What is a Chemical Peel?
Chemical Peels are topically applied acids that aid in the restoration and rejuvenation of the skin’s surface. They create a uniform and controlled shedding of several layers of the skin. Depending on the nature and depth of the peel, a significant number of layers can be exfoliated allowing new growth to be exposed, creating a fresh vibrant appearance.
Don’t let the term “chemical peel” scare you away: This isn’t the same acidic stuff that turned Batman’s Joker into the villain he is today. A chemical peel refers to the general category for a number of chemical treatments used to exfoliate and rejuvenate the skin. In fact, most don’t even peel the skin. “Peels is a misnomer,” “Lighter peels are really treatments,” that help skin look smoother and brighter, decrease pore size and can even help with acne. An added bonus is that peels will also help your favorite serum and moisturizer penetrate deeper and be more effective.
Who are candidates?
Your skin type and the results you are aspiring to achieve will determine if you are a candidate, as well as which class of peel is most appropriate for you.
What are the benefits of a Chemical Peel?
Chemical peels can enhance your appearance by reducing blotchy and uneven pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles, freckling, age spots, sun-damaged skin, and acne scars in a relatively brief measure of time. Chemical peels accelerate the production of new cells. Enjoy fresh smooth skin-immediately after your first treatment!
What are the side effects?
Chemical peels have become increasingly popular because of the array of advantages and relative lack of complications. Side effects are rare and usually temporary. Some side effects include uneven pigmentation, redness, and very infrequent scarring if the skin is not cared for appropriately. Sun protection is crucial to minimize the risk of side effects. A treatment program of individually suited products and sun protection will benefit your skin’s ability to maintain the results of the peel. You can decrease the likelihood of side effects by carefully following the instructions of your treatment provider.
Types of Chemical Peels:
Chemical peels are classified as superficial, medium, and deep peels.
This peel is designed to help smooth coarse, dry skin, improve the texture of sun-damaged skin, and even out skin tone. The recovery is generally rapid and usually involves some minor flaking. A series of treatments is ordinarily recommended to obtain the desired result over a period of time. Typically, there is no down time and with appropriate sun protection, you can resume regular activities immediately.
Medium peels contain a stronger potency of acids. Medium peels target the epidermis and upper dermis and cause the skin to slough within 5 to 7 days. Immediately after treatment the skin has a red appearance and is occasionally accompanied by swelling. Within a day the skin turns brown in color, and after 3 or 4 days the skin initiates the peeling process.
Deep peels produce the most dramatic results. This peel is recommended for treating wrinkles, scars, blemishes and, in some cases, precancerous skin lesions. A deep peel targets the dermis. In some cases, anesthesia is required during the procedure to reduce the warm to hot stinging sensation. After a deep peel, the skin is red and can result in some swelling and blistering. A crust may form and the skin will turn brown just prior to peeling. Many layers of the skin will peel over a period of 1 to 2 weeks. An ointment may be given to keep the area moist. Temporarily, the new skin will have the color and sensation of significant sunburn, which will gradually fade to your normal skin color.
NON-IDEAL CHEMICAL PEEL CANDIDATES
If acne is not properly treated it can lead to serious issues like permanent scarring. If the area of the skin to be treated is affected by sunburn, cut/broken skin, any form of infection or disease, active Herpes (simplex 1) sores or skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, rosacea or psoriasis, acne peels may not be safely used and a safer alternative may be presented.
Smart Preparation for a Chemical Peel
While a light-to-medium depth facial peel can take less than half an hour, you may need to start preparation for a deeper chemical peel weeks or months in advance. Taking steps to prepare your skin now greatly increases the chances that you will be satisfied with the results of your peel. Following your skincare specialist's recommendations can also reduce the risk of slow healing and other side effects after treatment.
Preparation for a Chemical Peel
Before you get a facial peel, you need to focus on preparing your skin for maximum penetration of the chemical solution. Your specialist may recommend using prescription strength Retin-A or over-the-counter Tretinoin, retinol, or a melanin suppressant like Hydroquinone, Vitamin C, Kojic Acid, or similar for 1 month at-home prior to your peel. These products gently exfoliates your skin. Regular use ensures there are no thicker patches of dead skin that would keep the chemical peel from working evenly. It reduces the chances that you’ll get an uneven result.
