The Nature and Action of a Chemical Skin Peel
Unlike some of the other aesthetic treatments that are designed to improve the appearance of one’s skin, such as microdermabrasion, or injectables like Botox® and dermal fillers, a chemical peel may appear to be more radical, given that the term is an accurate description of what the patient will be subjected to during the procedure. In effect, the process involves no more than the application of an appropriate agent in order to speed up the slower, but otherwise perfectly natural process of exfoliation, in which dead skin cells are shed prior to being replaced from beneath by new and healthy ones.
The process involves the application of various liquids to the facial area and, depending upon their identity and the length of exposure, will result in relatively superficial, medium, or deep penetration. Whilst the effects of the first two will tend to be relatively short-lived and therefore require follow-up treatments at regular intervals in order to maintain their effects, a deep chemical peel may be more long-lasting, but its effects will still not be permanent. These facts should be carefully considered before going ahead and, although some kits may be purchased over the counter and are suitable for home use, these procedures are best left to a dermatologist or a trained healthcare professional who, in turn, will also employ more effective professional products which are unavailable to the general public.
Among the substances that are commonly used to perform a chemical peel are a number of alpha and beta hydroxy acids, a mixture of salicylic acid, lactic acid and resorcinol known as Jessner’s solution, retinoic acid, and phenol. Used to treat wrinkles, blemishes, and scarred or unevenly pigmented skin, each agent is characterised by its own set of pros and cons, so it has become common practice to mix two or more of them in varying proportions and concentrations as a means with which to combine the specific benefits displayed by each.
For the treatment of fine wrinkles, dry areas, light but unevenly pigmented skin, or mild acne, a superficial chemical peel using alpha hydroxy acids such as glycolic, lactic, or salicylic will normally suffice and should cause no discomfort beyond a slight tightening effect. For those with darker skin, medium penetration using trichloroacetic acid (TCA) will be more effective and may cause some temporary stinging. For coarse wrinkling, sun damage, and pre-cancerous growths, deep peels, commonly with a phenolic solution, a local anaesthetic, and sedative are normally given, and recovery times are significantly longer.
Individual requirements vary, so a professional consultation is necessary to determine what’s best for you. Contact DermaCare for a skin analysis and personalised treatment plan.