Classification and external resources
What is Chemical Peels ?
A chemical peel, which is also known as derma peeling or chemoexfoliation, is perhaps one of the most minimally invasive method of improving the nature or appearance of facial skin. The method can be used to smoothen the texture of the skin, by causing controlled destruction of the top most layer of the skin resulting in a fresher and healthier looking skin.
It is important to note that the chemicals peels are not exclusively for the face, and can be used for other parts of the body too, especially the hands, neck and back. A chemical peel is an ideal solution to treat signs of skin damage due to ageing, over exposure to the sun, excessive usage of cosmetic products or even acne.
Chemical Peels Infographics
Types of Chemical Peels
Here are the main types of chemical peels:
Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are naturally occurring carboxylic acids and can be found in foods such as tomato juice and sour milk. These are the mildest of peels and can be used to handle dryness, fine wrinkles, acne and even pigmentation. As a matter of fact, AHA can even be combined with your regular facial wash or cream in a milder concentration and used on a daily basis.
Beta hydroxy acid peels
Beta hydroxyl acid are now being preferred over AHA, because they are able to penetrate the pores in a more effective manner. Research has shown that BHA can control the excretion of sebum as well as acne. In addition, it will also remove dead skin cells in a more effective manner.
Retinoic acid peel
This is the type of chemical peel that your local salon might not offer, because this needs more professional expertise. A deeper peel, this method is used to remove deep wrinkles as well as scars. In most cases, the chemical will be left on the face for a long time.
Croton oil / Phenol peel
The origins of this peel go back to the 1920s and it was in the 1960s that it emerged as a popular skin treatment. The exfoliation will be more intense, and this will lead to more effective regeneration of the dermis.
Formerly known as the Coombe’s formula, this type of chemical peel was pioneered by Dr Max Jessner, who was a German-American dermatologist and it was on his name that the method was renamed. He combined salicylic acid, lactic acid and resorcinol in an ethanol base, because this was meant to break the intracellular bridges that occurred naturally between keratinocytes. The chemical solution does not enter the pores as deeply as certain other peels.
Through liposuction, excess fat is removed from the body, and this fat is injected into the breasts. This is a great option for women who are not too keen on having a foreign body inside their body or need only a marginal increase in their breast size.
Chemical Peels Advantages
Before, during & after the Chemical Peels
While most people would be thrilled by the idea of all that a chemical peel can do for facial skin, not everyone can be considered a worthy enough candidate for the procedure. Your doctor will have to ensure that you are an ideal candidate for the same and in order to do this, he or she will have to ascertain that you:
Normally, people of Afro-Caribbean or Asian descent are not considered ideal candidates nor are people who have very pale freckled skin. However, only a dermatologist or cosmetologist will be able to give the final diagnosis of whether you can get a chemical peel or not.
When a person approaches a doctor with the intention of getting a chemical peel, there will be a fair few steps involved. These would include:
You doctor might also ask you to undergo a few medical tests and checks, to ensure that you are fit to undergo a chemical peel. You will also be made to understand the possible risks and side effects, so that you are able to make a fully informed decision.
This would also be a good time to have all your doubts and queries clarified and you should not feel embarrassed or ashamed to ask anything.
Before a chemical peel is actually started, your face will be cleaned thoroughly. If you are opting for a deep chemical peel, then you will be given an anaesthetic or mild sedation, because there could be some pain involved. The pre-prepared chemical solution will then be brushed onto your skin and allowed to do its work. Timing is crucial, which is why you should get the treatment only from a reputed clinic or salon. There could be some tingling, burning or itching sensation and all these are considered normal.
Depending on the type of chemical peel you have opted for, your doctor will either, simply wash off the peel, use a saline compress or slather your skin with ointment. If you have undergone a deep chemical peel, chances are that your skin will be dressed and the ointment will have to be left untouched for a day.
Once the procedure has been completed, you are bound to feel a little itching, irritation or redness, but all of these are normal and will disappear in a few days. You will be given medication to apply on your skin, which will help reduce the redness or irritation and also help with the possible pain. There is a chance of infection or hyperpigmentation and if you notice either, it would be best that you meet a doctor immediately. You will be asked to avoid makeup for a few days, because your skin will require time to heal. You will also be asked to apply a gentle moisturiser as well as sunscreen.
If the procedure has been done by an experienced professional, there are little chances that anything goes wrong, however, there are a few possible complications associated with this procedure. Here are some of the possibilities:
- People who have had herpes or cold sores in the past, could notice a recurrence of the same
- There could be an infection or scarring from the chemicals being used
- If there is a history of overgrowth of scar tissue, it would be best that you inform your doctor beforehand.
- There is a reason why people of certain skin types are not considered ideal candidates for chemical peels, and this is because there could be the chance of the skin colour changing permanently. This means that the skin could either become lighter or darker, than the present skin tone and this colour change will be noticed only where the chemical peel has been done.