Sometimes your basic facial just isn’t enough. I know I’ve had times when my skin needed a little more than your average:
I needed something that would clear out all the years of dead skin cells as well as smooth out some of those fine wrinkles. That’s when I choose to add a chemical peel to my skincare regimen.
What is a Chemical Peel?
You’ve seen it on the spa menu and maybe even gotten one, but what exactly is a chemical peel?
A chemical peel is a spa technique used to improve the appearance of the skin on the face, neck, or hands by applying a chemical combination to the skin.
This chemical combo causes the skin to exfoliate and eventually peel off. The regenerated skin is usually smoother and less wrinkled than the old skin.
The Chemical Peel Steps
There are three basic levels of chemical peels.
1. Superficial (Lunchtime) Peel
This is the mildest of peels. It uses alpha-hydroxy acid or another mild acid to lightly penetrate the outer layer of skin to exfoliate it gently.
This treatment is great for improving the appearance of mild skin discoloration and rough skin as well as refreshing the face, neck, chest, or hands. You might have a light chemical peel as often as every two to five weeks.
2. Medium Peel
This peel is a mid-level peel. It uses glycolic or trichloroacetic acid to go a little deeper by penetrating the outer and middle layers of skin to remove damaged skin cells.
This treatment is great if you want to improve age spots, fine lines, fine wrinkles, freckles, and moderate skin discoloration.
It can also smooth rough skin and treat certain kinds of precancerous skin growths like actinic keratosis. A medium peel can be repeated after three to nine months to maintain results.
3. Deep Peel
This is the strongest peel that you can get. It uses trichloroacetic acid, or phenol, to deeply penetrate the middle layer of skin and remove damaged skin cells.
This treatment is great for removing moderate lines, age spots, freckles, and shallow scars. You will see the most dramatic improvements in skin appearance if you choose this peel, but it is so strong that it can only be performed once.
Reduces the Appearance of Flaws
Chemical peels can reduce the appearance of:
- Acne scars
- Age spots
- Aging skin
- Crow’s feet
- Sun-damaged skin
- Sagging skin
Chemical Peel After-Care
Superficial Peels Healing Time
Superficial peels take one to seven days to heal. You can expect treated skin to be red and possibly scale off.
While the skin is healing, lotion, or cream should be applied, followed by daily use of sunscreen. You can usually wear makeup the next day.
Medium Peels Healing Time
Medium peels take between seven and 14 days to heal. Your skin will initially be red and swollen. Don’t be surprised if the swelling worsens for the first 48 hours.
Eyelids may even swell shut. Blisters may form and break. Skin may crust and peel off in seven to 14 days. Your aesthetician will give you directions that will include daily skin soaks, ointment application, and antiviral medication.
It is important to avoid all sun exposure until healing is complete. Camouflage makeup can be worn in about five to seven days. This peel will require a follow-up appointment to monitor progress.
Deep Peels Healing Time
Deep peels require 14 to 21 days to heal. Expect to leave the office with bandages over the treated area. Your aesthetician will prescribe an aftercare protocol that will include skin soaks four to six times daily, followed by 14 days of ointment application and then another 14 days of moisturizer.
An antiviral medication is also required. Sun exposure must be avoided for three to six months, and camouflage makeup cannot be used until after 14 days from the treatment.
Several follow-up appointments will be required to monitor healing.
Chemical Peel Cautions
Your doctor or aesthetician might caution against a chemical peel or specific types of chemical peels if you have:
- Taken Isotretinoin (Amnesteem, Claravis) in the past six months
- A dark complexion
- A history of keloids
- Abnormal skin pigmentation
- A history of frequent or severe outbreaks of cold sores
Possible Side Effects Include
- Depending on the peel, redness may last for a few days to several months.
- This is rare, but when it does happen, antibiotics and steroid medications can be used to soften the appearance of these scars.
- Changes in skin color. A chemical peel can cause treated skin to become darker than normal (hyperpigmentation) or lighter than normal (hypopigmentation).
- A chemical peel can cause a flare-up of the herpes virus and possibly bacterial or fungal infections.
- Heart, kidney, or liver damage. Deep chemical peels use carbolic acid (phenol), which can:
- Damage the heart muscle
- Cause arrhythmia
- Damage the kidneys and liver
Are You a Good Candidate for a Chemical Peel?
If you are getting a light chemical peel at a spa, discuss this with your skin care specialist. Choose a respected aesthetician that you can trust. This is your skin!
If you choose to get a medium or deep peel, then you will be getting a medical-grade peel through a med-spa or a wellness clinic. Your dermatologist or other treatment providers will:
- Review your medical history.
- Do a skin inspection to determine what type of chemical peel you might benefit from most and how your physical features might affect your results.
- Talk with you about your motivations and expectations, potential risks, how many treatments you might need, how long it will take to heal, and what your results might be.
We Can Help
If you are looking for a non-invasive treatment that is going to give you stunning results, make an appointment for a chemical peel today.
There are a wide variety of peels available- some with little to no recovery time required. Our experienced Silhouette aestheticians will be glad to:
- Examine your skin
- Discuss your expectations
- Help you decide which option is right for you
Clearer, brighter, and tighter skin is on its way!