Sun exposure, acne or aging can leave your skin tone uneven, wrinkled, spotted or scarred. If you want your skin to look smoother and younger, consider a chemical peel. It is one of the least invasive and inexpensive ways to improve the appearance of your skin.
What types of chemical peels are there?
There are three types of peels. The type of chemical peel is based on how deeply the chemical penetrates and what type of chemical solution is used. Factors that may affect the depth of a peel include the acid concentration in the peeling agent, the number of coats that are applied and the amount of time allowed before the acid is neutralized. Deeper peels result in more dramatic effects as well as higher risks, increased discomfort, and longer healing time.
Superficial peels are the mildest type of chemical peel and can be used on all skin types. Superficial peels usually use a liquid containing a mild acid such as lactic acid, or a combination of acids as in the Jessner’s solution. Superficial peels provide instant gratification in the form of a luminous complexion with little, if any downtime aside from a few days of tight, dry skin. They treat dry skin, soften fine lines, fade mild hyperpigmentation and can help control acne. Because they are mild, you usually need a series to see optimal results. These can be performed in a spa or physician’s office. Theraderm has 50% and 70% Lactic Acid and Jessner’s peel available for our professional partners. Expect downtime to range from anywhere from zero to 7 days.
Medium peels penetrate the skin deeper than superficial peels. Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) is the main peeling solution used for medium peels. Medium depth peels work a little differently in that they penetrate more deeply getting to the border or the dermis to remove the top few layers of the skin where many blemishes, sun spots and imperfections live.
Medium peels create a deliberate “wound” (think sunburn) that allows the new skin to come through. Medium depth peels do everything a superficial peel does, but is more effective at treating sun damage and melasma. Because it goes deeper into the dermis, it is more effective at stimulating collagen to tighten the skin. These should be done in a medical spa or physician’s office only. Expect downtime for these peels range from 7 to 14 days, but the results are worth it!
Deep peels penetrate several layers of skin and actually cause a second-degree burn of the skin and are used only on the face. Typically a chemical called phenol (Theraderm does not offer this solution) is used to perform a deep peel. These peels may not be used on darker skin types because they tend to bleach the skin (hypopigmentation). Even in lighter-skinned people, phenol peels-or any type of deep resurfacing-may bleach the skin. Besides the aesthetic aspect of a phenol peel, these are sometimes performed if a patient has several “spots” of skin cancer on their face. This can be done in the case of superficial cancers. These should only be performed by a licensed medical doctor as intense aftercare is required. Expect significant downtime for a deep peel ranging between two to three weeks.
To find a professional who performs these services, check out the physician locator tool on Therapon.com. As always, the success rate of these peels are always greater if skin is in optimal health prior to the procedure. As your skin care professional for the Pre and Post Procedure care kits. You can find out more about them here
Next in the series is “Top 7 Reasons You Should Have a Chemical Peel”