Everything You Need to Know About Chemical Peels
If you’ve been craving a chemical peel treatment, this go-to guide on different types of chemical peels will tell you exactly what to expect.
All of us desire flawless, radiant skin. A face that has no fine lines, wrinkles or any dark pigmentation. While makeup tricks and tips may help you cover some of these flaws, they can never substitute cosmetics treatments which give you long-term results. Some of these treatments like chemical peels have in fact become so mainstream that people can now do mild chemical peels even at home. Celebrated skincare expert Dr Rinky Kapoor explains what makes chemical peels so effective, how the procedure works and how safe it is to get a skin peeling treatment. Let’s take a look.
What are Chemical Peels?
Chemical peels are cosmetic treatments used for reducing premature signs of ageing and improving your skin texture and complexion. Depending on the strength of the chemical peel, it can penetrate deep into your skin to give you a brighter complexion, smoother skin, and more even skin colour, while reducing lines and wrinkles. The three types of chemical peels include:
- Light peels use mild acids like alpha-hydroxy acid. These are gentle exfoliants which only penetrate the outermost layer of your skin.
- Medium peels use trichloroacetic or glycolic acid which penetrates up to the middle layers of your skin, making them effective for removing damaged dead skin cells.
- Deep peels use phenol or trichloroacetic acid which fully penetrate the middle layer of your skin, completely removing damaged skin cells.
Dermatologists also use chemical peels to treat varying degrees of scars, certain types of acne and skin conditions, sun damage, hyperpigmentation and fine lines on the face and neck.
How is a chemical peel done?
Chemical peels lightly burn or exfoliate the top layer of the skin containing dead skin cells and stimulate the production of new and healthy epidermal cells. Deep peels may require you to visit an outpatient surgical facility, but medium and superficial peels are typically done in the doctor’s office. During deep chemical peels, you will be sedated and the procedure is done in 15-minute portions to limit acid exposure on the skin.
The skincare specialist typically has a consultation with you before determining the best treatment option and walks you through the details of what goes into the procedure, the risks involved and the aftercare you are required to follow.
Are there any side effects?
Light and medium chemical peels usually have little to no side effects, apart from some slight swelling, skin dryness, redness, stinging or burning which goes away in the following weeks after the treatment. Deep peels, however, can pose more permanent and dangerous side effects including skin colouration, scarring, infections, and heart, liver, or kidney damage. You may also lose your ability to tan.
How long is recovery?
For light and medium chemical peels, the recovery time is about five to seven days, with temporary skin discolouration. However, recovery for deep chemical peels can last about two weeks and more. It’s best to follow your doctor’s instructions during recovery to avoid any skin damage.
The use of chemical peels dates back to ancient civilizations when women used to apply sour milk (containing lactic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid) on their faces for skin rejuvenation. Even the home-made face packs your grandma makes are in fact a type of skin peeling treatment. But with modern innovation in cosmetic science, chemical peels have evolved into a more targeted and sophisticated skincare treatment. When done by certified experts, chemical peels are completely safe to use and produce immediate results. To get long-lasting results, it’s best to get chemical peels once every two to three months.
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