A chemical peel, which is a cosmetic treatment where a chemical solution is applied to the skin, which makes it "blister" and eventually peel off, is surprisingly both a safe and popular procedure. Roughly 1.4 million chemical peels were administered in the United States in 2017, according to a report by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. So, despite what the name may imply it’s actually less of a threat to your skin and more of an advantage. During the process there may be a burning and stinging sensation that lasts several minutes, but it is non-invasive meaning it doesn’t involve needles, surgery or extreme pain. The key to a safe chemical peel is making sure that a certified or licensed person does the procedure such as a dermatologist or trained skincare specialist, and making sure to follow their directions both before and after the treatment.
Following the treatment orders isn’t just to ensure safety, but to see the results you’re looking for. The aftermath of a chemical peel of course means peeling and at some point looking like a shedding snake, however this is a minor problem compared to how it will improve your skin. Once the peeling is over, skin both looks better with a smoother feel and shiny glow and causes skincare products to work better. With the dead skin cells removed, it allows products to penetrate and be more effective on the skin. Chemical peels are typically used to treat skin conditions including fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, uneven skin tone, melasma, sun damage and scars including those from acne can look forward to improved skin.
Not one size fits all with chemical peels considering the different skin types and issues that need treatment, so there are different chemical peels available to choose from. There are three types, light or superficial, medium and deep chemical peels, are named based on the depth of skin it treats. The deeper the depth of the peel, the less frequently you have to get it done with the deep procedure only requiring one session. Each treatment consists of the following:
Light chemical peel: Removes the top layer of skin which is the epidermis, and is the quickest and most gentle of the three. It is typically used to treat fine lines, wrinkles, acne, uneven tones and dryness.
Medium chemical peel: This procedure goes a little deeper than the superficial peel and removes skin cells from both the outer layer and the top of the dermis or middle layer of skin. So if you have wrinkles, acne scars or uneven skin tone and want more results than the light chemical peel, this is the best option.
Deep chemical peel: As the name implies, this is the deepest of the three chemical peels and offers the most drastic results. Skin cells are removed from deeper in the epidermis and it requires a longer recovery time and more of a recovery process. This is recommended if you have deeper wrinkles, scars or pre-cancerous growths on your skin.
They say beauty is pain, but typically when it comes to chemical peels there’s no pain. The deep peel does cause some pain, but it’s managed with medication to make sure there’s no discomfort. So really there’s no need to be afraid of chemical peels, and it may be just what your skin needs. Yes, the word chemical can be intimidating when trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but chemical peels are an asset to skincare worth the exception.
About the Author
Julie Grosso is the owner and esthetician at Adara Spa, which has now seen over 4,000 clients varying from acne, acne scars, aging, and hyperpigmentation. The company is currently creating a ski ncare line for post treatment with award-winning labs in CA.