Chemical peel is a technique which involves the application of a solution which has acidic pH, in order to improve the properties of skin on face, neck and hands primarily. The solution thus applied to the skin causes it to exfoliate and eventually peel off giving way to the layer of fresh baby skin.
Chemical peels create epidermal destruction; its subsequent elimination is followed by tissue replacement through regeneration and remodeling through a controlled stage of inflammation. The new exposed skin is smoother, less wrinkled than the old damaged ones, because the layer formed freshly is a result of regenerative mode that was triggered on the skin by the solution.
Types of peels
- Superficial peels: Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA’s) or mild acids which are capable of acting only the outer layer of skin. These peels work to gently exfoliate the skin and improve mild hyper-pigmentations and rough skin texture.
- Medium Peels: Done using higher strength peeling agents like Glycolic or TCA , these peels have the ability to penetrate up to the middle layers of skin to remove the damaged skin cells. These peels help reducing age spots, fine wrinkles, freckles as well as moderate extends of skin hyper-pigmentation.
- Deep Peels: Peeling agents like TCA, Phenol in stronger concentration or combination peeling agent like Dermamelan or Cosmelan deeply penetrate beyond the middle skin layer and remove the damaged skin cells. The treatment is effective in removal of moderate line, freckles and shallow scars.
A Chemical Peel is useful for the following purposes:
- Reduction of fine lines and wrinkles
- Removal of dead skin cells
- Smoothening of the rough texture
- Improvement of skin hydration
- Skin softening and reduction of open pores
- Lightening of pigments and dark spots
- Reduction in the appearance of acne scars
- Reduction and drying out of active acne
- Exfoliation of razor bumps
- Reduction of ingrown hair
- Enhancement of homecare programs by allowing deeper penetration of active products
Which skin type works the best with chemical peels?
Generally, a chemical peel works the best for light skinned individuals. Few things you need to check before undergoing chemical peels are:
- If you are pregnant or breastfeeding
- Took Isotretinoin within past six months
- Any pre-existing skin conditions like psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis , rosacea, cut or broken skin, acute sun burns, or active Herpes simplex sores
- Have used Retinoid creams or applications containing ascorbic acid , bleach, or other skin lightening agents or other acid based products within past 48 hours
What are the pre-procedure instructions to follow?
- It’s safe to have at least 2 weeks between UV exposure and any skin treatment. Tanned skin can be treated with a combination of microdermabrasion and a chemical peel depending on skin type and severity of the issue.
- Do not scrub, exfoliate or use peeling products such a AHA’s on your skin prior to the skin peel appointment, unless advised by your practitioner as a part of your skin program.
- For priming your skin you may be asked to use a pigment suppressing product for two or six weeks before peeling the skin
- If using any topical retinoid cream, discontinue its use 48 hours prior and 48 hours post the peel, unless recommended otherwise by your doctor.
- Do not schedule fillers or Botox treatment for at least two weeks prior to going for a chemical peel
- Do not have any laser/Energy based treatments for at least three days prior to skin peeling.
What do I expect during the procedure?
Once the peel solution is applied on your skin, you may feel slight warmth, or slight tingling /stinging sensation which is usually well tolerated. It shows that the peels are working.
Once the intended process is completed, the acid is neutralized using water or a neutralizing solution.
What are the post procedure instructions to follow?
Superficial peels: these may have a downtime of 2 to 7 days. The skin may initially turn dull and have visible exfoliation. Adequate moisturizing and sunscreen should help counter the dryness. Any make up if needed should be worn after 1 week of treatment.
Medium Peels: these may have a downtime of 5 to 14 days. The skin may turn dull wit slight swelling. There will be visible crusting and peeling within this period only. Eyelids may swell shut in some cases, blistering of skin can also be observed. These symptoms are completely anticipated and are normal. Your doctor would prescribe you a moisturizer, skin repair cream, face-wash regime and a sunscreen which has to be followed diligently for the optimum outcome of the peel. Sun exposure should be limited during the peeling period. Mild makeup could be applied after the peeling subsides, but it is highly recommended to schedule a follow up appointment to monitor the progress made.
Deep Peels: these are more ablative than the medium peels, and may have a downtime of up to 21 days. The treated area is kept under sterile occlusion to reduce any chance of foreign particle contact. Skin need to be kept under a skin repair cream prescribed by your doctor for up to three weeks after the treatment. Sun exposure should be limited for up to six months after the treatment.
While chemical peels at Gawai Healthcare, Bangalore , utilize chemicals to act from beneath the surface after their external application, microdermabrasion physically abrade the surface so to induce the inflammation and healing triggering further collagen formation.
Microdermabrasion has a milder exfoliating effect than a deep peel and the effects aren’t very dramatic, although microdermabrasion has an advantage of having no downtime and makes it a more acceptable treatment for working professionals. Also unlike microdermabrasion, a deep chemical peel bleaches your skin and change the actual pigmentation of the skin; patients with darker skin tone would best benefit from microdermabrasion.