*You can stop using these products a few days before your scheduled peel to reduce the chances of irritation.
* Always follow your specialist’s instructions to minimize the chances of unwanted side effects. For light peels, your specialist may recommend a microdermabrasion treatment first to remove excess dead skin.
One Week Before Peel:
Avoid electrolysis, waxing, hair removal creams and laser hair removal for an entire week prior to your chemical peel.
48 Hours Before Your Peel:
Stop using any exfoliating products or products that may be drying or irritating including products containing alpha or beta hydroxyl acids or benzoyl peroxide (a treatment for acne). You will also be advised that on the day of your peel to cleanse your skin in the morning and not to apply makeup on the face other than eyes or lips.
The Peel Procedure:
During the peel your skin will be cleansed and toned and the chemical peel will be applied to your skin using a gentle brush or gauze, the peel will be left on the skin for between 2- 5 minutes, during which time some clients may experience a mild tingling or a mild burning sensation. The procedure is not painful. After the peel a cool compresses may be applied to the skin. Your skin will be moisturized and an antioxidant and a sun screen will be applied to the skin. The entire procedure is usually done in 20-30min.
Skin Peel Aftercare
After your peel you may notice that the skin is more red than usual for days afterwards, you may also notice that the skin feels tight or dry and or you may experience some very mild flaky skin for a few days. Rarely you may experience crusting of the skin, swelling or a reactivation of cold sores. It is very important to use a sunscreen SPF 30+ during the course of your treatment and for four weeks after to prevent uneven skin tone and excess pigmentation.
Do not use any other skin products except those advised by your specialist
Do not pick any spots or peel off any flaky skin
Do not use Alpha Hydroxy Acids or BetaHydroxy Acids on your skin for 24 hours
It is imperative that you use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and avoid direct sunlight for at least one month
Clients with hypersensitivity to the sun should take extra precautions to guard against exposure immediately following the procedure, as they may be more sensitive following the peel.
Please avoid strenuous activity for 24 hours.
Avoid direct sun and extremes of heat (hot showers, saunas, Jacuzzi, etc.)
When washing your face do not scrub, use a gentle cleanser for sensitive skin.
Apply a light moisturizer or serum such as vitamin E oil or Emu oil as often as needed to relieve dryness and tightness
Do not have any other facial treatment for at least one week after the peel
Will I be able to go out in the sun after a peel?
Your skin will be more susceptible to sun damage up to 4 weeks after the treatment as the peels resurface the skin. We recommend a sun protection cream of at least SPF 30 is worn permanently to reduce the effects of sun damage and ageing. If travelling to a hot climate we recommend a skin peel is done on return of the journey.
Are essential and should be used in combination with an antioxidant to protect the skin from the aging effects of ultraviolet sun damage. It is very important to use a sunscreen, we recommend SPF 30, and to avoid sun exposure following a peel, and during the treatment period for up to four weeks. As the delicate post peel skin can be more easily sun damaged and this can lead to excessive skin pigmentation.
Are the peels good for scarring?
Yes, skin peels are an ideal treatment for the reduction of scarring. They can be especially effective against acne scarring, however it may take more than one peel to achieve the optimum results.
Will the peel get rid of pigmentation marks?
Pigmentation marks caused by sun damage can be removed or reduced by skin peels. However there is a small risk that the skin peel could cause pigmentation marks to the skin. Dark skins, such as Asian and Black skins are more prone to this damage; they still can be treated with preparation to the skin before the peel. Your specialist will be able to advise on the appropriate peel for your skin type.
What can I expect after a Chemical Peel?
Downtime will differ depending on the strength and formula of the chemical peel. For a light chemical peel, expect 4-5 days of very light peeling. This peeling is generally barely visible so you will be able to go about your daily activities without any worries. However, a deep chemical peel will require more downtime. It can take over a week for your skin to stop peeling, and your skin can remain slightly pink for a few weeks.