According to the America Society of Plastic Surgeons. There was a total of 1.1 million chemical peels performed across salons in the USA in 2012 which makes peels one of the top five minimal invasive cosmetic procedures. The past few weeks peels have been the topic of conversation in my life and I keep hearing that chemical peels are the new miracle cure for forever-young, forever-beautiful, forever-sustainable youthful wrinkle-free healthy glows. I’ve always thought of peeling as quite an intense procedure but is it really? Due to the increasing popularity of peels being offered everywhere, salons, doctors rooms and even at home products – what new skin fashion are actually submitting our skin through? This is what I found.
What is a chemical peel?
There are various products and treatments available today on the market and every brand has one or is launching one soon. That being said, what actually is a chemical peel? Well, that is an extremely broad answer as there are many different types of chemical peels and each brand that offers them has its own formulations. That being said, chemical peels used by estheticans are generally a solution that has a combination or sometimes just one alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) or beta hydroxy acid (BHA). The solution of chemicals is applied to the skin, mostly in layers although some peels only one layer, like a treatment mask. The peel can either be removed at the end of the treatment or is left to self neutralise. The acids in the peel work to disolve the top layers of the skin creating a controlled “burn” and therefore creating skin which needs to regenrate itself.
Essentially a chemical peel is “reboot” for your skin, essentially switching it on-and-off again allowing the old, dead skin layers to be removed and make space for younger, newer, fresher more collagen fresh skin to reappear.
At Home Peels versus Salon Peels versus Doctors Rooms Peels
There are even plenty of “peels” that are available for home use and I use the term home-use and peel in a very light sense of the word as its not technically a “peel” as these home use peels are very superficial peeling, simply a more extreme at-home exfoliation and this can help you maintain even toned and healthy skin.
Chemical peels perfomed by trained skin estheticans in salons have a lower pH than home-use products, making them more active and as such they can penetrate much deeper into the skin, these can cause your skin to turn red and sometimes skin may physically start peeling afterwards, like in the case of extreme sun burn.
Chemical peels may even be performed by Doctors, in their doctors rooms and for the most extreme peels are performed in theatre under an anaesthetic, obviously these are an even deeper peel with a lower pH than that of a salon or home use products. These peels usually have excessive”down-time” of the skin and a lot of peeling occurs afterwards.
When a series of professional peels are performed by a trained skin esthethian or doctor the peels can treat hyper-pigmentation and acne.
What chemical peels do
Across the spectrum, of what is available at the moment salon chemical peels promise may many things and they are:
- Improve the texture of your skin.
- Increase the cell turnover rate of your skin.
- Improve your skin’s ability to hold moisture.
- Help your skin produce more collagen. (Goodbye wrinkles!)
- Reduce fine lines.
- Decrease hyper pigmentation.
- Unclog pores and help clear up acne.
- Leave your skin smooth.
- Make your skin softer.
- Make your skin look more even-toned.
- Give you a “glow”.
- Make your skin look more dewy.
- Improve minor scarring.
Chemical peels do not promote dramatic improvements to deep wrinkles or very sagging skin, these conditions can only be treated with laser therapy or cosmetic surgery.
What does a salon peel feel like?
I went for my first ever salon peel on Friday afternoon, and this was a Dermaceutic Milk Peel at Ageless Faces Salon in Cavendish which felt like a crawling sensation on my skin but across the spectrum the reported general feeling can be warmth, sometimes even heat or mild stinging but if it actually hurts then there is a problem and the peel must be stopped immediately but it is normal to feel something happening on your face, as there is an acid penetrating the dead skin layers of your skin and essentially “burning” them away. The warmth sensation may be numbed by having a small fan blowing lightly onto your face. These sensations will stop once the peel is over.
The peel itself is really quick, but I will go into more detailed experience on another post.
What happens after the peel?
Depending on what peel you have just undergone, your skin may react in many different ways and you may in fact peel but you may only experience mild itchiness, however it is normal to be quite sensitive to the sun and being vigilant about sunscreen following your peel is an absolute necessity. Skin may also feel tight and a little dry. Red skin is also common for an hour or so following the peel because having a peel is extremely stimulating to the skin and extreme caution and care needs to be given to your lifestyle choices following one in order to avoid unnecessary irritation or hyper pigmentation to the skin. This means no excessive exercise with sweating for a few days, no excessive heat sources like saunas or Jacuzzis, no scrubbing or picking your face and absolutely no retinol products or AHA products to be applied to the skin at least 10 days following the peel.
Who should have a peel?
If you have an acne problem or deeply congested pores; have fine lines or wrinkles; or feel like your skin needs a brightening up then a salon performed peel would be a good option for you. If you regularly have facials and want to up your skin care routine, instead of having a facial why not try having a peel every 4 – 6 weeks. A facial is great for your skin but having a peel performs a deeper cleanse of pores and helps assist with the regeneration of skin cells promoting a brighter, healthier glow. Having a series of peels can treat a number of skin issues and really there is no reason not to try one.
My 2 – cents, why pay for a facial when you can cleanse, exfoliate, mask and moisturise just the same at home when you are using good quality products, rather spend that money on a an investment on a peel to transform your skin and to treat it deeper rather than superficially. The full post on my skin from my Milk Peel is coming soon, but I can just say I have fallen in love with the idea no matter how sceptical I was at first and certainly think its a better investment in the long-term care of my skin.