Chemical peels are not new, like most things, they have been revamped and have massive popularity throughout the UK . Those clever Egyptians were busy bathing in sour milk for skin rejuvenation (what would now be know as a lactic acid peel) centuries ago, but dermatologists started to properly harness acids for therapeutic use in the 1800’s.
Chemical peel: SKin Peeling
What do you think of when someone mentions a chemical peel? Many of us, immediately think of a burnt red face with skin peeling off? Something nightmares are made of? But why?
In reality, chemical peels have moved on, and are available in many different forms from products you can purchase and use from home to high strength hospital-based procedures.
The perception of chemical peels
Will leave you resembling Freddy Kruger!
CHemical Peel: Skin redness
There is a big misconception regarding chemical peels. We all remember when Samantha from Sex In the City got a chemical peel!
This has gone someway to reinforcing the perception that chemical peels are the ‘bad guy’ of the skin treatment world and must be avoided.
We remember when samantha got one!
SATC, those were the days
You may have considered having a chemical peel in the past, but have been to wary and scared of what might happen during a treatment or after! You might have assumed that the recovery time would be too much and not worth the results.
In this article, I want to clear up some of the misconceptions about chemical peels and answer some very common questions about what is involved; if you have feared the peel you’re not alone………read on to find out more.
chemical peel: How do they work?
The normal pH for skin is around 4.5 - 5.5
Skin pH is slightly acidic
An acid solution is applied to the skin to cause a chemical reaction. This changes the pH of your skin to give a resurfacing effect. A neutraliser is applied to bring the pH of your skin back to normal levels and neutralise the acid content.
pH is a measurement of how acidic or alkaline (basic) a substance is. The scale runs from 0 to 14. A pH of less than 7 is considered acidic, and a pH of more than 7 is basic
The acids used in chemical peels, are called AHA’s (alpha hydroxy acids) & BHA’s (beta hydroxy acids). Commonly used AHA’s, include glycolic or lactic acid, they work an the surface of the skin and salicylic acid, a frequently used BHA, works on the surface and clears pores.
chemical peel: what are the different types?
There are three types of chemical peel; superficial light peels, medium depth peels and deep peels.
Light peels are popular and widely available in salons, they are the gentlest type of chemical peel and suitable for all skin types. It is a painless procedure with only a slight tingling or stinging itchy sensation.
Medium and deep peels are not permitted to be performed in salons, only medically trained individuals can provide these peels. Clients would require pain medication, sedative or anesthesia to be performed.
Often people get muddled with the difference between the superficial light peels that are low risk and available in salons and the medium/deep peels that medically training practitioners performed.
Related Content: Light Chemical Peel Treatment Information
Three Different types of Chemical Peel
Light superficial, medium and deep
Chemical Peel: What is the recovery time?
As mentioned, there are three types of peel and only the light superficial peels are available from salons. Light peels have very little downtime, only a slight flaking of the skin, which can be easily concealed with make-up post treatment and a bit of post treatment redness which is dependent on the individual skin type.
Light peels available in salons use a vastly weaker natural acid solution to remove surface dead cells, it is a painless procedure that has very minimal downtime. Medium to deep peels use a much stronger solution and cause more trauma to the skin with a much longer recovery time.
Chemical Peel: How long does a Treatment take?
Light chemical peels are performed very quickly. A full treatment can be completed in 15 minutes as the solution is only on the face for 2-5 minutes. Great if you are pushed for time, this can be a great ‘lunchtime’ treatment. You will need to attend a consultation appointment before a full treatment to be patch tested and fill out a medical and lifestyle questionnaire to check treatment suitability.
Medium and deep peels take much longer, you would need pain medication and aesthetic administered either topically or intravenously and the solution is applied on the face for 1-2 hours.
Chemical Peel: What is the cost?
Light superficial peels are the least expensive, they range in price depending on the area of the country you live and the quality of products used. In general, a single treatment will range from £30 to £100. Often discounts will be applied when booking a course of peels, usually in treatment blocks ranging from 3-6 sessions.
