Wish you could hit a secret “reset” button for your face, essentially turning back the clock to ‘erase’ fine lines, brown spots, and even acne? Then consider a chemical peel – it’s what most of Hollywood does before walking down the red carpet – and why shouldn’t you look as good as the Stars?!
What does it entail? Basically, Chemical Peels are the application of peeling agents, such as glycolic acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid, retinols, TCA (or phenols) directly to the skin to work in both the epidermal and dermal layer of the skin. First, the skin is thoroughly cleansed, then a peel solution is applied with gauze or a special applicator. The client may feel a ‘tingling to lite sunburn’ sensation, depending on the depth of the type of peel used. The skin will often flush, giving it a slight pink hue. Most peels will remain on the skin for about 10 minutes; afterwards, the therapist will remove it with water or a deactivation solution.
The 3 basic types of Peel:
Light or Lunch-Time Peels (superficial Peel)
Often a diluted form of acid – a glycolic (sugar), lactic (fermented milk), or salicylic acid (willow bark) – these light Peels work on the surface to remove dead, dried layers of skin. They are especially effective in a series and require little or no downtime. Highly effective in the regular treatment of acne, this form of Peel can be used on a weekly basis to achieve lighter, brighter, clearer skin that can be maintained with a simple home-care routine.
TCA, Jessners and fruit acids in high strengths make up this group of Peels. Often combined to influence different layers of the skin, this Peel will require a week to 10 days’ recovery time. Most skin types can benefit from this type of Peel but a patch test is recommended for people with Asian, Black or Native American skin (4-6 on the Fitzpatrick Scale). These Peels can be done in a series for maximum effect, but can also be done as single treatments in the spring and fall to maintain the skin’s healthy appearance. These Peels stimulate the production of cells and cell turnover, boosting collagen and elastin production, although they most likely do not penetrate the dermis layer.
Administered by a physician, Deep Peels reach the dermis or blood level of skin to make lasting changes in the skin. A significant form of resurfacing anesthesia is often involved, along with significant downtime. This process is often combined with other facial surgery. Darker skin types can face hypopigmentation (the loss of color, or white spots on the skin) and are often not good candidates for this procedure. Often a Deep Peel is only done once in a person’s lifetime.
Tanya Gioia is a 10 year skin care therapist, working with both medical and natural ingredients. Read more on her blog about peels pros and cons.