10 Facts You Need to Know Before Getting a Chemical Peel
ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT HAVING A CHEMICAL PEEL? Read this week’s blog to learn more about them and what you can expect!
Trying new skincare products is sometimes scary. What is most intimidating to many is the thought of using chemicals, such as acids, to peel off layers of the skin. However, according to skin experts, chemical peels should not be viewed as intimidating by any means.
Did you know that chemical peels have been used for a long time, dating back to the ancient Egyptians during the time of Cleopatra? Ancient Egyptian women use sour milk, animal oils, salt, and alabaster to make their skin smoother. Milk contains alpha-hydroxy acids that rejuvenates the skin.
During the Roman period, people used grapes which contains tartaric acid to exfoliate their skin. They also used plasters containing a mixture of sulfur, mustard, and limestone to lighten freckles and treat wrinkles.
In 1874, Ferdinand Von Hebra, a dermatologist from Vienna apparently had his own peel techniques to treat pigmentation concerns. A few years later, in 1882, Paul G. Unna of Germany reported using salicylic acid, resorcinol, trichloroacetic acid, and phenol to treat various skin concerns. Following his written report, others also started publishing their works on skin peels.
Fast forward to 1952, in England, George Makee published his reports on using phenol to treat scars which he actually had been using since 1903. Chemical peels started to become popular as phenol solutions improved. Comparisons between using phenol and trichloroacetic acid (TCA) were also made.
In 1974, dermatologist Eugene Van Scott and Ruey Yu reported the positive effects of alpha-hydroxy acids.
Today, AHAs such as lactic acid and glycolic acid are popular treatments for dry skin, acne, fine line, wrinkles, and other conditions caused by sun damage and aging. Other chemicals used in peeling solutions include retinoids, beta-hydroxy acids (salicylic acid), trichloroacetic acid, and phenol (carbolic acid).
Here are some facts that you should know before getting a chemical peel
1. What are chemical peels?
A chemical peel is a method of which a chemical substance is applied to the skin to strip off its top layers to reveal fresh and smooth skin underneath.
Chemical peels are usually done on the face to treat wrinkles, scars, and skin discoloration.
2. What are the types of chemical peels?
A light, superficial chemical peel strips the epidermis or the outer layer of the skin. You can do this type of treatment once every four weeks to treat mild skin concerns such as wrinkles and lines, light hyperpigmentation, minor acne scars, minor skin tone and texture concerns, and dull skin.
Medium chemical peels strips the top layer of the epidermis and the top portions of the dermis of the middle layer of the skin. This is a good choice for those who need deeper chemical exfoliation to treat more prominent skin damage such as acne scars, hyperpigmentation, uneven skin tone, and dry or damaged skin texture. Medium strength chemical peels are safely done every four to six months.
Deep chemical peels strip the skin cells even deeper. Dermatologists recommend and perform this peel for deeper wrinkles, scars, significant hyperpigmentation, and skin sagging. This procedure usually leads to redness, peeling, and scabbing for one to two weeks after the treatment. Significant effects can be achieved after only one session.
3. How do chemical peels work?
Chemical peels, which are typically a gel or water-like liquid, are applied evenly on the face. The peels are made up of acids that increase the acidity of the skin to approximately a 3.8 PH level from the skin’s normal 5.5 PH level. The change in acidity weakens the bond between dead skin cells and the healthy cells.
The chemicals dissolve the outer layers of dead skin cells to even out the skin tone and texture. It helps the skin regenerate and make fresh new skin. It also promotes the building of collagen.
4. How are chemical peels done?
A light chemical peel that may contain glycolic acid or salicylic acid is applied using a cotton pad or gauze. Your skin might experience a mild stinging sensation while the peel is on the skin. The peel should not be left on the skin for more than 8 minutes. Cold water is used to flush and cleanse the skin.
A mild chemical peel should be performed by a dermatologist. A chemical solution containing trichloroacetic acid that is sometimes combined with glycolic acid is applied using an applicator with a cotton tip or gauze. You might feel a stinging and burning sensation for up to twenty minutes. Applying a cold compress will soothe the skin. A fan may also come in handy to cool the skin.
A deep chemical peel is also performed by a dermatologist. Your heart rate will be monitored and you will also be given intravenous fluids. An applicator with a cotton tip will be used to apply carbolic acid, a type of phenol that turns skin white or gray. The procedure is done in segments of fifteen minutes to limit your exposure to phenols. It might take up to 90 minutes to complete the whole procedure.
5. What happens to your skin after a chemical peel?
After a light chemical peel, your treated skin will appear red and dry with mild irritation but it only takes one to seven days to heal. You will notice your new skin to be temporarily lighter or darker than your normal skin tone. Use a mild moisturizer to soothe the skin. You may even use makeup the day after the chemical peel.
