Chemical peeling treatments use a special solution that works to enhance the skin in many ways. Available in different strengths and using various types of acids and ingredients, the effects can range from mild with zero downtime to a total superficial change with a healing process that requires days of recovery. Knowing the options available can help you decide which chemical peel benefits you need.
In this guide, we will learn about the benefits and side effects of the different kinds of chemical peels, and where you can go should you be interested in these cosmetic treatments.
Who Should Get a Chemical Peel
Who is the ideal candidate for a chemical peeling treatment? People typically have a chemical peel done to address uneven skin tone, sun damage, dark spots, and skin discoloration. Skin peels can also address acne scars, fine lines and wrinkles. Depending on the strength chemical, peels can be a very good option for a monthly skin boost.
Who Should NOT Get a Chemical Peel
Deep chemical peels are not recommended for people with darker skin that is highly pigmented, as the procedure could result in a new skin that’s a lot different from its original colour. When in doubt, it is best to consult a clinician or dermatologist to find out if professional chemical peels are ideal and which would work optimally for your skin type.
Types of Chemical Peels
Chemical peeling treatments are classified into three based on the strength of their ingredients: light, medium-depth, and deep. The lighter the peel, the shorter the downtime, whereas the deeper peels will likely require the use of anesthetics, antibiotics, and have days to a week of recovery. The acids and enzymes used vary, as well, and have different effects on the skin when used on their own or as a combination of other acids and enzymes.
The most common ingredients used in professional peels, and with different levels of concentration, include vegetable and fruit enzymes (light), salicylic acid (light to medium), glycolic acid (light to medium), Jessner’s solution (medium), trichloroacetic acid (medium to deep), and phenol (deep).
Light Chemical Peel
A light peel penetrates the topmost layer of the skin to enhance its appearance superficially. It is recommended for those who just want to rejuvenate their skin minus the downtime. Light peeling solutions are usually made of natural enzymes or light acid solutions that can be applied for 30 minutes to an hour. This type of professional peel is so quick and non-invasive that you can get it in between office hours and can often be very relaxing!
Benefits of Light Chemical Peels
Recommended for all skin types, superficial peels are usually performed using natural enzymes or solutions with low concentrations of salicylic or glycolic acid. They can be used to help reduce blemishes, address uneven skin tone, slough off dead skin cells, and control pimples and breakouts. Salicylic acid peels, in particular, can help temporarily control sebum production, which is what typically leads to acne.
Another important thing to note is that light peeling solutions have minimal to absolutely zero downtime. The side effects are usually very mild and will not require you to take time off from your usual activities.
Side Effects of Light Chemical Peels
There are hardly any side effects to using this type of chemical peel, and there is a very low infection risk. After a treatment, you might experience some mild peeling, light sensitivity, and temporary redness which will resolve after a few hours to a couple of days. If you have sensitive skin, these effects could be more evident, although it won’t take long until they subside.
Medium Chemical Peel
Medium chemical peels go a little deeper than light peels and break through the papillary dermis to address the skin conditions the latter can’t resolve. People who will benefit most from medium chemical peels are those with a bit more jarring skin issues, such as melasma, shallow acne scars, and superficial signs of ageing.
Benefits of Medium Peels
If you have sunspots, freckles, or other types of hyperpigmentation, then a medium-depth treatment might be for you. It has the ability to brighten skin that’s been affected by sun damage and can also address minor signs of wrinkles around the mouth or the eye area. This type of peel can be done every couple of months or so.
Side Effects of Medium Peels
Because it penetrates deeper into the skin, there is a little risk of infection but they still are in the manageable and relatively safe levels. You might experience some swelling, redness, peeling, itching, and crusting on the treatment area for a few days to about two weeks. These are to be expected. This is why it’s important to have a talk with your clinician about the right aftercare procedures to ensure your skin’s safety. It’s also best to avoid sun exposure, public pools, heavy exercise, etc. while recovering.
Deep Chemical Peel
Deep chemical peels penetrate the reticular dermis which is the lower part of the dermis, which is why it is considered an invasive procedure that’s best left in the hands of a dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon. Because of its invasive nature, you might be required to take anesthetics and be sedated through the procedure. The benefits of a deep peel are plenty, but they also come with huge risks.
Benefits of Deep Peels
The results of a deep peel are dramatic, which is why many still want to undergo this procedure despite the caveats. It can address deep acne scars, crow’s feet, deep wrinkles, marionette lines, and severe sun damage.
Beyond cosmetics, a deep peel is sometimes recommended to remove precancerous growths on the skin before they become problematic. If a deep peel is not possible to address your skin issue, your dermatologist or clinician might suggest laser therapy.
Side Effects of Deep Peels
Expect to experience redness, severe swelling, and a burning or throbbing sensation on the treated skin after the procedure. It could take two weeks before new skin will surface, but the recovery period will not be over yet as this new skin will be very sensitive to sun exposure. It might even look a bit darker than your original skin tone, but this is temporary. This is one of the reasons why deep peeling is not recommended for people with dark skin.
Deep chemical peels also have a high risk for infection, so you might be asked to take antibiotics or antiviral medication. You will also likely lose the ability to tan in the future.
Do’s and Don’ts Before and After a Chemical Peel Treatment
To maximize the benefits and lower the side effects as much as possible, here are some tips on caring for your treated skin right after a chemical peel procedure.
- DON’T expose yourself to the sun, heat, pollutants, and other harsh environments.
- DON’T try to perform a chemical peel procedure at home. Consult our expert clinicians at Lovoir Skin Body & Beauty or check with your dermatologist.
- DON’T pick at peeling or crusting skin. Just let it run its course to prevent scarring and injury.
- DON’T overdo it. You may have an enzyme peel weekly if you wish, but medium peels should be done at least a month after while deep peels should only happen at least once a year (or once in your lifetime).
- DO follow the advice of your clinician on the right way to care for your skin after a treatment.
- DO inform the clinician if you experience any allergies or discomfort later. And also don’t forget to let your beauty therapist know if you are allergic to anything prior to the treatment.
- DO prepare your skin for two to four weeks before treatment, depending on the type of peel you are having. Your clinician will be able to give you proper guidance.
- DO always use a professionally recommended sunscreen and reapply every 2-3 hours when exposed to the sun. Better yet, wear a wide-brimmed hat, too!
- There are three main types of chemical peels: light, medium, and deep.
- Each of these chemical peel types has its benefits and side effects.
- Light and medium peels are typically offered in beauty salons and spas.
- Deep chemical peels are usually done by a board certified dermatologist or a cosmetic surgeon.
Which Type of Chemical Peel Works Best For You?
The type of chemical peel that will suit you will depend on your skin type and skin condition. The best way to find out which is ideal would be to schedule a consultation with an aesthetician or dermatologist.
Our friendly team at LovoirSkin Body & Beauty will be happy to devise a custom treatment plan for you so that you can achieve vibrant and fresh-looking skin in a safe way. Book an appointment with us today.