Chemical peels are one of the most effective treatments for achieving a brighter, smoother, and more even complexion. They are typically used to improve the appearance of the skin, reduce wrinkles, and lighten dark spots. Chemical peels exfoliate the top layers of the skin to reveal new, healthy skin cells. However, there are many different chemical peels, each with benefits and risks. This blog will dig into the different types of chemical peels and their unique characteristics.
Understanding the Basics of Chemical Peels
Before diving into the different types of chemical peels, it’s essential to understand the basics of what a chemical peel is and how it works. Chemical peels are a cosmetic procedure that involves applying a chemical solution to the skin to remove the outer layers. This process removes dead skin cells, stimulates the growth of new cells, and can improve skin texture and tone. Chemical peels can also minimize the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots.
The type and concentration of the acid used determine the strength of a chemical peel. The three most common acids used in chemical peels are alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), and trichloroacetic acid (TCA). AHAs are best for superficial peels, while BHAs and TCAs are better suited for deeper peels. A board-certified dermatologist or aesthetician can determine which chemical peel fits your skin type and concerns.
Superficial Chemical Peels
Superficial chemical peels, also known as light peels, are the mildest type of chemical peel. They are used to exfoliate the outer layer of the skin and are often used to improve skin texture and tone, minimize the appearance of fine lines, and lighten dark spots. Superficial peels, such as glycolic or lactic acid, use AHAs and are safe for all skin types.
A superficial chemical peel typically involves cleansing the skin, applying the chemical solution, and removing it after a few minutes. There is usually little to no downtime after a superficial chemical peel, and the skin may be slightly red or flaky for a few days. Multiple treatments are often recommended for the best results.
Medium Chemical Peels
Medium chemical peels, or TCA peels, are more vital than superficial peels and can penetrate deeper into the skin. They often treat fine lines, wrinkles, and sun damage. TCA peels use trichloroacetic acid, which is more vital than superficial peels.
The procedure for a medium chemical peel is similar to a superficial peel but may involve more preparation, such as pre-treating the skin with a retinoid. The chemical solution is left on the skin for a more extended period, typically 10-15 minutes. After the peel is neutralized, the skin will be red and may peel for several days. Sun protection is essential during the healing process.
Deep Chemical Peels
Deep chemical peels are considered the most vital type of chemical peel and can provide dramatic results. They treat severe sun damage, deep wrinkles, and scars. Deep peels use phenol, a powerful acid that can penetrate deeply into the skin.
The procedure for a deep chemical peel is more invasive than other peels and requires sedation or anesthesia. The chemical solution is applied, spread to the skin in sections, and left on for 30 minutes. After the peel is neutralized, the skin will be swollen and may require bandages for several days. It usually takes up to two weeks for the skin to fully heal; sun protection is essential for several months after the procedure.
Combination Chemical Peels
Combination chemical peels combine two or more types of acids to create a customized treatment for the individual’s skin concerns. They can provide more comprehensive results than a single acid peel and are often used for more severe skin issues, such as acne scars or hyperpigmentation.
The procedure for a combination chemical peel will depend on the specific acids used and the individual’s skin type and concerns. Multiple treatments may be necessary for the best results.
Risks and Side Effects
While chemical peels are generally safe, there are risks and potential side effects to consider. The most common side effect is temporary redness and flaking of the skin. More severe side effects can include scarring, infection, and changes in skin color.
Choosing a board-certified dermatologist or aesthetician with experience in chemical peels is essential to minimize the risk of complications. It’s also necessary to follow pre- and post-treatment instructions carefully to ensure proper healing and reduce the risk of side effects.
Preparing for a Chemical Peel
Before undergoing a chemical peel, there are several steps you can take to prepare your skin. These preparations may include the following:
- Avoiding sun exposure for at least a week before the procedure
- Discontinuing the use of any topical retinoids or exfoliants for several days before the procedure
- Informing your dermatologist or aesthetician of any medications or supplements you are taking
Aftercare for a Chemical Peel
After a chemical peel, following proper aftercare instructions to promote healing and minimize the risk of side effects is essential. These instructions may include the following:
- Applying a gentle, non-irritating moisturizer
- Avoiding sun exposure for several weeks
- Avoiding strenuous exercise for several days
- Avoiding picking or scratching at any peeling skin
- Avoiding the use of any exfoliants or retinoids for several days to weeks
In conclusion, chemical peels are a highly effective procedure to improve the appearance of your skin and address various skin concerns. With different types of chemical peels available, choosing a qualified professional who can guide you in selecting the most suitable option for your skin type and condition is crucial. At Ascent Aesthetics, our board-certified dermatologists and skilled aestheticians use the latest techniques and technology to deliver safe and effective chemical peels that can help you achieve your desired results. We also provide thorough pre- and post-treatment instructions to guarantee proper healing and minimize the risk of complications. Contact Ascent Aesthetics today to schedule a consultation and take the first step toward achieving the radiant, healthy-looking skin you deserve.