After a medium chemical peel, your treated skin will appear to be red and swollen. You will also feel a stinging situation. An ointment can calm the treated area and prevent the skin from excessive drying. Cold compress and pain relievers can provide comfort. When the swelling decreases, you will notice your skin forming a crust that might turn darker. It will take seven to fourteen days for the treated areas to heal but the redness might persist for several months.
After a deep chemical peel, your skin will experience severe redness, swelling, burning, and possibly a throbbing sensation. The severe swelling could make your eyelids shut. The doctor will cover the treated skin with surgical dressing and prescribe some pain relievers. You will also need to treat your skin with an ointment several times a day for two weeks after the chemical peel. After this period, new skin will develop but redness might still be experienced for several months. The results are lighter or darker skin and often the loss of its capacity to tan. You should be staying out of the sun anyways though!
The doctor recommends staying at home during the healing period. You will need to visit the doctor several times for follow-up and monitoring of your healing process. You can begin to use makeup after two weeks when the treated areas get covered by new cells.
6. What benefits can you expect after a chemical peel?
Chemical peels can improve various skin concerns such as:
Acne: Light and medium chemical peels can unclog hair follicles to regulate sebum production. Peels also kill bacteria, reduce inflammation, and aid in absorbing topical treatments.
Acne scars: Medium chemical peels can exfoliate the top layers of the skin. The new skin produces fresh collagen fibers to fix the damage caused by the inflamed skin.
Rosacea: Mild and moderate rosacea can be treated by a chemical peel. Rosacea is a skin condition wherein the inflammation causes severe redness, swelling, red bumps, and sometimes causes breakouts similar to acne.
Aging skin: Chemical peels minimize the signs of aging such as fine line and wrinkles, age spots, uneven skin tone, dry and rough skin. The new skin that grows back after the chemical peel stimulates collagen and elastin production to help your skin become smoother, more supple, and stronger and significantly diminishes the appearance of wrinkles.
Hyperpigmentation: Chemical peels also improve hyperpigmentation which includes uneven skin tone, melasma, freckles, surgical scars, and other scars as a result of sunspots.
Dullness: New skin is revealed after a chemical peel making your skin look brighter and healthier.
Precancerous growths: Also known as actinic keratoses, precancerous growths are rough patches that appear on the skin because of sun exposure. A deep chemical peel eliminates these growths and lowers your risk of skin cancer.
7. Who is fit to have a chemical peel?
Chemical peels are not for everybody. You are an ideal candidate for a chemical peel if you have generally healthy skin, mild scars, superficial wrinkles, and have a lighter skin tone.
It is best to avoid chemical peels if you have the following conditions:
- Sagging skin
- Frequently develop cold sores
- History of abnormal scars
- Have psoriasis and atopic dermatitis
- Have a darker skin tone
- Recently or currently under oral acne treatment medication
- Pregnant and breastfeeding
- Compromised immune system
- Have undergone radiation therapy and surgery
- Heart ailments (not recommended for deep chemical peels)
8. Why is it necessary to wear sunscreen after a chemical peel even when indoors?
After a chemical peel, your skin is more vulnerable to sun damage. It is essential to wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 30, especially during your recovery period regardless of being indoors or outdoors. UV rays can still penetrate through the windows.
9. Is there a special diet to follow after a chemical peel?
Food that has high salt content should be avoided as it can cause your body to retain water. Water retention can cause swelling and make you look bloated.
Drinking sufficient amounts of water, approximately 8 to 10 glasses a day, supports the healing process. It will help get rid of toxins and will help improve your skin by providing hydration to the cells.
10. Are chemical peels used only for the face?
Chemical peels are not only for the face. They can also be used on the hands, neck, and chest to treat dark spots, wrinkles, and acne.
Read more: HOW TO DO A PROFESSIONAL CHEMICAL PEEL AT HOME
YEOUTH has two professionally formulated home chemical peels.
SALICYLIC ACID FACE PEEL 20% ($24.95)
YEOUTH Salicylic Acid Gel Peel 20% Peel can help regulate problematic skin by decongesting pores to achieve overall skin clarity. Formulated with 20% salicylic acid, this peel effectively dissolves dirt and oil trapped in the pores that cause acne, whiteheads, and blackheads. Combined with Tea Tree and Green Tea to balance and soothe the skin. The peel supports healthy collagen production as it deeply penetrates the layers of the skin to increase skin cell turnover.
GLYCOLIC ACID FACE PEEL 30% ($24.95)
YEOUTH 30% Glycolic Acid Gel Peel exfoliates dead skin cells to reveal a brighter, more even, and smoother skin surface. Formulated with 30% glycolic acid, Retinol, and Green Tea to fortify skin and promote clarity. This peel will also help to minimize the appearance of pores, blackheads, and acne. You can expect visible improvement in the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and overall skin texture.