Unlike Microdermabrasion, Chemical Peels use a chemical solution to improve and smooth the texture of the facial skin by removing its damaged outer layers. Exfoliation is the key to younger, healthier, more vibrant skin. We’re constantly shedding old skin cells to be replaced by new cells. As Smooth Solutions Medical Aesthetics, we offer chemical peels to simply help the exfoliation process along.
What is a chemical peel?
Our skin is our largest organ. Unlike most of our other organs, however, the skin is constantly exposed, taking a beating from the sun, wind, and the environment. It consists of three layers: the epidermis, the dermis, and the fat layer. We are continually shedding our skin cells — we shed our entire skin about once a month (skin cells are a major part of dust in our homes)! The process is called exfoliation.
Chemical peels simply give the process a boost. Peels remove layers of skin so that younger, healthier skin cells can show themselves. In the process, your skin is rejuvenated and becomes healthier. The purpose of a peel is to erase imperfections and improve skin tone and texture.
How long does a chemical peel take?
The actual peel portion of these treatments at Smooth Solutions varies depending on the type of peel and the peeling agent. Overall, the entire treatment usually takes around 30 minutes. We first thoroughly clean your skin and then apply the peeling agent. This is left on for a prescribed amount of time and is then neutralized and removed. Your skin is rinsed with cool water. For most peels, a calming mask is then applied.
Is there anything I need to do before I have a chemical peel?
You don’t want your skin to be more sensitive than normal. So, you’ll need to stop using any products or have any procedures that may increase your skin’s sensitivity leading up to your peel. These would be products such as Retin-A, products with retinol, benzoyl peroxide, or alpha-hydroxy acids. This also includes natural supplements that increase skin sensitivity, along with treatments such as Intense Pulsed Light. Also, don’t have any hair removal treatments, be it waxing or depilatory creams or lasers, for at least one week before your peel.
What are the types of chemical peels?
Chemical peels are divided into three categories, based on the depth of penetration of the peeling agent. There are light/superficial, medium, and deep peels. At Smooth Solutions, we do not perform deep peels due to their lengthy recovery periods and potential for pigmentation changes. We prefer our laser skin resurfacing procedures rather than deep peels.
Light chemical peels
Light chemical peels are excellent for exfoliating the outermost layer of the epidermis, removing dead and damaged skin cells and refreshing the skin’s glow. For these chemical peels, the peeling agents are natural in origin. These acids come from the alpha-hydroxy family: glycolic acid, lactic acid, and salicyclic acid. These acids come from sources such as sugar cane, citrus, grapes, or sugar beets for glycolic acid; sour milk for lactic acid; or other plants for salicyclic acid.
After your first few light peels, your skin may have some redness and irritation, but as your skin becomes more exfoliated this will pass and your skin will simply glow after your peel. Light peels can be done on a regular basis to keep your skin looking its best; there is no limit to how many light peels a person can have.
Medium chemical peels
At Smooth Solutions, we also offer more aggressive peels that require some recovery. Medium-depth peels penetrate more deeply, into the dermis layer. The peeling agent with many of our medium peels is trichloroacetic acid.
Unlike superficial peels, which really don’t require any recovery, there will be some recovery with a medium peel. They leave the skin red and stinging, and there will be some crusting. Facial redness can linger for up to a few weeks. You can have three or four medium peels in a year.
What skin problems can be improved with a chemical peel?
We use chemical peels for a variety of skin conditions:
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Texture issues
- Scaly patches
Chemical peels are not meant to address issues such as sagging skin or deep lines and creases.
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