Using Chemical Peels for Skincare Issues

What & How Do They Work?

If you have skincare issues like wrinkles, hyper-pigmentation, age spots, or texture issues from scaly or dry skin, it is likely that you’ve heard or read about chemical peels. 

These skin-resurfacing treatments are a popular option at health and wellness centers, medical spas, and health clinics because they treat a wide variety of skin conditions, come in varying levels of intensity, and are tailored to each individual. 

 Let’s take a deep dive into what chemical peels do, how they work, and what they are. 

Women undergoing chemical peel treatment of face skin

What Does a Chemical Peel Do to Your Skin?

The job of a chemical peel is to remove the outer layers of your skin. How many layers it removes is dependent on the type of chemical peel you get and the intensity of the peel. 

 When a chemical peel solution is applied to the skin’s surface, it will make the skin blister, causing it to peel off. The skin underneath will be smoother and have less areas of acne scars, fine lines, and wrinkles.

 If you have sun-damage, age spots, scaly or dry skin, or hyper-pigmentation, these will be improved, as the chemical peel will remove any dead skin cells that have collected in these areas. 

“A licensed medical aesthetician will gently scrape your face at a 45-degree angle with the blade to remove dead cells, debris, peach fuzz hairs, coarse hair, and scar tissue. “

What Type of Chemical Peel Should I Get?

The type of chemical peel you get will be dependent on what type of skin issue you are trying to combat and how much downtime you are willing to endure. 

These two factors will determine the strength of the peel needed. When looking at the different chemical peel options, you will be asked to choose between a light, medium, or deep peel. 

A light chemical peel will not penetrate the skin very deep and are used to target the superficial top layer of skin. 

This is good for treating acne, fine lines, wrinkles, and uneven skin tones. 

A medium peel on the other hand, is going to penetrate deeper into the upper middle layers of skin and work best for acne scarring, uneven skin tones, and deep wrinkles or fine lines. 

Finally, a deep peel will penetrate down into the lower dermal layer which is where your skin regenerates. A deep peel is best for those who need to deal with sun damage, blotchy skin areas, and extremely deep fine lines or wrinkles.


What Type of Chemicals Are in These Peels?

Every chemical peel is formulated differently and is hand-tailored to the individual based on the intensity level that they need. However, there are some common chemicals that are used in all peel types. 

These include:

  • Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs),
  • Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs),
  • Trichloroacetic Acid (TCA),
  • Phenols. 

While AHAs and BHAs are traditionally used in lighter peels, TCA and Phenols are used in medium to deep peels. 


What to Expect During Recovery & Downtime?
All chemical peels require downtime. 


While light chemical peels will require less downtime than deep chemical peels, the actual amount of time varies from individual to individual. 

You should expect flaking of the skin, skin irritation, and peeling within the first few days for light peels, while medium peels can take up to six weeks for the skin to return to normal. 

If you are getting a deep peel, you will need to rest your skin for a minimum of two weeks before you can resume regular activities like applying makeup or exercising. 

With deep peels, your skin may stay irritated for up to three months.

Who Can Get a Chemical Peel & Who Shouldn’t?

Those who are good candidates for chemical peels are individuals that have acne or acne scarring, age spots, fine lines, wrinkles, freckles, sun-damage, rough skin, scaly skin, irregular skin pigmentation, and facial scarring like pockmarks. 

A chemical peel will not treat loose or sagging skin, remove broken capillaries, change your pore size, or remove deep scarring. 

Unfortunately, those with abnormal skin scarring, abnormal skin pigmentation, facial warts, pale skin, or are of Afro-Caribbean or Asian descent are not good candidates.

“Unfortunately, those with abnormal skin scarring, abnormal skin pigmentation, facial warts, pale skin, or are of Afro-Caribbean or Asian descent are not good candidates. “

The cost for a chemical peel is dependent on the intensity you get. A light peel will run between $150-400, whereas, medical-grade peels can run several thousand dollars. 

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