Three Types of Chemical Peels
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, over 1.4 million chemical peels were administered in 2017. Since the late 1800’s women (and some men) have been turning to the chemical peel to reduce the appearance of fine lines and uneven skin tone. And while the name may sound intimidating, chemical peels are really just another form of exfoliation for the face, neck, or hands. Peels help remove damaged outer layers allowing a fresh, new layer of skin cells to naturally emerge.
During the in-office procedure, a chemical solution (acid) is applied to the skin that causes it to exfoliate and eventually peel off. Depending on your individual needs and preferences, your dermatologist may one of three different types of chemical peels. Besides the type of chemical used, the main difference in these three types of chemical peels is the depth of penetration into the skin.
A superficial or “lunchtime” peel is the mildest chemical peel. Typical acids used in superficial peels include glycolic, salicylic, kojic acid, and malic acid. After a superficial peel, patients may experience some redness for 20 minutes to half an hour, and mild flaking for a few days following their procedure. Superficial peels are good for fine lines and wrinkles, minimizing pores and dark spots, and improving skin tone.
Medium-depth peels penetrate the outer and middle layers of skin to remove damaged skin cells. But because of they require the application of a strong acid, medium-depth peels aren’t typically made available for spa facials. The two most common acids used in medium-depth peels are glycolic acid, or trichloroacetic acid at concentrations of 35 percent or less. These types of peels leave skin raw and red, and patients must frequently apply ointment to protect the newly exposed skin beneath. Recovery time is also much longer – usually five to seven days.
The deepest chemical peels are designed to treat serious skin issues such as severe acne scars, excessive sun damage or looseness of the skin. Trichloroacetic acid or phenol is applied to deeply penetrate the middle layer of skin resulting in significant improvement in skin appearance. Recovery can take seven to ten days. Generally light-haired and fair skinned people are the best candidates for deep chemical peels. The procedure does not work as well on dark-skinned patients and can result in hypopigmentation.
For patients who regularly get peels, the strength of each peel can be increased over time. As a result, the skin’s tolerance is increased and down-time is reduced.
If you believe that you would benefit from a chemical peel treatment, contact Pinehurst Medical Clinic, Dermatology today. Together, we’ll help you achieve the complexion you’ve always wanted.