Peeling, or chemical peels, are a type of skin treatment in which doctors apply an acidic solution to remove damaged layers of skin. They are usually done as a facial peel to smooth and enhance the overall texture of the skin as a treatment for wrinkles, blemishes and uneven skin tone. The outer layer of skin is exfoliated to reveal a new layer with improved color, texture and tone. Other types of skin peels are used as a way to reduce stretch marks or repair damaged skin on other areas of the body.
Candidates for Chemical Peels
Those with fair hair and skin are the best candidates for chemical peels. although others can also get good results. An ideal candidate for a facial peel should be of good physical health and have a realistic expectation of the outcome of the procedure. If your goal is to rid the appearance of wrinkles and age spots, reduce the effects of weather damaged, eliminate acne and improve the overall texture of your skin, then you are a likely candidate for a chemical peel. A chemical peel is not a face lift so if you are thinking something along those lines, you should not opt for a facial peel.
Different Types of Chemical Peels
There are different levels of chemical peels according to the different PH levels as well as the active ingredients. Light chemical peels are those with a PH of 2.5 or lower and can be performed by a licensed beautician or dermatologist. Anything other than a light chemical peel should be done by a licensed physician. You should discuss what type of chemical peel is best for your specific needs with your doctor before undergoing any procedure.
Light/Superficial Chemical Peels
In a light chemical peel, your dermatologist or cosmetologist will use a specific chemical peel designed based on your skin’s characteristics and your desired outcome. Superficial and light chemical peels are designed to treat dry skin, uneven skin tone, light to moderate acne and wrinkles. The solution used in light chemical peels in a combination of alpha hydroxy acids such as glycolic or fruit acids. Light chemical peels are usually performed on those individuals who do not wish to invest in the recovery time and cost of a deep peel. There is no recovery time, but there may be some minor skin irritation after the procedure.
Medium Chemical Peels
Medium chemical peels are recommended for those with a darker skin tone. In this procedure, doctors will use trichloroacetic acid to treat surface wrinkles, pigmentation issues and blemishes. Medium chemical peels have a minimum recovery time of about two weeks.
Deep Chemical Peels
These are the strongest variation of chemical peels and use phenol acid to treat deep wrinkles, sun damaged skin, age spots and pre-cancerous growths. The procedure takes much longer than the other types of chemical peels, possibly as long as two hours. Deep chemical peels require more recovery time which can be up to two months. Most candidates for deep chemical peels will take a week off to allow for recovery.