged skin, stimulating the growth of new skin cells making your skin appear healthier and younger. Like the previously mentioned treatments, they’re non-invasive and have few side effects, but are quickly effective, much more so than prolonged use of expensive creams that fail to live up to their claims.
- A range of different acids to address skin tone, texture, hydration, congestion and pigmentation
- Obvious peeling is not necessary to achieve results
- Should be delivered by a trained professional, some peels are physician only.
What Are Chemical Peels?Chemical peels are one of the oldest cosmetic treatments performed, dating back to ancient Egyptian times when, natural acids derived from fruit and milk were applied to the skin in the name of beauty. As knowledge and science have advanced, chemical peels are much more sophisticated and specific to a variety of skin problems, including uneven pigmentation, dull, dry or oily skin, wrinkles, blocked pores and acne.
There are three basic types;
- Superficial- acting on the uppermost layer of the epidermis with temporary results.
- Alpha hydroxyl acids (AHA); glycolic acid 30-50% (from sugar cane), citric acid (from citrus fruits), lactic acid (from sour milk), malic acid (from apples).
- Salicylic Acid (from the bark of the willow tree)
Some peels combine acids in branded formulas and not all peels are the same, as different brands may add ingredients for additional benefits.
- Trychloroacetic acid (TCA) related to vinegar 15-35%
- Medium depth - acting on the uppermost layer of the dermis, stinging or burning sensation
- TCA 40%+
The above list is not exhaustive.
How Do They Work?
AHAs promote exfoliation of the upper most layer of the skin allowing healthier cells to the top and improving the texture and feel of the skin.
Salicylic Acid promotes exfoliation, unclogs blocked pores by breaking down oils, is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory so is particularly appropriate for acne prone skin. Also suitable for back and chest.
TCA, depending on the concentration, penetrates through the top five layers of the epidermis to the upper most layer of the dermis. Unlike superficial peels, you will find your skin becomes dry and tight, it may darken before peeling. The peeling usually begins on day 3 and continues for 2 or 3 days. Suitable for other areas of the body and for darker skin types.
Phenol Peel This is the deepest of peels and may only be performed once. Only suitable for the face. Not suitable for darker skin types. Sedatives and anaesthetics are required and also heart monitoring if the entire face is to be treated, because phenol is toxic to the heart if absorbed in large doses. Dramatic results on lines and wrinkles can be achieved but the risks of either hyper or hypopigmentation, infection and scarring are greater.
What Are They Used to Treat?
They are used to treat;
- Dull, tired looking skin
- Oily or dry skin conditions
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Acne prone skin
- Open pores
- Deeper peels required for deep wrinkles and skin laxity.
Results will depend upon a number of factors, including the type of peel, skin preparation and aftercare, whether a single treatment, or a course of treatments. With the exception of the Phenol peel, a course of treatments initially, and then regular maintenance treatment will achieve the best results over a longer period of time.
Is it Safe?A variety of peels are available for general purchase on the internet. A great deal of knowledge is required in order to assess skin type, identify any contraindications (medical or medicines), diagnose the skin condition, prescribe the appropriate peel for the right skin, to prepare the skin appropriately and to ensure appropriate aftercare in order to minimise risk and ensure good results are achieved safely. Misuse of peels can cause permanent skin damage, increased and long term sensitivity, altered pigmentation, infection and scarring.
After the Treatment
Superficial peels - you may be pink, this will settle within hours. Your skin may become a little dry and tight, but you may not be aware of any obvious peeling.
Medium depth peels - you may be pink, your skin will feel tight and dry, it may darken in patches prior to peeling, much like a sunburn peel. The peeling usually begins on day 3 or 4 and may last for 3 or 4 days.
Deep Peel - The skin remains extremely red for about 3 weeks and longer for some individuals. Some people have extreme swelling, especially around the eye area. The skin will be raw whilst healing and a strict aftercare regime will be prescribed by your clinician. Most people will take 14 days off work. Complete healing may take several months.
Your clinician will provide you with appropriate skin preparation prior to peeling treatment and also advise on aftercare and treatment regimens/courses recommended for best results. Such advise will vary depending on the peel used.
How Long Will it Last?Results tend to last 3-4 months Movement will begin recovering from 8 weeks Frequent treatment at intervals of less than 3 months is NOT recommended
Before & After Pictures