Do chemical peels work on wrinkles?
Chemical peeling is an oft-discussed skincare method, with some people swearing by its effectiveness in keeping the skin looking young and supple and others panning it because of the potential hazards it brings. When it comes to the natural and inevitable aging process, people are more willing to try out novel procedures offered at beauty spas, like a chemical peel, in an attempt to slow down the evidence of time passing.
But do chemical peels really work for wrinkles? It seems so. Among the many cosmetic procedures available at spas, light to medium skin peels seem to be the go-to for those who want to continue looking young and wrinkle-free.
Let's look at how chemical peels work for getting rid of fine lines, age spots, and other aging-related skin issues, and find out if they ARE the best solution for wrinkles.
What Does Chemical Peeling Mean?
A chemical peel is a solution that's typically applied to the face, neck, shoulders, or hands, although it can also be used on any area of the skin to address acne scars, wrinkles, uneven skin tone, signs of sun damage, and other superficial concerns. Depending on the skin's condition, chemical peels can go from light, to medium, to deep.
Beauty spas typically provide light to medium types of facials that have minimal to no downtime (a few hours to a couple of days). These are mostly superficial procedures that involve either the use of enzymes that have minimal physical sensitivity (for light facials) or retinoid solutions that can penetrate further into the skin to facilitate repair and rejuvenation (for medium depth facials).
The deep, invasive facials, particularly those that go beyond the dermal-epidermal junctions, are performed by dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons and have a much longer downtime (reaching days to a week).
The difference between enzyme and chemical peels
Enzyme peels are derived from fruit extracts that have the ability to digest dead skin cells while giving the skin a healthier, nourished complexion. It is a popular service at beauty spas because they are gentle enough for all types of skin, have no downtime at all, and have immediate results. Enzyme peels are usually recommended to address dry and flaky skin, open pores to facilitate easier extractions, reduce redness, fade sun damage and age spots, and reduce wrinkles.
On the other hand, chemical peels are usually made of salicylic acid or glycolic acid that work to exfoliate the skin to leave behind a new and fresh layer. Chemical peels have the same goals as enzyme peels but they have a more aggressive approach to treatment. They can also be applied to address deeper skin issues like acne and scarring.
Because chemical peels are quite harsh, they will require some downtime and, in some cases, multiple sessions, before results can be evident. Chemical peeling is usually recommended for reducing large pores, evening out acne scars, tightening the skin, fading age spots and sun damage, and vanishing fine lines and wrinkles.
If you are unsure about which type of peels would work for your skin concern, let our skin specialists help you. Book a consultation with our expert aesthetician so we can create a custom treatment plan that will help you achieve your skincare goals.
What to Expect After a Chemical Peel
This will depend on the type of peel that you just underwent. When you’ve had a deep chemical peeling procedure with your dermatologist, you can expect your skin to feel tight and firm during the first day. You will start to see and feel your skin break, peel, and shed in small to big patches as the days go by. Because this type of peel is invasive and breaks through skin layers, it’s recommended that you have this once a year, if needed.
If you’ve gone to a beauty spa and got a light peel, there will be minimal to zero downtime. In fact, this procedure is so mild on the skin that you can have it done as often as every 10 to 14 days, depending on what you want to achieve.
Medium-Depth to Deep Peel
Downtime for medium depth peels will generally take a few days, with some mild to heavy flaking after the procedure. You can have a medium peel performed every four weeks, as needed.
Throughout any of these procedures, expect some light to major peeling to occur. The key is to let the outer layers of the skin peel naturally and let new skin resurface. That said, throughout the process, you must avoid sun exposure and just let it run its course. Resist the urge to pick at the flaking skin yourself, in order to avoid injury and scarring.
Post Chemical Peel Self-Care
The application of the enzyme or chemical solution takes only about 15 minutes, but the entire chemical peel process could take a few days to a week, especially if you’ve had a medium to deep peel.
Expect shedding skin on the treatment area over the next few days so be sure to follow your aesthetician's orders and wear sunscreen or apply antibiotic ointments as prescribed. It is a superficial peel but has a sensitive after-care process. Your skin can feel a bit raw and vulnerable during and after the peeling process depending on the type of peel you had.
The aesthetician or dermatologist will brief you on the do’s and don’ts and provide after-care products that you can use during the recovery period.
Using Chemical Peel for Aging Skin
Chemical peels work on the top layer of the skin and are intended to get rid of the common signs of aging, so minimizing fine lines and addressing old skin will be high up in the list.
Medium to deep peels are observed to be effective in getting rid of age spots, acne scars, uneven skin tone, and brown and dark spots. Lighter enzyme peels work well to address clogged pores and give the skin a fresher finish. If you’re not sure about which type of peel would work best for you, consult our aesthetician to come up with a safe treatment plan to address aging skin.
The aesthetician would typically recommend starting with a light to medium peel, depending on the skin concern, especially if it's your first time.
Start with a Light Chemical Peel
Because of the sensitive nature of aging skin, the best and safest start to chemical peels for wrinkles are the mild to medium depth types, like lactic acid, salicylic acid, 20% glycolic acid, and retinol peels.
Most beauty salons offer lactic acid and salicylic acid peels, as they can be performed safely on many types of skin to address a wide range of concerns, including fine lines and wrinkles. They work for almost all skin types and are gentle on easily irritated skin. In addition, these peels have moisturizing properties that can stimulate collagen production and support a faster recovery process for the new layer of skin.
Skin Resurfacing Chemical Peel
Retinol chemical peels, which contain vitamin A to help in the renewal and regrowth of skin cells, are also recommended for addressing wrinkles. Generally, this is recommended to be used only after the skin has been prepared with active skincare at home to get the best out of the treatment. Other medium depth to deep peels can be effective for more visible wrinkles, though it's best for a dermatologist to provide medical advice first to be safe.
Before deciding to undergo any type of chemical peel cosmetic procedure, it's best to consult with your beauty therapist first to find out which are ideal for your needs.
Is a Chemical Peel What Your Skin Needs?
Chemical peels have proven themselves effective in removing old and damaged skin cells, so they can be the answer to those confidence-reducing skin concerns that have been bothering you. However, given the rapid peeling action and high potential for irritation and scarring of medium to deep peels, be sure to have it performed by a professional skincare provider that's also committed to your aftercare.
Is a chemical peel what your skin needs to reduce fine lines, get rid of deep wrinkles, and slow down the aging process? It can be. Different skin types have unique needs, and a professional evaluation of your skin's current condition will let you know if chemical peeling is, indeed, right for you.
Talk to our beauty and skincare experts to discuss your concerns. We will evaluate your skin's current status and customize a treatment plan that will work out best for you in the long term.