To get started on a discussion of the chemical peel process it is important to note that no actual “peeling” occurs. Instead, it is a chemical process that forces the dead skin to be shed naturally by the body. This tends to result in the skin flaking or peeling away as it does when you get sunburn. However, this is not due to damage done to the skin but is the result of a hastening of the regular process of new skin cell creation.
Though we all understand that there are a few layers to the skin, it is not as simple as that. We actually have those three well known layers – the epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous skin – but there are multiple “strata” between them. The chemical peel is done to soak down into the layers between the epidermis and the dermis, and to trigger exfoliation at a much deeper layer than simple facial scrubs or other products can cause.
How chemical peels work
So, the chemical peel is applied to the skin and then the skin just improves? Not really, and according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, you can choose three different types of treatment. Though they may all use similar chemicals, they do not generate the same results. They are:
Light – This is an approach that creates only subtle changes and is the method used when ongoing treatment is best for the patient. This will manage dry skin, acne, fine lines and uneven pigmentation. It removes only the epidermis and none of the lower stratum. It deep cleans the skin, is applied for ten minutes or less, and needs to be removed and neutralized. It can be done on a monthly basis.
Medium – This approach creates noticeable improvements immediately and can be put to use as a way of reducing the look of acne scars, uneven skin tone or colour and some deep wrinkles. It affects the epidermis and the upper stratum of the dermis. It too leaves the face optimally cleansed, but there is the risk of discomfort with this treatment. The chemicals are in place for only a few minutes, and are then neutralized. The skin can look pale or even a bit irritated, and it may require up to six weeks for full healing. This type of treatment can be done once or twice per year.
If you have fine lines, acne scars, sun damage, uneven skin tone and a long list of other skin issues you may benefit from a peel of some kind. Speak with your skin doctor as they are the best person to make the call. However, almost anyone can benefit from a properly done chemical peel. The end result is skin that is refreshed and healthier than it has been in many years and the results can last for a month or even up to ten years!
If you have questions about how a chemical peel can improve your skin, contact your local doctor who will arrange for you to see a dermatologist.
American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Chemical Peel.