Chemical peels provide a ‘chemical exfoliation’, which occurs when a product includes a specific ingredient content and lowered pH, or acidity, that helps dissolve the skin and provide a desired improvement. Different from superficial microdermabrasion, chemical peels liquefy skin cells to stimulate healthy cell regeneration.
There are two types of acids utilized in chemical exfoliating: AHA, or alpha-hydroxy acids, and BHA, beta-hydroxy acids.
Chemical peels are a professional procedure generally performed in MedSpas, and plastic surgeon’s or dermatologist’s offices. Chemical peels are also offered at day spas and skin boutiques not associated with a medical office, but the types of chemical peels are not a high strength to cause a significant improvement in the skin by law.
1.) Based on the patient’s specific desired results, the chemical peel type will vary. There are several acids used during chemical peeling, with three that are the most common:
-Salicylic acid – (BHA) Made from willow bark root extract and used to treat acneic skin conditions and heal acne scarring.
-Lactic acid – (AHA) Derived from milk and used to lighten hyperpigmentation, including age spots, melasma, and ‘pregnancy masque’). It is also used to brighten the skin.
-Glycolic acid – (AHA) Derived from sugar and used to even out very thick or very sun damaged skin.
2.) Chemical peels are never alkaline. The lower the percentage, the deeper the peel penetrates the skin.
3.) The primary goal of a medical chemical peel is to realign the dermis to even the skin tone and texture, and provide the patient with beautifully glowing, flawless skin.
4.) Not all chemical peels make the skin peel. With ‘higher percentage peels’, the skin will peel, which is desired if the patient wants to retexture their skin. The peeling process allows for undamaged, new skin to arise from the dermis to the epidermis rapidly in a healthy, safe way.
5.) Chemical peels are a ‘controlled wound’ done to the skin. What this means is that the skin is properly assessed and cleansed by a medical professional. Then the peel is administered properly and left on for an appropriate amount of time. The peel is neutralized after the allotted time, then the patient is sent home with instructions of what to do and what to avoid, what to expect, and some products to help with the healing and peeling process.
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