Who doesn’t desire soft, supple, and glowing skin?
With so many skincare products and treatments available to obtain great skin, one can get really confused. However, with the massive transformation of the skincare industry, there has been a considerable rise in the demand for chemical peels.
Are you wondering what a chemical peel is and the wonders it can do?
Well, don’t fret! We are here to deliver all the information you could possible need to know about this skincare revelation.
What Is a Chemical Peel?
The first question swirling in your mind is probably regarding what a chemical peel is. It entails the application of chemical mixtures on your skin via a controlled method that causes the death of certain controlled tissues. The preferred depth of a wound largely depends on the condition that is to be treated. Once the peel is removed, your skin will begin to regenerate remarkably from the deepest layers of the epidermis to the layers of the superficial dermis.
Types of Chemical Peels
There are three main types of chemical peels that mainly rely on the depth of damage occurred in the skin. This depth of the damage depends on the concentration of chemicals used in the peeling solution, and the amount of time that it is allowed to interact with your skin.
They can be categorized as deep, medium and superficial.
Superficial Chemical Peels
Superficial peels don’t cause any damage to the skin that lies below the epidermis, the topmost layer of the skin.
Medium Chemical Peels
Medium peels penetrate the skin a little deeper, causing them to reach the superficial layer of the dermis that lies below the epidermis.
Deep Chemical Peels
As the name suggests, this peel reaches right down to the deepest layers of the dermis.
How Do Chemical Peels Work?
Chemical peels typically come in the form of a gel or water-like liquid. This substance is applied to the face like a slight coat of paint, where it remains active until it’s neutralized using water.
Deep acids peels that are naturally strong have to be neutralized at the most appropriate level to deliver the desired impact without causing any excessive tissue damage or resulting in ‘overshooting.’
Peels also often cause inflammation, but this isn’t always negative. It can cause positive inflammation in the form of stimulation of collagen or negative inflammation, such as acne or pigmentation.
What Ingredients Are Used
Some common ingredients used in a chemical peel include glycolic acid,lactic acid, and other pure and synthetic alpha hydroxy fruit acids. Some popular chemicals that are added to peeling solutions are retinoids, alpha-hydroxy acids, trichloroacetic acid, beta-hydroxy acids, and phenol.
All these chemicals and ingredients are used at different potency levels and concentrations depending on the current skin tone you have and the result you hope to get.
Benefits of Chemical Peels
When performed correctly on suitable patients, you will see a noticeable difference in the appearance of the treated skin. Not only do chemical peels make the skin appear more youthful by reducing fine lines and wrinkles, but they also help create a more uniform skin color that smoothly blends in with untreated skin.
Over-The-Counter vs. Professional Peels
Chemical peels are available in over-the-counter varieties, allowing them to be applied at home. However, these at-home peels don’t damage the skin enough, keeping them from delivering effective results like that of a professional chemical peel done by a physician.
Who Should Opt For Chemical Peels?
The most popular candidate for a chemical peel is someone who has sun-damaged skin, actinic keratosis, or uneven pigmentation. Sun damage can have a terrible impact on your skin as it causes wrinkling, fine lines, skin thinning, sun spots, and even cancer. Moreover, chemical peels are also a great treatment for acne scarring so those who experience frequent breakouts due to oil skin can give this a try.
Who Should Avoid Chemical Peels?
Individuals who have highly pigmented or dark skin should be extremely cautious with chemical peels, or should avoid getting them all together. This is mainly because there is a considerable chance that the pigmentation of the newly healed skin will be very different from the current skin tone.
Risks and Side Effects of Chemical Peels
There are certain risks and complications that are associated with chemical peels. Some of these side effects include infection, scarring, cold sores, and a huge difference between the color of the treated and untreated skin. However, all patients have a certain recuperation period, the length of which largely relies on the depth of the peel.
How Are Chemical Peels Performed by Professionals?
The application of a superficial chemical peel rarely requires the use of an anesthetic, but you can expect to feel a slight burning sensation during the application of the solution. However, this sensation can be relieved through cool compresses and some fan-aided evaporation.
When it comes to deeper peels, they require systemic sedation, extensive local anesthesia, but rarely, a general anesthesia. The peeling process of a deep chemical peel starts with the application of a solvent, such as alcohol or acetone that is wiped evenly across the area that is to be treated. The application of the peeling solution begins for a specific time period and is then stopped with the application of a neutralizing solution.
The doctor then winds up the process by applying bandages on the treated area. The overall recovery time can go up to a few months as it majorly depends on the type of peel being used.
Pretreatment Preps for a Chemical Peel
Most doctors often pretreat chemical peel patients with tretinoin cream during a period prior to the peel application. Those people who are prone to cold sore are recommended to start taking antiviral medications at least one week before the treatment and should continue doing so for at least two weeks after the treatment. Don’t forget to consult your doctor about this. Moreover, all patients are recommended to apply high SPF sunscreen before and after the peeling session, while those with darker skin tone may also be required to proceed with hydroquinone preparations as part of their pretreatment.
Follow-Up Care After a Chemical Peel?
Your skin becomes extremely sensitive after a chemical peel. So, it is vital for you to avoid stepping out in the sun during and after the heeling process as your skin may be sun-sensitive.
Generally, you should refer to your doctor or physician to find out about the follow-up visits as it largely depends on the depth of the chemical peel and the physician’s personal preference.
Do Chemical Peels Hurt?
The deeper a chemical peel goes, the more painful it will be. However, even those superficial chemical peels are well-tolerated, this still do cause some discomfort in the form of burning and itching.
The Bottom Line
Chemical peels are classified as surgical procedures, and like any other surgical procedure, it includes certain risks and side effects, such as infections, scarring or undesirable color changes. Many dermatologists often use these peels along with other techniques, such as laser to combat signs of sun damage or acne scarring. So, the best thing for you would be to get a consultation in order to find out whether a chemical peel is good for you or not!
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Christine Wright is a trusted beauty expert and an esthetician who is loved by editors and bloggers. She is a prolific writer on the topics of natural, chemical-free skin and body care. She also does reviews on store brand beauty products, with fairness and a real point-of-view. She is well-known of creating products for specific skin types, especially to those with ultra-sensitive faces.