A chemical peel is a well-known skin treatment that can reduce the appearance of acne, scarring, wrinkles, and sun damage.
Chemical peeling agents resurface the skin by inducing a controlled wound and thus removing superficial layers of the skin. As a result, chemical peels promote the growth of a new healthy top skin layer and improve skin problems like hyperpigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles, uneven texture and skin impurities.
Chemical peels use acids to exfoliate the skin, affecting two layers of skin; the epidermis and the dermis. The epidermis is the visible outer layer, and the dermis sits just beneath. This deeper layer contains nerve endings, sweat glands, and hair follicles. All chemical peels remove a controlled amount of skin cells from the epidermis. A stronger peel may also remove a small part of the dermis. The process can cause swelling and peeling, which may take 1–2 weeks to go away, depending on the strength of the peel.
The right choice of peel depends on the type of skin and target issues such as:
- Enlarged pores
A light chemical peel improves skin texture and tone and lessens the appearance of fine wrinkles. The results are subtle but increase with repeated treatments.
A medium chemical peel will leave your skin will noticeably smoother, and after a deep chemical peel, you’ll see a dramatic improvement in the look and feel of treated areas.
There are different types of acids used in chemical peels, including:
Alpha-hydroxy acids: such as glycolic acid, lactic acid, and citric acid. At-home exfoliating treatments often contain these acids
Beta-hydroxy acids: salicylic acid is one example, and it is especially beneficial for acne-prone skin and enlarged pores
Trichloroacetic acid: typically used in medium or deep chemical peels
Phenol: a powerful chemical agent used in deep peels
Some chemicals in peels cause the skin to develop a white coating, called “frosting” which has three levels:
- Patches of white coating over red skin
- A general white coating with redness underneath
- Complete coverage of white coating with almost no redness
What products or procedures should I avoid before a chemical peel?
• Hair removal by wax, creams or electrolysis
• A few days before your peel, stop all topicals such as Retin-A, Differin or Tazorac, as well as any products containing retinol, alpha hydroxyl acids (AHA), beta hydroxyl acids (BHA) or benzoyl peroxide.
• If you’ve had fillers, cosmetic or laser treatments, you should wait until skin sensitivity has completely disappeared
What about products for home use?
Many of the products we stock at IHA contain the same agents used in chemical peels in lower concentrations of acid, and which exfoliate the skin gradually over time.
Products with the following ingredients may exfoliate the skin in a similar way to a professional peel, but with less dramatic results:
Glycolic acid: This can treat surface-level pigmentation, mild signs of aging, fine lines, and sun damage
Lactic acid: This is also useful for minor sun damage, fine lines, and hyperpigmentation. It is similarly effective to glycolic acid
Mandelic acid: This acid is effective for treating superficial redness and an uneven skin tone
Salicylic acid: This can help with oily or acne-prone skin
Products ideally should be used in conjunction with deeper peels overseen by our specialists. Products will require no downtime for healing however you will need to avoid sun exposure, which is why we always utilise winter to schedule a set of peels for our clientele.
Speak to our skilled therapist Nina about the options available to you on 021 434 2564 or contact us online.