*Results may vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as typical. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
By Dr. Stacy Shropshire
Chemical Peel, skin peel, or skin resurfacing treatment, as they can be called, is an advanced cosmetic procedure offered in modern skin care clinics. They are not only used to treat problematic skins types, but can also be built into a regular skincare program to address individual needs.
There are many options on the market today, from mild resurfacing to deep peeling treatments. Many clinics offer packages or discount options. However, since chemical peel is an advanced treatment, it is essential to know what the procedure involves and to be advised of the process to ensure that it is right for you before proceeding with any treatments.
A chemical peel is a body solution technique used to improve and smooth the texture of the skin – often facial skin – using a chemical solution that causes the dead skin to shed and eventually peel off.
Chemical peels have been used at least two millennia, probably longer. According to some sources, Cleopatra used sour goat’s milk baths to beautify her skin. Sour milk contains lactic acid, Lactic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid, slightly weaker than glycolic acid, which is regularly used in superficial chemical peels today.
There are three basic types of chemical peels:
- Superficial chemical peels are the mildest type of chemical peel and can be used on all skin types. Superficial peels usually use liquid containing a mild (dilute) acid, most often glycolic acid. Dry ice (solid carbon dioxide) is sometimes used as well.
- Medium chemical peels penetrate the skin more deeply than superficial peels and cause a second-degree burn of the skin. Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) is the main peeling agent used for medium peels. However, the peel may also be done in several steps using a different chemical solution, followed by TCA.Deep peels which penetrate several layers of skin and cause a second-degree burn. They are used only on the face.
- Deep chemical peels may not be used on darker skin types, because they tend to bleach the skin (hypopigmentation). Even in lighter-skinned people, phenol peels—or any type of deep resurfacing—may bleach the skin. A deep peel can be done only once in most cases. A chemical called phenol is usually used for a deep peel.
Chemical peels have multiple benefits and can be received individually as maintenance for your skin, or in a series of treatments at specific intervals to address specific concerns. They are also an excellent option to prepare your skin for a special event. For general skin care maintenance, a chemical peel every 4-8 weeks is recommended. Regular treatments can result in a reduction in the appearance of fine lines, pigmentation, melasma, pore size, acne and acne scarring, as well as an overall improvement in the tone and texture of the skin.
Chemical peels have been trusted for over 2,000 years to improve skin quality and reduce the signs of aging. If you are looking for a quick treatment to smoother and healthier looking skin, you may find that a chemical peel is the best solution.