Chemical Peelings 101: Everything you need to know
Sometimes it is easy to assume that all chemical peels are the same but it is important to know the differences between the acids used in these skin care treatments. How can you know which one is the most appropriate for your skin concerns? Read our guide and find out if a chemical peel is the right treatment for your skin and learn about what to expect before and after the procedure.
What is a chemical peel?
A chemical peel is a skin treatment technique used to treat of skin diseases, using a chemical solution which causes an accelerated renewal of the skin’s cells, causing dead cells to eventually peel off. The new regenerated skin is therefore smoother, lighter and less wrinkled than the old skin and it is also temporarily more sensitive to the sun.
What types of chemical peel exist?
The main difference between chemical peels lies in the degree of depth of action and the histological and clinical changes involved. However, depth is also associated with longer healing times and greater possibility of harmful side effects.
There are three basic types of chemical peels:
· Superficial or ‘lunchtime’ peel: these peels don’t require much downtime as they only
cause the destruction and total renewal of the stratum corneum and partial of the epidermis (the most superficial layers of skin). Alpha-hydroxy acid or another mild acid is used to treat only the outer layer of skin to gently exfoliate it. These treatments are used to improve the appearance of mild skin discolourations and rough skin. Because these are such mild treatments, superficial peels must be repeated several times in order to begin to see results. Lunchtime peels require one to seven days to heal. Cream should be applied until the skin is fully healed and daily sunscreen is mandatory to avoid sun damage.
· Medium peel: these peels are popular since results can be achieved rather quickly. Medium peels might cause mild discomfort or stinging. Acids are applied to penetrate the outer and middle layers of skin to remove damaged skin cells. These treatments are used to improve the appearance of skin hiperpigmentations and improve condition of acneic skin. They can also be used to smooth rough skin and treat some precancerous skin growths such as actinic keratosis. Although the peeling process lasts a few days, medium peels could be your best bet if you are seeking visible results quickly. Medium peels require 7 to 14 days to heal and skin. It is recommended to soak skin daily, followed by ointment application. All sun exposure must be avoided until healing is complete. A follow-up appointment is necessary to monitor progress.
· Deep peel: Deep peels are suitable to remove damaged skin cells from deeper layers of the skin, dramatically reducing the appearance of skin concerns such as wrinkles, acne scarring, etc. It is recommended to carry out these treatments once as they are much stronger and painful. A patient undergoing a deep peel must be prepared for weeks of downtime and must ensure skin is prepped prior to the treatment. Deep peels are used on the face and not on body areas and they require from 14 to 21 days to heal. The treated area will be protected with bandages and skin needs to be soaked for to six times daily, followed by ointment application for the first 14 days. All sun exposure must be avoided for 3 to 6 months. Several follow-up appointments will be necessary to monitor progress.
How does the peeling process work?
Prior to a chemical peel, skin needs to be prepped with a product that is able to degrease the surface of skin. Then, a chemical acid solution is applied to the skin surface and left there for a specific period of time so that the product can act on the skin. After this time, another chemical solution is applied to neutralise the traces of the acid that raise the pH of the skin to counteract the aggressive effects of acids. Over the next 1 to 14 days, depending on how deep the chemical peeling has acted, the skin peels off. This procedure destroys part of the skin cell connections in a controlled way, so that renewed and healthy skin can grow.
What happens during a chemical peel?
A skin evaluation by a dermatologic surgeon is mandatory before embarking upon a chemical peel. Before having a chemical peel, some patients need to follow a pre-peel skin care plan for 2 or 4 weeks. This plan can help skin improve the results and reduce potential side effects.
How long does the peel procedure take?
Superficial to medium peel procedures do not take more than 30 minutes. Larger body parts will require more times. Deep peels can take up to 60 min and are only applied on face, neck and décolletage.
What can a chemical peel help to improve?
· Soften fine lines and wrinkles
· Reduce the appearance of ageing and photo ageing spots
· Minimise the appearance of sun damage
· Smooth away rough skin
· Help uneven pigmentation appear more even
· Improve the appearance of scars, particularly acne scars
· Reduce the appearance of dark patches, known as melasma
· Brigthen your skin’s appearance for a fresher look
· Reduce the appearance of enlarged pores
· Reduce acneic lesions
· Treat actinic keratosis
How often can I repeat a peel session?
Superficial and medium depth peel procedures might be repeated every 2 weeks. However, 3 to 6 peels may be needed to achieve the desired results, and for deep peels only one procedure is recommended.
TOSKANI Peelings are suitable to achieve superficial to medium peels. Learn more about our peelings here.