How do chemical peels work?
Similar to facials but slightly stronger and much more effective, chemical peels are naturally-occurring acid solutions that are applied to patients’ skin and then gently removed. The benefits of chemical peels are also similar to those of dermabrasion procedures, as they treat many of the same skin problems.
Depending on the type of chemical peel, the acid solution can be comprised of singular or combined mixtures of alpha-hydroxy acids, trichloroacetic acids, or phenolic acids. The acid solutions stimulate the growth of new collagen, strip away dead skin cells, remove blemishes and skin imperfections, and improve the tone and texture of skin.
Benefits of a chemical peel at a glance
- Non-surgical, although can be combined with a facelift
- Individualized to your exact skincare needs
- Improves skin tone and texture
- Boosts self-confidence
- Can buff away pre-cancerous growths
What can I expect from treatment?
Depending on the individual needs of patients’ skin, there are different levels of intensity to choose from when it comes to chemical peels. The specific acid solution used in certain chemical peels will, in turn, affect the treatment process and the end results, as will patients’ varying skin conditions. These are a few reasonable expectations for treatment results, based on the three main chemical peels used today:
- Alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) chemical peels are considered to be the lightest, the least intense, and can treat acne, fine lines, and dry skin. Due to the lighter solution, AHA chemical peels also have the shortest treatment and recovery times.
- Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) chemical peels are thought of as medium-intensity chemical peels and they can effectively treat light wrinkles, acne, and uneven pigmentation. TCA peels are also the most effective facial peel for darker-skinned patients seeking anti-aging benefits.
- Phenolic acid solutions usually constitute the strongest and deepest chemical peels. While this means they create the most noticeable, longest-lasting results, they also require the longest treatment times (over an hour), and involves the longest recovery periods. However, the intensity of phenolic chemical peels can successfully rid patients of acne, deep wrinkles, sun damaged skin, and even pre-cancerous growths.
At Skin Elite we offer chemical peels ranging from levels 1-3
Am I a good candidate for a chemical peel?
Chemical peels are nothing new — Cleopatra was possibly the first proponent, as she was known to apply sour milk (lactic acid) to her face in an early chemical peel. If you have the following skin conditions, peels can be a good treatment:
- Sun damage
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Texture issues
- Pigmentation problems
- Age spots
- Acne and acne scars
- Scaly patches
- Pre-cancerous lesions (deep peels)
- Deep creases and lines (deep peels)
To have a peel, you cannot have any active skin conditions or infections.
How long does it take for a chemical peel to heal?
The different types of chemical peels we offer at The Skin Elite have different penetration depths. Because of this, healing time varies. After a light peel, your skin will be red, dry, and mildly irritated. This lessens with repeated light peels. Moisturizer will handle this. After about a week, your skin will have completed its light flaking and peeling and will be back to normal.
Medium peels will involve some crusting because more skin was removed initially during the peel. You’ll have some swelling, but ice packs will help with this. Treated skin will darken or it may develop brown patches. Treated skin will take from 7 to 14 days to heal. Redness can linger longer than that, possibly for weeks.
Deep phenol peels remove the most skin during the actual peel, and this continues afterwards. These peels are aggressive treatments for cystic acne scarring, deep wrinkles, sun-damaged skin, and to clear the skin of pre-cancerous growths. Deep peels will involve significant swelling, possibly swelling the eyes shut. You’ll need some pain medication for these recoveries. Treated areas will develop new skin within about two weeks, although redness will last for months. New skin that forms will require thorough protection from the sun.
How should I prepare for a chemical peel at The Skin Elite?
There really isn’t much you need to do to prepare for a peel. During your consultation, we may recommend using a retinoid cream such as Retin-A beforehand to shorten your treatment time and speed the healing process.
Otherwise, you won’t want to exfoliate your skin for a week prior to your peel. No waxing, electrolysis, or using depilatory creams for a week, as well. You’ll need to stop using any anti-aging or anti-acne medications, and you probably don’t want to have a peel close to an important event.
How many chemical peels can I have?
You can have light peels once a month or so to keep your skin exfoliating and looking fresh. Medium peels can only be done every three or four months, depending on your skin type. Deep phenol peels are only done once.
How do I care for my skin after a chemical peel?
The main thing after a peel of any strength is sun protection. Because the peel has removed some of your epidermis and potentially some of your second layer, the dermis, the newly exposed skin doesn’t have the accumulated layer of dead skin cells to help provide sun protection. After any peel, you need to protect your skin with 30+ SPF sunscreen and clothing.
For deep peels, you’ll need more than moisturizer to keep your skin from feeling like a Texas asphalt highway in the middle of summer. We’ll recommend a healing ointment to cover the treated areas. For medium and light peels, this won’t be necessary, but consistent application of moisturizer will keep your skin from feeling overly dry.
From there, it makes sense to step up your skin care routine a little bit. If you’ve been winging it in the past, it would be a good idea to let our team at The Skin Elite give you advice on morning and evening skin care products and practices.
Can I exercise after my chemical peel?
For the first 24 to 48 hours after a chemical peel you should avoid strenuous exercise or activity that makes you sweat heavily. Sweating can clog the pores and irritate the skin. This isn’t as much the case with light peels, especially if you’ve had a few previously. But it is the rule for medium peels. And you won’t feel like exercising after a deep peel for a few days at least.
What are the risks of chemical peels?
Chemical peels can have certain risks, but these are mostly involved with deep, phenol peels.
- Redness — This will be a part of pretty much every peel. Depending on the depth of peel, redness can endure for a few weeks to months.
- Scarring — This is a rare occurrence, and only with phenol peels.
- Changes in pigmentation — A chemical peel can cause treated skin to become darker than normal (hyperpigmentation) or lighter than normal (hypopigmentation). Hyperpigmentation is more common with lighter peels, and hypopigmentation with deep peels. These pigmentation risks are more common in people with darker skin tones.
- Infection — If you have the herpes virus, a chemical peel can cause a flare-up and cold sores. Deeper peels have the possibility of infection, but this is pretty rare.
Why choose The Biomed Spa for your chemical peel?
While many unlicensed spas and beauty outlets may offer chemical peels as part of their treatment options, it is always advisable to seek treatment with a board certified professional at an accredited medical facility. This is to ensure both your health and well being, as well as the artistry and effectiveness of your results.
Our aestheticians have been offering stunning cosmetic services as part of our practice for years. We are down to earth, trustworthy, compassionate, and highly skilled, making for a winning combination and unrivaled outcomes.
Call today to schedule your confidential consultation and find out for yourself what luxury skincare feels like. We provide among the best chemical peels.