“A chemical peel is a body treatment technique used to improve and smooth the texture of the facial skin using a chemical solution that causes the dead skin to slough off and eventually peel off. The regenerated skin is usually smoother and less wrinkled than the old skin. Thus the term chemical peel is derived.”
There are about as many chemical peels as there are ice bucket challenges. Read on and find out how to choose a chemical peel that is right for your skin.
We’ll start with how much improvement the texture and tone of your skin needs.
If you currently have reasonably tight pores, not much sun damage and no acne, you are probably just looking for a light pick-me-up and a 20-30% glycolic acid peel would be enough. Most of the mild or lighter peels are designed to minimize peeling so you can just go about your regular schedule noticing that a few days after your treatment, your skin looks better than it has in a while.
If acne is your menaces then a salicylic acid peel will help kill the bacteria that cause acne and reduce oil production.
How Does a Chemical Peel Feel?
Most peels have a tingling or stinging sensation that decreases within a few minutes of application. If you feel like your face is on fire then let your technician know! That is not a normal sensation for a light to medium depth peel.
Depending on whether the peel needs neutralizing, sometimes a peel that has stopped stinging can start up again briefly when water is wiped or splashed onto it so don’t panic.
Once the peel is removed, stinging should subside and your face may feel softer initially but may feel drier that few following days while your dead skin cells slough off. Moisturiser and sunblock will be important for the following week.
Can I Do a Chemical Peel at Home?
Remember, although you may be able to access salon peels for home use, we don’t recommend it. Even though you may think your skin can handle anything you put on it, there are good reasons based on previous testing and patient reactions, as to why you can’t easily buy strong peels to do yourself. Technicians have had training not only in the biology of skin but also specific training from each company that produces the peels they carry. They know what to look for that tells them your peel is going too deep or going well.
Skin with a ruddy surface, spots and patches from many years of forgetting sunscreen is going to need a heavier hitter. If you’ve never had a peel and don’t currently use any exfoliating acids like glycolic, salicylic, lactic or even retinol, then do yourself a favour and still start with a 20% and work your way up. If you have any areas of your skin that are red, irritated or broken open, the peel will penetrate deeper in that area and you have a chance of getting a burn. Although burns heal, you may be someone whose skin reacts to inflammation by pigmenting and that is not an issue that is easily resolved.
Spas, Medispas, and cosmetic doctor’s offices will carry a variety of peels and strengths and their experts will recommend the right peel for your concerns. So how do you choose?
You don’t, let them do it.
Once you express your desired results, they will know what you need. Keeping in mind that the lighter chemical peels usually require a series of treatments to get great results and the strongest peels like the Green Peel or a TCA peel may only need to be a repeated once or twice a year as the peeling can be the complete removal of top layers of skin.
The Phenol peels need to be performed by a doctor and require general anaesthesia and a sterile technique. This peel is not for the faint of heart. Post-procedure, you will be dealing with heavy swelling; in fact, your eyes may even be swollen shut and you may need bandages that are left on for a few days. Pain medication, staying indoors and not wearing makeup for several weeks are also a part of the healing process that can take several months to complete.
Not every physician loves strong chemical peels as they can be hard to predict. With the invention of fractional lasers like the Fraxel DUAL, many doctors are choosing to get desired results for severely wrinkled and sun damaged skin with energy devices instead.
Whatever your skin concerns are, everyone can benefit from the light to medium peel to help slough dead skin cells and encourage cell turnover which slows down as we age.
Make a skin treatment appointment, keeping in mind that if you think your skin issues are going to lead you to a medium to strong peel then you should start at an office where a doctor resides or visits regularly as they are more likely to carry what you need.
by M. Wally
Age is state of mind. Aging is a treatable condition.