Fire and Ice
Fountain of Youth
What is a chemical peel?
A chemical peel can go by several names, from chemexfoliation to derma peeling. The results, though, whatever the title, are the same: youthful, rejuvenated skin that looks a year younger! The aesthetician will apply a chemical solution to the skin. This, in turn, will cause injury to the top layers of skin, and then, as the name signifies, this skin will peel off, leaving newer intact skin exposed. This under a layer of skin that comes through really is healthier and thus younger looking.
Who should get a chemical peel?
Before getting a chemical peel, you want to meet with the aesthetician and discuss any conditions you may have, any concerns that come to mind, and your specific skin type needs. A chemical peel could be the ideal treatment for those looking to improve their skin’s tone and texture.
Often chemical peels will be performed on the face; they can also be done on the hands and neck area, those areas that are most commonly exposed and thus susceptible to damage from the elements. For those who do get a chemical peel, you may find that the process can help with:
- Reducing of fine lines and wrinkles
- Helping to diminish sunspots, as well as age and liver spots
- Evening out rough skin and scalier patches
- Reducing the look of scarring
The key is the depth of the peel, and this is where it is so important to consult with the aesthetician first to get a better sense of what to expect and what, consequently, might be best for your skin texture and type.
If the chemical peel is more of a superficial peel, it could be suitable for all skin types—though you want first to check and make sure. For those with darker skin tones, the skin could appear even darker following treatment of this nature. In some cases, you can run the risk of hyperpigmentation with a chemical peel. Other instances in which a chemical peel may not be recommended include:
- Those with a history of abnormal scarring
- Skin conditions that may require medications
- If you are unable to stay out of the sun following a chemical peel
How are chemical peels performed?
The number one question about chemical peels is “how are they performed.” It is common to be curious about the process involved. The skin first gets a deep cleanse. This helps to remove excess oils, residual makeup, dirt, and debris that may collect on the skin over time.
A solution will be applied to the skin—this takes the form of an acid and is typically going to be either: glycolic acid, trichloroacetic acid, salicylic acid, or carbolic acid. However, other types can also be used. The different acid types will impact how deep the chemical peel is. And there are specific results associated with each; this is why an initial consultation is crucial to ensure you get the best results.
Some may opt for a light chemical peel. The outermost skin layer is removed with this process, revealing a fresher underneath layer. For those looking for the removal of fine lines and acne scarring, for example, this could be a great option. With deeper penetrating chemical peels and removing deeper wrinkles and scarring, for instance, going with a medium or deep chemical peel could be the better way to go. Often with the latter, you will go to a med spa to have this type of procedure performed.
Preparing for your chemical peel
It is essential to prepare appropriately for your chemical peel appointment. A couple of crucial guidelines to follow include:
- Avoid excessive sun and tanning for two weeks before your chemical peel.
- Avoid products that contain retinoids one to two weeks before your appointment.
- Avoid topical lotions and creams the day of your appointment.
- Make sure the area to be peeled is free of any sores or lesions. Otherwise, you need to reschedule your chemical peel.
- The day of the peel ensures that your skin is clean—the aesthetician will perform a more thorough cleanse once you start your peel process.
What are the risks of chemical peels?
The risks of a chemical peel are generally minimal though there can be things that you need to watch out for with certain skin types. If you have a history or family history of discoloration, you may want to consult with a dermatologist first. If you are pregnant, it's probably best to hold off or consult with a doctor before a chemical peel.
Some light scarring could occur, mainly if you are prone to scarring. If there is any scarring, this can generally be treated relatively easily.
A chemical peel could activate old sores for those who have a history of herpes. You might want to run this by your dermatologist to discuss medication to control flare ups. The risk of any infection is rare but has occurred.
Expectations after the chemical peel?
The results of your chemical peel will, of course, be determined by the type of acid used and the overall depth of the chemical peel. Among some of the benefits/effects that you can expect through following a chemical peel are:
- A sunburn-like feel/look that could last anywhere from 2-6 days
- There also might be some light scaling of the skin.
- You will want to be diligent about applying lotion and sunscreen daily to keep your skin moisturized and safe.
- Most are okay wearing makeup right after their chemical peel.
- For maximum results, it is suggested that you get more than one chemical peel—optimally, 3 to 5 are recommended for best results.