It sounds a bit dramatic – how can a cosmetic procedure change your life?
Ask someone who has had skin issues their whole life. That’s how.
The interesting thing about chemical peels (one of many) is the fact that they were first performed back in ancient Egypt, Rome and Greece. This is one of the oldest cosmetic procedures in the world. Just think, you and Cleopatra can have something in common.
When you hear the word “chemical” an alarm probably goes off in your head – is it safe, will it burn my skin, are there any major side effects I should worry about?
Well, that’s why we are here – to answer all of your questions and explain why chemical peels are such a good thing.
What Is a Chemical Peel Exactly?
This is one of the least invasive ways of improving your skin.
A chemical peel is actually a chemical solution used with a technique that removes the damaged part of your skin, giving the chance for the healthy skin to show up. This solution helps exfoliate and peel off damaged skin cells, leaving you with glowing, more youthful skin.
The skin that appears after the process usually has fewer wrinkles, fewer fine lines and is smoother, which is the point of this procedure.
There are, actually, a number of conditions chemical peels can resolve, such as:
- Reduces the size of pores
- Reduces acne and scars
- Reduces wrinkles and fine lines
- Reduces uneven skin colouring and sunspots
- Makes your skin appear smoother and younger
- Boosts collagen production, which leads to firmer skin (we have talked about the importance of collagen in our previous blog Clash of the Titans: Sagging skin vs. Skin Tightening Titan)
Who can benefit most from it?
Basically, any skin type can have good results with chemical peels.
However, people with lighter skin and hair may have slightly better results.
There is a greater chance that people with darker skin tone and hair end up with uneven skin tone after the procedure. This is something that is called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, so it would be best to consult your doctor before doing the peel.
Also, if you have some of the following issues, you should be very careful with the chemical peel:
- If you had some kind of abnormal skin scarring in the past
- If you take medication that makes your skin more sensitive
- If you are in no condition to avoid sun exposure for a period of time
Types Of Chemical Peels
There are three types of chemical peels, depending on what your skin needs and the results you are expecting.
The first one is light chemical peel (or as they call it “lunchtime”). During this procedure, a brush or a cotton ball is used to apply the solution to your skin. It uses a mild acid to gently exfoliate the skin. A chemical solution that is used in this kind of procedure is usually salicylic acid. This chemical peel will give results gradually, over time and it works best if you have fine wrinkles, acne or uneven skin tone. The best part is – there is practically little to no downtime. It can go from a few hours to a few days.
The next one is a bit harsher and is called a medium chemical peel. Doctors usually use Glycolic or trichloroacetic acid in this case. These penetrate the middle layer of the skin to remove the damaged skin cells. This type of peel can cause a burning sensation for about 20 minutes, but nothing too painful.
A medium chemical peel is best used for wrinkles and age spots and also to smooth rough skin. Unlike the previous peel, this one requires some downtime and it takes about a week to heal. There is also a chance of redness for some time and your skin will be swollen for a while.
The last one is called a deep chemical peel and gives the best results.
During this one, the doctor will sedate you to apply phenol that penetrates deep down to the lower middle layer of the skin. This peel works amazing for moderate wrinkles, age spots and freckles. The patient will see the improvement really quickly, however, there is a preparation process of eight weeks that everyone goes through.
You should expect swelling and redness, but burning sensations as well. Also, it is normal for your eyelids to swell shut, so don’t worry if that happens.
Because of the harshness of the peel, it will take you about two or three weeks to heal, because this is how long it will take your new skin to develop.
Your doctor will give you exact instructions that you should follow after the treatment, in order to get the desired effect (you don’t want to end up looking like Samantha did at Carrie’s book promotion in Sex and The City).
A deep chemical peel is done only once, has significant downtime and amazing results at the end.
How To Prepare For a Chemical Peel?
Your chosen doctor will guide you through the process of preparation, whichever type of peel you choose, but there are some guidelines that everyone should follow:
- Avoid sun exposure (before and after)
- Avoid using any type of retinol for at least two days
- Inform your doctor if you take any kind of medication
- Stop waxing, exfoliating, hair bleaching
- If you are told, use a special kind of lotion to prepare your skin for the peel (like a glycolic acid lotion)
Are There Any Side Effects?
Just like any other procedure (invasive or not), there are some possible side effects to keep in mind:
- Your skin getting lighter or darker – there are greater chances of this happening if you have a darker skin tone
- There is a risk of permanent scarring (especially if you don’t follow your doctor’s instructions)
- This is not very often, but there is a risk of developing bacterial infections
- Because deep chemical peel requires phenol, there is a risk of heart, liver or kidney damage
Is It Really Worth It?
There is a reason we said that it can change your life, so yes, we would say it is definitely worth it.
It is an almost painless procedure that, if done correctly, can give you an amazing skin tone and younger-looking skin.
Follow the link to read more about it and if you have any questions, our wonderful team of experts will be more than happy to answer them all.
Feel free to contact us!