When skin is looking tired, blemishes are out of control, or your skin just needs a pick-me-up, a chemical facial peel can be the solution to your skin’s cry for help. If you are new to the skincare process or are curious if the treatment may be right for you, you may be wondering how it all works. Skincare professionals can help you determine your skin’s needs and provide you with a treatment plan, and our guide below serves as a closer look at chemical face peels.
With so many skincare products and treatments on the market it can be difficult to discern between the purpose and promises of each one. A chemical peel, as its name suggests, is the process of applying acids to the skin to resurface and rejuvenate the skin and may cause peeling. This treatment helps to remove damaged skin cells and stimulate cell turnover to reveal fresh, beautiful skin.
There are different levels of strength and skin penetration depending on the method and type of acid applied. We will dive deeper into the different types of chemical peels later in this guide.
If you are wondering if a chemical peel is right for you, you’ll want to determine what your skincare goals are. Chemical peels have many benefits and target several different skin concerns. The treatment can be done on different areas including the face, neck, or hands. Chemical peels can be used to:
Depending on the individual goals, severity of skin concern, and your skincare professional’s assessment, the recommended type of chemical peel can differ. There are three main types of peels; light, medium and deep. The different levels of acids used and level of skin penetration can be used to target mild to severe concerns.
Generally, the stronger the acid and the deeper layer of skin penetrated, the peel will have a stronger effect. A strong peel may not be right for all candidates and sometimes a more mild option may do the trick. Your skincare consultant can recommend the best type of chemical face peel.
Types of chemical peels from most mild to deepest include:
A light peel is most commonly performed, and is the mildest of the peel formulas. A light peel is typically beneficial for reducing very fine lines, improving dry skin, mild texture and discoloration, and acne. Acids used for light peels include:
A medium peel is generally performed only once every couple of years using a trichloroacetic acid. Because of deeper penetration, it can remove larger wrinkles and precancerous skin lesions; however, this peel can make the skin temporarily look like a sunburn. Acids used for medium peels include:
Deep chemical peels, although rarely used anymore since the advancement of laser applications, uses Phenol. The application is very painful and is done under a general anesthesia. Acids used for deep peels include:
Keep in mind, the type and strength of the acid used will determine whether the chemical peel can safely be performed by a licensed aesthetician. Deeper chemical peels may only be administered by a licensed physician in many cases.
A chemical peel can seem like a scary procedure, conjuring up images of red-faced women commonly seen on TV (hello, Samantha Jones), but with the right information you can feel comfortable getting started. Some common questions people have about chemical peels include:
The recovery process differs based on the type of peel.
Time to heal is 1 to 7 days. Skin will be red after the peel, but redness goes away and scaling may develop. Lotion or cream should be applied until the skin heals, followed by daily sunscreen. Usually you can wear makeup immediately after the peel. No follow-up is needed. However, 3 to 5 peels may be necessary to give you the desired results. These peels may be repeated every 2 to 5 weeks.
Time to heal is 7 to 14 days. Skin will be red and swollen after the peel and you may experience blisters that form and break open. Skin crusts and peels off in 7 to 14 days. Daily soaks of the skin are advised for a specified period and you should apply ointment after each soak. You will likely be prescribed an antiviral medication for 10 to 14 days. You should apply lotion or cream to the skin and completely avoid the sun until skin heals. You may begin to wear makeup after 5 to 7 days. A follow-up visit is required after this type of peel.
Time to heal is 14 to 21 days. After the peel, your skin will be bandaged. While healing, 4 to 6 daily soaks are recommended. For 2 weeks after the treatment, apply ointment after each soak and after 14 days you may apply thick moisturizer as directed. You will need to take an antiviral medication for 10 to 14 days and totally avoid the sun for 3 to 6 months after the peel. You must wait at least 14 days before you begin to wear makeup. Your physician will want to do a follow-up the following day and several times during the first week.
All chemical peels that require some at-home care. The after care will differ based on the chemicals used and your own skin's needs. Your skincare professional should detail how to care for your skin post-peel, but some general tips include:
For optimal results, fair-skinned and light-haired patients are better candidates for chemical peels. However, if you have darker skin, you may find successful results depending on the type of peel--such as a Jessner peel--and skin concern you wish to treat. Generally, if you have darker skin you may be more likely to have an uneven skin tone after your peel.
It depends. If you are pregnant, you should always consult with your doctor before any chemical peel. Generally, light chemical peels can be considered safe during pregnancy. The acid in these peels stay active for no more than five minutes and does not cause any harm to you or the fetus. Deeper peels should be considered strictly off limits for those who are pregnant. It is also recommended to avoid peels that contain salicylic acid. These acids and deep peels can permeate your skin and have an affect on the fetus.
Chemical peels tend to produce little to no side effects and when they do appear they tend not to be severe. Some common side effects include:
You will see the results of your chemical peel when your skin is fully healed. Healing time may vary from 1 day to up to 21 days. For lighter peels, you may need to get several treatments to get the desired results.
The results of your chemical peel will always depend on your skin type, skin condition and the concerns you wish to treat with chemical peels. However, most results will not be permanent as our skin continues to age. Lighter peels last up to 2 months, medium up to 6 months, and deeper peels can last several years.
Rejuvenate and refresh your skin with a chemical peel from Allure Medical. There are two basic types of chemical solutions we offer to our patients: Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA) and A Trichloroacetic Acid (TCA).