Botox and fillers may be the minimally invasive cosmetic procedures, but chemical peels are still standing strong. In simple terms, chemical peels use acid to exfoliate the top layer of skin to help diminish dark spots, fine lines, wrinkles and uneven skin tone. Chemical peels have been around since the mid-1800s, surprised? Here is what you need to know about this fantastic treatment.
First Of All, Not All Chemical Peels Are The Same
Chemical peels are available in different types—depending on how deep the chemicals penetrate the skin. There are three types of chemical peels – superficial, medium-depth and deep-depth.
When people talk about chemical peels, they usually refer to superficial peels, which are known to be the mildest. They require little downtime, and the patient may experience slight redness for around 20 minutes with some dryness or flaking. Typical acids used are salicylic, glycolic and kojic acid. It is suitable for treating dark spots, fine lines and wrinkles.
Medium Depth Peels
Medium depth peels generally contain trichloroacetic acid at concentrations of 35 percent or less. It is useful for treating significant amount of photodamage, acne scars, sunspots, and dark circles. Although the recovery time is between five to seven days. The skin is raw and needs to be covered with ointment constantly.
The deep peels, which target more serious skin problems like severe acne, saggy skin or excessive sun damage, also uses trichloroacetic acid, but in higher concentration, starting at 50 percent. The downtime is about ten days but can even stretch to two weeks.
What Happens During A Chemical Peel?
Before the actual peel, your doctor or skincare practitioner will clean the skin to remove any sunscreen or makeup, because if there is any oil on the skin, it will act as a barrier and prevents the acid from penetrating deeper into the skin.
An ointment is then applied around areas like the nose, mouth and eyes, where you don’t want the peel. This is followed by the acid. The duration for which the acid stays on the face depends on the type and strength of the peel. During the peel process, the chemicals cause a reaction with the skin and breakdown the outer layers of dead skin to boost collagen production and even the skin tone. The treatment can cause small injury to the skin, which allows it to regenerate itself and make fresh skin.