Chemical peels are a restorative, cosmetic procedure that removes damaged skin cells, revealing healthier skin underneath. The formulated solution peels away all damaged skin cells in a specific target area, allowing healthy skin to grow and take its place. When performed by a board-certified dermatologist or trained skin care specialist, chemical peels are exceptionally safe.
What Are Chemical Peels For?
Since the skin is the biggest organ in the human body, it is also the most exposed, which means it takes a beating day in and day out. When going outside, the skin is exposed to harmful ultraviolet rays, changes in climate, pollutants, and other elements that do damage. Because of that, it causes sunspots, wrinkles, and other blemishes that make it look older.
In fact, the skin is constantly shedding about once a month, and the body makes new ones to replace them. So, when imperfections are developed, like sunspots or scars, they only affect the top few layers of the skin, which means that removing those layers of skin would help remove those imperfections.
With the help of chemical peels, they remove layers of skin so that newer, healthier skin cells can surface. In the process, blemishes and other imperfections are peeled away. Depending on the extent of the damage, one treatment might not eliminate imperfections, but it can make them much less noticeable.
Are Chemical Peels Safe For All Skin Types?
In general, fair-skinned and light-haired patients are better candidates for chemical peels. However, most people with sensitive skin can tolerate today’s milder peels since gentler acids can now be mixed and tailored to a patient’s skin type. On the other hand, superficial to medium-depth peels are sometimes used successfully in people with dark skin to treat problems such as acne, melasma, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (dark spots).
While peels can lighten dark spots, they can also cause them in some cases. That’s why it’s important to consult with a skin care provider who has significant experience treating sensitive skin and skin of color before having a peel. This is because the chosen provider has the skills and knowledge to evaluate the skin and select a chemical mixture that’s both safe for the skin and best suited to the problem desired to treat.
How To Prepare For A Chemical Peel?
Before the procedure, a consultation with the dermatologist or skin care specialist is needed to determine the best treatment option possible. The details about the specific peel will be discussed, as anything that could interfere with the peel. This may include whether acne medications are taken and information about whether or not the patient scars easily.
Before a chemical peel, the patient must remember the following:
- Do not use any type of retinol or retin-A topical medication for at least 48 hours.
- Inform the skin care specialist about any medications taken.
- Don’t have been on Accutane for at least six months.
The doctor may also recommend to:
- Take an antiviral medication for any history of fever blisters or cold sores to prevent a breakout around the mouth.
- Use special lotions to improve treatment, like a glycolic acid lotion.
- No waxing, epilating or using of depilatory hair removal products a week prior to the treatment. Hair bleaching must also be avoided.
- Use a retinoid cream to avoid skin darkening.
- Refrain from using facial scrubs and exfoliants a week before the chemical peel.
- Possibly arrange a ride home, especially for medium or deep chemical peels requiring the patient to be sedated.
If the doctor prescribes a painkiller or sedative, take it according to their instructions.
What Are The Different Chemical Peels Available?
Below are the different types of chemical peels, which the dermatologist can help determine whether a light, medium, or deep chemical peel is best for the skin.
Light Chemical Peel
Also called the superficial peel, this type of peel will lightly exfoliate the skin. It only removes the epidermis, which is the skin’s topmost layer. Typically, a light chemical peel is used for the following:
- fine wrinkles
- dry skin
- uneven skin tone
The light chemical peel uses mild chemical agents. That said, it’s safe to get light chemical peels every 2-5 weeks.
Medium Chemical Peel
This type of peel is slightly stronger than a light peel. It removes the epidermis plus the top layer of the dermis, which lies beneath the epidermis. A medium peel is typically used for:
- uneven skin tone
- acne scars
Several treatments may be needed to get the desired results.
Deep Chemical Peel
A deep chemical peel removes the epidermis and the upper and middle layers of the dermis. It uses very strong chemicals, so a local anesthetic is needed before the procedure to prevent pain and discomfort. Typically, a deep chemical peel is used for:
- deeper scars
- deeper wrinkles
- pre-cancerous skin patches
In fact, the effects of deep chemical peel can last for 10 years, so it’s done only once. There is no need for repeated treatments.
Are There Possible Side Effects Of Using Chemical Peels?
Like any other treatment, chemical peel didn’t come without its risks. Common side effects are temporary, including redness, dryness, stinging or burning, and slight swelling. With deep peels, the ability to tan may permanently lose.
Chemical peels can, however, have more serious risks and dangerous side effects that can be permanent. These include:
- Darkening or lightening of the skin color. These can be more common in people with darker skin.
- Scarring. This can be permanent.
- Infections. People with herpes simplex may experience flares following a treatment. Very rarely, chemical peels can cause fungal or bacterial infections.
- Heart, liver, or kidney damage. The phenol used in deep peels can actually damage the heart muscle, kidneys, and liver and cause irregular heartbeats.
The Bottom Line
Aside from being a cosmetic treatment that removes the skin’s top layer, chemical peels also minimize wrinkles and dullness and improve skin texture and tone. At Fresh Aesthetics Medical Spa, we offer a full range of different Chemical Pheels to address your every skincare concern. Ultimately, each option can be further customized to ensure that all your skin needs are perfectly met.