What Are Chemical Skin Peels?

Chemical Skin Peels

A chemical skin peel is the removal of the superficial layers of the skin using different types of acids mixed with various other ingredients. It is performed to improve the appearance of old, damaged or pigmented skin. With age, skin will take on a lax, wrinkled and discoloured appearance. Skin can become damaged from repeated exposure to the sun, atmospheric pollution and from diseases such as acne. Hormonal changes in pregnancy can often bring about pigmentary changes in the skin. These pigmentary changes along with freckles can be successfully treated with chemical peels and the use of specialised blending creams. The face, neck, chest and hands are the areas most commonly targeted.

How it works and what it does

A skin peel is achieved by the application of acid formulations onto the skin. Different depths of peels can be produced by applying a specific acid at a particular concentration for a particular length of time. The choice of acid, its concentration and length of application will determine the depth of a skin peel. Superficial peels can be produced with glycolic and lactic acids. Medium to moderately deep peels can be produced with trichloracetic acid (TCA) and very deep peels can be produced with carboxylic acid (Phenol). Various layers of the skin can be peeled off by applying the different acids above for varying periods of time and by repeating the process at periodic intervals of 1 – 4 weeks. The aim is to remove just the right amount of skin to eliminate lines, blemishes and discolorations to be replaced with new fresh and healthy looking skin.

Is it suitable for me

Chemical peels are suitable for most individuals aged from 18 to 70 but not suitable for anyone with active skin disease such as eczema, psoriasis, roscacea and active acne. Individuals with dark skin are also not suitable as there can be loss of pigmentation in the process.

How long does it take to work and will the benefits last

Skin peeling normally starts within 3 to 5 days after application of the peeling solution and continues for a few days depending on location, type of chemicals used, depth of penetration and other factors. The peeling process may be repeated periodically to achieve the desired effects. Superficial peels can be repeated at one to two weekly intervals to achieve the desired effect whilst deeper peels may only need to be performed once. Visible benefits may last for months or longer but the effects are never permanent as the aging process can not be halted. However the process may be repeated subsequently as required.

What does the procedure involve

The procedure involves an initial clinical assessment to determine a course of action after the problems have been evaluated and discussed. You will be given an information sheet explaining the process and aftercare. Preparatory creams may need to be used for two to four weeks before the application of the peeling solution. The treatment may involve a number of peels at periodic intervals or a one off peel depending on the problem to be tackled. The application of the peel and buffering creams take approximately 30 – 45 minutes or so depending on the area being treated. Your skin will become reddened immediately after the process and you will be given various creams to take home with you. A follow up visit will be arranged and the peeling process monitored and evaluated. You can expect your skin to darken and become shiny on the day after the application of the peeling solution followed by skin peeling as early as from day 3 onwards lasing for 4 – 6 days or more.

Is there any pain or discomfort

The procedure is relatively painless though not without some discomfort. A burning sensation of varying degree is experienced within minutes of the peeling solution being applied. The intensity of this will vary on the type and concentration of the solution used. A fan and or a cold pack may be applied to give some relief during the few minutes that the peeling solution is allowed to remain active. Once the desired endpoint is reached as evidenced by the skin changes that take place, a specially formulated cream is then applied that immediately halts the burning sensation.

Are there any contra-indications

Peels are not suitable for those with very sensitive skin who react to substances easily or who have active skin disease such as eczema, psoriasis, roscacea, herpes or acne. Individuals with dark skin are also not suitable as there can be uneven loss of pigmentation in the peeling process.

Are there any complications or risks

Chemical peels are normally a safe procedure when it is performed by a qualified and experienced doctor. The risk of adverse effects such as infection, scarring and pigmentary changes are usually very small especially if individuals with pre-existing skin problems as listed in the section under contra-indications are excluded. These risks are further reduced by not picking and peeling the skin off manually and allowing the skin to peel off unaided. The use of sun blocking creams for several weeks after a peel will help to reduce the risk of uneven pigmentation developing.

Will treatment interfere with my daily activities – the down time

The amount of down time involved will vary according to the depth of peel. Your skin will normally peel for several days and you will need to take time off your usual occupation during this time. Recovery generally takes a week or more, depending on how quickly your skin regenerates. In the first few days after treatment your skin may turn dark brown and will itch. It will then start to peel from day 3 to 7 and the peeled areas will look rather pink. The fresh underlying pink skin will gradually turn to a normal shade over the next three to six weeks as new growth takes place during which time you will need to avoid exposure to the sun and use a sun blocking cream.

Please visit http://www.aksalon.co.uk/ for more information on this treatment.