The stronger medium and deep peel are much more expensive ranging from £500 to over £1000 for a single treatment.
Related Content: Light Chemical Peel Treatment Pricing
Glycolic acid is derived from sugar cane
Acids are derived from natural souces
chemical peel: Do they include harsh chemicals?
The name chemical peel is misleading, there are no harsh chemicals in skin peels, they are naturally derived acids. They cause a chemical reaction when applied to the skin hence the name ‘chemical peel’.
Commonly used natural peeling agents include; glycolic acid (derived from the sugar cane), lactic acid (derived from milk) and salicylic acid (from the white willow tree). Other agents are trichloracetic acid (a relative of vinegar), mandalic (derived from bitter almonds) and jessener (a mix of 3 peeling agents including salicylic, lactic and resorcinol). Often Vitamin C is added to a peeling solution for brightening purposes.
Related Content: Beauty Benefits of Vitamins
chemical peel: can they treat wrinkles?
Yes, a skin peel is a very effective treatment for fine lines and wrinkles. Removing the damaged outer skin layers smooths out fine lines and improves skin structure.
chemical peel: Can they treat acne & acne scarring?
Yes, a course of light skin peels will reduce the severity of acne breakouts. Removing the dead outer layers relieves congestion and removes the dirt and oil build-up from pores that cause breakouts. This removal of the surface dead skin layers can treat mild acne scarring.
For extreme acne scarring, medical grade medium and deep peels would need to be performed.
chemical peel: will it give me spots?
Where light peels are concerned (medium/deep peel would have much more downtime), you can get breakouts happening after a peel but this is a good sign, as it is working the congestion out of your pores clearing the skin.
chemical peel: can i go out in the sun?
No, it is very important to avoid sun exposure, even when just having a light superficial peel. Sun exposure must be avoided two weeks pre and post treatment, this will be even longer for the stronger medium and deep peels.
Chemical peels remove the outer layers of skin, these act as a protective barrier for harmful UVA and UVB rays. This makes your skin more sensitive to the sun, therefore you must be extra careful to avoid sun exposure before and after your treatments.
The sun is the number one cause of premature skin ageing, it is good practice to always keep out of the sun and wear a high factor SPF daily.
Chemical peels and sun exposure do not mix well
Must be avoided at least 2 weeks pre and post treatment for superficial light peels
chemical peel: how many treatments will i need?
For optimum results, light peels work in treatment blocks. The block starts with the minimum strength solution left on the skin for the minimum amount for time, the solution strength and the time it is left on the skin increases as the client progresses through a treatment block. You will see a brightening effect to the skin after one peel but to treat skin concerns you must commit to a treatment block.
Light peels can also be matched and performed within a treatment package to enhance the treatment of certain skin conditions such as acne or anti-ageing.
Medium to deep peels are more suited as a single treatment option due to there high strength and lengthy downtime.
Related Content: Anti-ageing Benefits of Regular Facials?
chemical peel: how long does it take to see results?
Focusing on light peels, you will see instant results with dead skin cells often flaking away immediately from the skin. Over the next 21 days, you will continue to see changes until the skin full heals. Medium and deep peels will take significantly longer to see results due to the lengthy downtime involved.
Chemical Peel: how often can i get one?
Light chemical peels can be performed every 3-4 weeks. With medium and deep peels have a much longer recovery time between treatments due to the increased trauma to the skin.
Superficial light chemical peels, are widely available in salons and have very minimal discomfort, with only mild shedding and peeling of dead skin cells. It removes only the surface layers and make-up can be applied the following day. Light peels have nowhere near the amount of recovery time required for medium or deep peel treatments
Light peels are a fast treatment, taking only 15 minutes, a great ‘lunchtime treatment’ and are massively less expensive than deeper penetrating peels.
The solutions are derived from natural sources, not harsh chemicals as the name suggests. Working through a treatment block, of light peels, spaced 1 moth apart, can treat fine lines and wrinkles, acne, acne scarring and pigmentation discoloration.
If you have further questions about chemical peels or would like advice about your suitability, book in for a free skin analysis consultation