Have you ever wondered how celebrities, models, and media personalities have flawless skin that constantly looks younger even though they are getting older? They were not born that way. They haven’t discovered the fountain of youth either. The secret lies with the chemical peels.
Chemical peel treatment basically involves applying a chemical solution to the skin. The skin starts to blister and then peels off eventually revealing a smoother, youthful skin.
Chemical peel treatments have been effective in the following areas.
- Reduction of freckles, melasma and age spots
- Treatment of wrinkles
- Treatment of acne and acne scars
- Improving the appearance of scars
- Improving the general appearance of the skin
What are the Types of Chemical Peels?
According to Lethal Lash Beauty, a Bellingham facials spa, chemical peels are basically classified based on the pH level and the type of ingredients they are prepared from. There are two things you should consider when dealing with chemical peels.
First, there is the percentage of a peeling agent in the chemical peel. For instance, a 75% lactic acid peel has more concentration of lactic acid than a 15% lactic acid peel. The peel with 75% lactic acid is more effective than the 15% lactic acid peel.
Secondly, there is the pH level of the peel. This is probably the most important thing to consider. It indicates how deep the chemical peel will penetrate your skin. Peels with deeper penetrative power have lower pH levels.
Although they are more effective, peels with pH levels lower than 2.5 are very corrosive and should only be administered by a doctor as they have serious side effects.
There are various types of chemical peels. They include:
1. Superficial or Light Peels
As their name suggests, superficial peels are light treatments of the skin. They only remove the epidermis, which is the topmost layer of the skin. They are made from alpha hydroxyl acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxyl acids (BHAs).
Superficial peels are used to remove wrinkles, facial lines, flaking skin and mild acne scarring. The main advantage of these peels is that they do not hurt.
You may experience slight tingling and your skin may become pinkish. They have no recovery time and no one is likely to notice you had the treatment once you are done.
You only require six to ten treatments superficial chemical peels to achieve the best results. Superficial peels include glycolic peels, salicylic peels, and lactic acid peels.
Derived from sugarcane, glycolic peel is one of the most popular peeling agents. This is because it easily penetrates into the skin due to its small molecular size. Glycolic peel has been effective in the treatment of melasma, acne, and acne scars, seborrhea, photoaging and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
A glycolic peel can be combined with other treatments, such as micro needling and TCA. Depending on its concentration, the glycolic peel can be used both as a superficial peel or as a medium depth peel.
Lactic acid peels are derived from milk and are best suited for you if you have allergic reactions. They are also the go-to product if you have dry or oily or mature skin. This is one of the few treatments that can be done comfortably at home because the peels are mild and there are no severe complications associated with them.
After a lactic acid peel has been applied to your skin, you may experience some dryness, flaking, and redness of the skin. However, the skin recovers within 3 to four days.
Salicylic acid peels treat the upper layer of the skin. They work best on oily skin and are used to treat seborrheic dermatitis and clogged pores. They are also used in the treatment of acne, sun damaged skin, uneven skin tones, and dry or dehydrated skin.
Since they have mild side effects, they can be done on most parts of the body, including the face, shoulders, knees, and hands.
2. Medium Depth Peels
Medium Depth Peels are stronger and have deeper penetrating power than superficial peels. They are derived from Trichloroacetic acid (TCA). The major problem with these types of peels is that they have more side effects than superficial peels and take longer to heal.
Burning and stinging sensation may be felt for up to one hour after the treatment has been done. The recovery process takes at least a week, and redness of the skin may persist for several weeks also.
TCA- Tricholoracetic Acid
It is worth noting that TCA can function both as superficial peels and deeper peels. It all depends on the level of concentration. Lower level peels (say, 5% TCA peels) have lower penetration power and will only eliminate the uppermost layer of the skin.
Higher level peels (over 60%) have the power to reach the dermis layer. TCA is usually combined with glycolic acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid and sometimes ethanol to create a mild peel.
The number of medium depth peel treatments depends on how you want to look and the condition of your skin after each peel.
3. Deep Peels
Deep Peels are the strongest chemical peels. They are prepared from either carbolic acid or higher concentration of TCA. They penetrate to the deepest layers of the skin (Dermis) and have the best results for your skin.
The downside to this treatment is that it is very painful and you may need to be sedated during the procedure. Your face will swell for several days and your skin will be itchy and it will eventually peel off. The recovering process takes several weeks. The redness of the skin may visible for several months.
Carbolic Acid Peels
Carbolic Acid Peels are also referred to as phenol peels, carbolic acid peels permeate deeper into the skin than all other peels. They are therefore used to treat extensive skin damage caused by acne scarring and sun damage. They are also used in the treatment of wrinkling and skin discoloration.
Due to the high risks associated with phenol peel treatments, they are restricted to the face only. Deep Phenol peels are the most powerful peels and generally, only one treatment is needed to get great results that will last for a long time.