Applying a "chemical peel" to your face doesn't sound like something anyone would want to do. But chemical peels are one of the most popular cosmetic treatments for a good reason. It's a deep exfoliation to lift away grime and impurities.
To help you find the right peel for your skin type, let's take a look at the different types of chemical peels.
What Is a Chemical Peel?
A chemical peel is a non-invasive technique that causes the skin to exfoliate and eventually peel off, leaving new, smoother regenerated skin free of fine lines and wrinkles, skin damage, and acne scarring. Chemical peels are clinically proven to be an effective treatment for a range of skin concerns.
In a nutshell, your clinician will paint the peel onto your face, and it will be left to penetrate and exfoliate your skin before it is washed off. The stronger the acid and the longer it is in contact with your skin, the deeper the peel. You will notice immediate radiant results.
What Chemicals Are in the Peels?
In chemical peels, you'll find a group of acids called alpha-hydroxy. These acids are, for the most part, derived from plant-based sources. For example, glycolic acid is derived from sugarcane, tartaric acid from grapes, bananas, tamarind, and citrus. Malic (Latin for apple) acid is from unripe apples and other fruits such as watermelon and cherries and colorful vegetables such as carrots and broccoli. Citric acid originates from lemon juice, and lactic acid is derived from sour milk.
They all have different potencies and will subsequently penetrate your skin at varying levels.
What Sort of Chemical Peels Are There?
There are three basic types of chemical peel:
Superficial Glycolic Peels
The superficial peel is also known as the lunchtime peel. Glycolic acid or similar is used to penetrate the outer layer of the skin. The acid gently exfoliates the appearance of mild skin discoloration and pigmentation and smooths rough skin.
It's an excellent mid-week refresher for your hands, face, neck, and chest areas. The peel is made from fruit acids and leaves your skin looking vital and bright.
Medium Salicylic Peel
If you are prone to acne or breakout skin, salicylic is a perfect choice; the bicinchoninic acid effectively targets oil glands, helps congested skin, and clears up oil buildups. Its anti-inflammatory properties also offer relief to painful breakouts.
The medium peel will help improve age spots, fine lines, wrinkles, and skin discoloration. You can also use it to treat mild actinic keratosis.
Deep TCA Peels
Trichloroacetic acid or phenol will penetrate the middle layers of your skin for deeper exfoliation to remove damaged skin cells. These acids will remove deeper lines, freckles and light injury, and acne scarring. There will be a dramatic improvement in skin tone and help with pigmentation issues.
This type of peel is medical grade and is not ideal if you have sensitive skin. Downtime can last for a few days after professional grade chemical peels.
What Are the Benefits?
Clear, Glowing Skin
Chemical exfoliation naturally causes slight superficial damage to the skin. The healing process will boost natural collagen and elastin levels, making your skin appear plumper.
Prevent Acne and Pimples
Chemical peels lower the pH of the skin, which therefore doesn't allow bacteria to survive. The chemical peel removes the outer layer of the skin to clear pores and eliminate germs.
Improve Efficiency of Skincare Products
If you suffer from acne, the removed outer layer of skin allows your products to be absorbed quickly and more efficiently after treatment because it cannot yet form a natural barrier.
Smooth Fine Lines and Wrinkles
The peel will visibly remove dead skin cells that have settled into fine lines and wrinkles. By chemically exfoliating your skin, the lines will appear less visible.
Are There Any Side Effects?
All of the peels will cause your skin to peel. However, the amount of peel will depend on the strength of the acid, penetration depth, and the amount of exfoliation it causes. Generally, the deeper the peel, the more skin will be removed. Your skin will appear pink or red for a few days due to irritation; this is a normal part of the peeling process.
Is a Chemical Peel Right for You?
A medical-grade chemical peel is an ideal solution for people who want to address fine lines, acne scarring and breakouts, signs of aging and sun damage, and uneven pigmentation or rough skin. The chemical peel will leave your skin with a healthy, youthful glow.
For a pre-party quick-fix, you can pop out of your office during a lunch break for a superficial glycolic peel and return visibly fresher. However, if you want longer-lasting, more transformational effects, then a deeper peel will be more suitable.
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