The practice of using chemical peels as part of a beauty regime has been practiced in ancient times. Cleopatra used sour milk as her daily bath to obtain flawless skin.
A chemical peel is also known as Fruit Acid Peels. Milder forms of chemical peels derived their properties from almond nuts (Mandelic Acid), sugarcane (Glycolic Acid), sour milk (Lactic Acid) and willow trees (Salicylic Acid).
Chemical Peels are divided into superficial, medium and deep peels.
Superficial peel: Very mild and gentle acids are used to penetrate only the outer most layer of skin to gently exfoliate it. It is generally used to improve the appearance of superficial pigmentation, dull and rough skin, as well as to give an instant healthy glow to the skin.
Medium peel: The acids used are of higher strength to penetrate the outer layers of skin to remove dull and damaged skin cells. The treatment is highly effective to improve hyperpigmented spots, fine lines and wrinkles. It also can be used to smoothen rough skin & mild scars.
Deep peel: Tricholoracetic acid (TCA) is an active ingredient used in deep peels. It is applied to penetrate the middle layer of skin to remove damaged skin cells. Deep peels provide aggressive treatment for moderate lines, age spots, freckles and shallow scars. Patients see a dramatic improvement in skin appearance. However, many are afraid to do deep peels due to the downtime involved. It causes burns.
Different chemical peels have their their own benefits. Generally, they act as an exfoliant and collagen stimulator. Chemical peels act by removing the outermost layer of the skin. Your new, regenerated skin is usually smoother, brighter and less wrinkled than the old skin. However, the new skin is also temporarily more sensitive to the sun. So sun avoidance and application of a good sunblock is very crucial for optimal healing.
Chemical peels are great for aging skin, fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, melasma, uneven skin tone, acne scars and dull skin.
Generally, fairer skinned individuals (skin type 1-III) are best candidates for chemical peels. However, individuals with skin type IV benefit from superficial peels too.
The procedure is not recommended for individuals with sunburn, active cold sores, active skin disease (psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis, rosacea), open wounds and those who have used Retin-A, skin lightening agents or other acid based products in the last 48 hours. Individuals who are on Accutane (Isotretinoin) should wait 6 months after your last dose before trying out chemical peels. For pregnant or nursing mothers, we strongly advise you to withhold any cosmetic procedures until after pregnancy or breast feeding is complete.
Chemical peels are not painful per se. However, you may experience a stinging sensation after it has been applied to your skin. If you have sensitive skin, the redness is more obvious. If the sensation is not tolerable, please inform your nurse or doctor for it to be neutralised. Once neutralisation takes place, your skin should no longer sting. As you undergo subsequent sessions, your skin begins to adjust to the peel and these sensations will lessen.
Once you have had a chemical peel, you may experience the following:
- Superficial peels
Treated skin will initially turn red, and gradually lighten within the first 3 days. Your skin may flake too. The flaking is due to the shedding of dead skin. It is advisable to apply moisturisers or hydrating serums, followed by daily use of sunblock. Make up can be applied the next day.
- Medium peels
Skin treated with medium peels will turn red as well. Some clients experience mild swelling. There will be more peeling as compared to superficial peels. Gentle lotions or creams may be applied to keep the skin moist. Make up can be applied once the skin calms down. Sunblock must be applied daily to avoid potential complications.
- Deep peels
Deep peels require 2 to 3 weeks to heal, and it can take up to a month for some. The treated area needs to be bandaged. Sun protection is paramount and if possible avoid all sun exposure for three to six months.
- Minor skin discoloration, either temporary or permanent can happen. This is known as Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH).
- Burnt marks
- Reactivation of cold sores
At GEM Clinic, we offer clients with superficial peels, with minimal downtime but maximal improvement. Our clients love their improved skin texture, radiant complexion, and more even skin tone. Our consultants and doctors will first assess your skin and your concerns before deciding which chemical peel is suitable for you.