Chemical peels are a popular anti-aging skin care treatment used to reduce the appearance of fine lines, textural variations, scars and skin tone differences such as hyper pigmentation. They’re a more economical alternative to laser treatments that are used to freshen the facial skin. So, how do chemical peels work? In this article we’ll go over the basics of this popular beauty care treatment.
What Are Chemical Peels?
Chemical peels utilize a variety of acids to remove dead skin cells from the face. This results in newer skin cells being uncovered and a fresher, younger look being revealed. Those who wish to diminish the effects of fine lines, scarring, pigmentation and other skin irregularities often use chemical peels to achieve their desired look.
How Do Chemical Peels Work?
Chemical peels work by applying an acidic solution to the face and letting the acids soften the dead skin cells allowing for easier exfoliation. The affected skin cells slough away and make room for fresher, new skin cells to take their place.
Depending on the type of chemical peel, the solution may be created with the use of glycolic acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid or trichloroacetic acid. These acids can be used separately or in conjunction with one another depending on the desired effects.
A single treatment typically takes about 20 minutes. It’s usually recommended to receive a treatment every month for four to six months to achieve optimal results.
What Types Of Chemical Peels Are There?
There are three main types of chemical peels, superficial, medium, and deep, which are ranked according to how far into the skin they penetrate.
Superficial peels typically use glycolic or lactic acids to remove only the very outer layer of the skin, known as the epidermis. They are most effective for reducing the appearance of fine lines and creating a more uniform skin tone. There is virtually no downtime after receiving a superficial chemical peel.
Medium chemical peels typically use the stronger trichloroacetic acid to penetrate the epidermis and the surface of the middle skin, known as the dermis. The stronger acid of medium chemical peels are more effective for sun damage or acne scarring. The skin may be red or swollen for a week or two after treatment
Deep chemical peels reach down into the dermal layer and are usually considered one off treatments. They’re used for heavy scarring or deep wrinkles. They can also be used to remove precancerous growths. There will be a recovery period of two weeks or more with most deep chemical peels.