(Various superficial peels begin at $60)
(The Signature Blue Radiance Peel begins at $90)
Chemical peels are tried and true
Chemical peels have been around for a long time for good reason—they work. See how a chemical peel could heal your skin woes, from acne scars and uneven skin tone to melasma and fine lines and wrinkles.
Everything old is new again, and chemical peels are experiencing a rebirth of sorts as growing numbers of cosmetic doctors turn to these oldies but goodies to address a wide range of skin concerns and conditions. In 2015, there were 603,305 chemical peels performed, up nearly 25 percent from 2014, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery reports. Chemical peels are in high demand. What’s great about chemical peels is that they’re low tech and not intimidating when compared to lasers, and they address the same problems—skin discoloration, texture, and wrinkles. Women have been using peels for over 2,000 years! Cleopatra soaked in milk baths to smooth her skin. The active ingredient in milk is lactic acid (an alpha hydroxy acid, or AHA) and these acids (along with beta-hydroxy acids or BHAs) are still among the most commonly used types in modern peels.
Why get a chemical peel?
These days, the term ‘chemical peel’ applies to so many different formulations ranging from weaker glycolic peels that can be done at home to the strongest Phenol peels often require sedation or general anesthesia. These workhorses can correct acne, age spots, discoloration, tone, fine lines (especially under the eyes and around the mouth), freckles, melasma, sun damage, and more. Some peels produce changes that are relatively light and freshen the skin through exfoliation. Moderately deep peels will help various kinds of pigmentation issues. The deeper peels are effective at correcting wrinkles. Peels tend to cost less than laser skin resurfacing, averaging anywhere from $100 to $500 per treatment based on the type of peel.
What is a chemical peel?
A chemical peel is a technique used to improve the appearance of the skin on the face, neck or hands. A chemical solution is applied to the skin that causes it to exfoliate and eventually peel off. The new, regenerated skin is usually smoother and less wrinkled than the old skin. The new skin is also temporarily more sensitive to the sun. There are three types of chemical peels:
Superficial (Mild) peels
A series of mild chemical peels—on the face, neck, hands, and/or chest—every few weeks is great for busy people, because they get significant results with minimal downtime. These are sometimes called the “lunchtime peel”. The weaker peels are the AHA peels or fruit acid peels, most commonly Glycolic Acid, Citric Acid, and Lactic Acid, and can help improve acne scars, skin tone and texture, diminish fine lines and wrinkles, and reduce the effects of sun damage. These type peels remove dead cells and debris to regenerate skin cells with less traditional flaking and redness or discomfort associated with more intense formulas, so you get results similar to an intense peel, but without the downtime or side effects. Here’s what you can expect: After a thorough cleansing of the face, the peel is applied with either a brush, a pad, or a cotton swab. You may feel a slight tingling that lasts for the duration of the peel. With the weaker AHA peels, there is generally a very short-term pinkish or ruddy glow to the skin. The before-and-after difference is pronounced. You will look brighter right away with gradual improvement in fine lines, texture, and pigmentation. A series of mild or superficial peels is usually needed for optimal results. Aftercare matters too. Apply lotion or cream until the skin heals, and use sunscreen daily. It’s OK to wear makeup immediately.
What are the potential complications or side-effects of a chemical peel?
- Temporary or permanent change in skin color, particularly for women on birth control pills, who subsequently become pregnant or have a history of brownish facial discoloration.
- Reactivation of cold sores.
What to expect after the procedure
All chemical peels require some form of follow up care to maximize your results and avoid potential complications. Afterward, patients experience a reaction similar to sunburn in the treatment area.
Superficial peels require one to seven days to heal. Treated skin will initially be red and may scale. Lotion or cream should be applied until the skin heals, followed by daily use of sunscreen. Makeup can usually be worn the next day. Lighter superficial peels can be repeated every 2-4 weeks.
Sun exposure and smoking after a chemical peel must be avoided because they can cause unwanted side effects, including infection and scarring.
For more information about medium to deep peels Click Here
What To Expect
Before Your Chemical Peel
- Avoid using retinol products 7 days before your chemical peel
- If you have been on Accutane in the last 12 months you will need written consent from your physician
- Avoid sun exposure for 2 weeks prior to your appointment
- You should not receive a chemical peel if you have an allergy to Asprin
- Know that chemical peels can cause an outbreak of cold sores if you are prone to them
- Know that sensitive/dry skin may feel more uncomfortable during the procedure due to the lack of oil barrier on the skin.
- You will feel a mild to moderate stinging and tingling feeling, the skin may tighten and feel warm. Know that it may feel uncomfortable and slightly painful as it is a chemical exfoliation.
- Be aware that in the following days after your treatment you may experience tightening of the skin, peeling or frosting, and skin sensitivity to light
Post Care Chemical Peel
- Avoid sun exposure for 2 weeks after your chemical peel as you are more likely to burn, and sunlight can cause excessive peeling
- Slight peeling and flaking may occur, do not pick or peel at the dead skin but allow it to come off naturally
- Wear sunscreen daily
- Keep well moisturized to aid in the sloughing off of peeling skin
- Be aware darker skin tones can have a reverse effect and darken the skin even more
- Avoid using retinol products 2 weeks after your treatment
- Avoid makeup for 3 days after your chemical peel
- Avoid any other facial treatment for at least 2 weeks after your chemical peel