The fundamental principle of skin peeling has been employed since ancient times. It is said that Cleopatra used to bathe in sour milk, which made her skin very beautiful. Of course, we now know that it was the lactic acid in the milk which helped the beautification process.
The idea behind skin peeling is to carry out a controlled injury to the skin such that when the skin heals, it becomes a lot more supple and clear. This process of controlled injury to the skin by use of medical solutions is called skin peeling and the solutions themselves are called Chemical or Medical Peels.
The name Peels are used to denote that the skin peels after a treatment but this is not entirely true. In reality most peels are very gentle and cause at maximum a gentle exfoliation which is not really visible as ‘peels’ of skin coming off.
So who should consider a Chemical Peel Treatment?
Chemical Peel is a well-established line of treatment for a wide variety of concerns. If you suffer from any of the below conditions, you may want to consider a chemical peels treatment:
- Skin Texture & Elasticity concerns like Dry & Dull Skin, Open Pores, Reduced Elasticity, Sagging Skin, Scarring of Skin and Stretch Marks.
- Skin Pigmentation & Darkening Concerns like Blemishes & Uneven Skin Tone, Pigmentation Patches, Freckles, Melasma, Spots, Marks, Tanned Skin, Darkened Lips, Under Eye Dark Circles etc.
- Age Related Concerns like Facial Lines & Wrinkles, Sagging, Loose Skin & Volume Loss, Dry, Dull and Patchy Aged Skin etc.
- Acne & Acne Scars
But are chemical peels safe?
Modern dermatology has made the process of skin peeling a lot more efficient and safer. The solutions used now have been rigorously tested by the companies that produce them, for both efficacy and safety.
Although the procedure is generally very safe, I recommend that peels be done by trained aestheticians only and under the watchful eye of a qualified dermatologist.
Also, a common myth with peels is that once you stop using them, the treated area turns darker. This is absolutely untrue and any darkening observed is generally because of prolonged sun exposure.
Rest assured, skin peeling is among the most widely used procedures by dermatologists for the purpose of skin rejuvenation.
What Type of Chemical Peel is suitable for me?
The peels are largely classified by how deep they can penetrate the layers of the skin. The loose classification is:
- Superficial Peels
- Medium Deep Peels
- Deep Peels
Obviously, the deeper a peel penetrates, the greater the effect. However, please note that not all peels are suitable for all patients and all conditions. Hence, it is recommended that any form of skin peeling is done only under the close supervision of an experienced dermatologist.
But, for quick reference, here are some of the common and not-so-common peels that are used, and the advantages one can expect from each of them:
- Alpha Hydroxy Peels – These are the mildest form of peels. These work towards making the skin tone even and generating a ‘glow’.
- Beta Hydroxy Peels – These are largely used for acne.
- Retinoid Peels – These are used for clearing up the skin and achieving an even skin tone.
- Combination Peels – These include medium deep peels, and their usage is best determined by a dermatologist on a case to case basis.
- TCA Peels – For deep pigmentation patches, a dermatologist may choose these types of peels. These are also medium deep peels and should be handled carefully.
- Phenolic Peels – These are very deep peels and not commonly used.
Warning: Never use any form of peels by yourself, or without the supervision of a trained dermatologist.
What should I expect during and after chemical peel treatment?
The procedure itself is quite simple and relaxing. The aesthetician will carry out a deep cleaning of the treatment area and then apply the peel solution, which will be left on for the specified time (generally a few minutes, as directed by the dermatologist), and then clean the same. The patient feels a mild stinging sensation when the peel is applied. The procedure generally ends with a cleansing and hydration process.
Over the next few days, based on the peel used, there may be a visible residual redness of the skin, or even actual peeling of the skin in some cases. But this is to be expected, as it is a part of the rejuvenation process.
The best results of a peel are seen from the next day (for milder peels) to the next week (for stronger peels). The end result is an improvement of skin health where the skin feels fresh and more supple with a reduction in the condition being treated, be it pigmentation, scars, acne or any of the others mentioned.
However, like most beauty procedures, peels are an additive process. If applied regularly, then with every session there is an incremental improvement. And yes, before too long, you will see a visible transformation.
In conclusion I would like to state that chemical peel treatment gets a bad reputation because of the word ‘chemical’. But in reality this procedure is one of the safest and most established procedures for skin rejuvenation and should be considered as a part of your skin rejuvenation treatment.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
END OF ARTICLE