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Home / Skin Care

All you need to know about chemical peels

 Chemical peels will improve the appearance of minor scars and reduce age spots (Photo: Courtesy)

Do you want a spotless, line-free, and smooth complexion? Then you should consider getting a chemical peel.

As the name suggests, a chemical solution is applied to your face when you are getting a chemical peel treatment at your dermatologist’s office. The top layer of your skin, which is damaged, blisters and peels off, leaving behind a smoother, healthier, and flawless complexion!

Chemical peels can help reduce fine lines, especially around your eyes and mouth. They also improve the appearance of minor scars, treat certain types of acne, reduce age spots and discolouration, and generally improve the look and feel of your skin.

Chemical peels contain acids such as alpha-hydroxy acids (glycolic acid, lactic acid, and citric acid), salicylic acid, trichloroacetic acid, and phenol.

Before you book a chemical peel with your dermatologist, here are a few things you should know:

Peels Give Your Other Products a Boost

In just a few minutes, a chemical peel lifts off the layer of dead skin cells. This prepares your skin to be more receptive to active ingredients from your other skincare products. It also triggers a lovely chain reaction to enhance the health of your skin.

Once the topmost layer is shed off, it triggers your body to produce more skin cells and increase collagen production, hence healthier skin. You might be able to notice significant improvement immediately after the first treatment, especially if you go for a deep chemical peel. However, it may take a few sessions to notice a significant difference if you opt for light peels.

Types of Peels to Choose From

There are various types of peels for you to choose from – your dermatologist will advise on which one best suits your needs. Peels are usually put into three categories: light peels, moderate peels, and deep peels.

Light peels are best suited for people with superficial skin. They carry a lower risk of side effects; hence they are great for beginners. However, it might take as much as five sessions to see the results that you desire.

Medium peels are great for fine wrinkles, sun damage, minor hyperpigmentation, and minor scars. Deep peels, on the other hand, are recommended for issues that affect the deeper layers of your skin – such as severe sun damage, wrinkles, or hyperpigmentation. It may be advisable to go for laser therapy, which is likely to have better results, instead of deep chemical peels.

Who is the Right Candidate for Chemical Peels?

You will be delighted to learn that almost everyone can benefit from chemical peels. That said, dark-skinned people should stick to light or moderate chemical skin peels. Strong, deep peels can cause hyperpigmentation in dark-skinned people.

If you are dark-skinned, it is especially important to make sure that you are receiving appropriate treatment formulated for your skin type.

Chemical peels are also not advisable for pregnant or nursing women – there are no studies yet on the effects of chemical peels on foetuses or nursing babies.

In addition, you cannot have a chemical peel if you have been taking Accutane to treat your acne within the last six months. If you scar easily, have cold sores, are taking antibiotics, have cancer or have an autoimmune disorder, you should also stay away from chemical peels.

How is the Treatment Done?

When you are getting a chemical peel, the dermatologist will apply a chemical exfoliant solution to your skin. The application starts with the thicker areas of skin – such as chin, nose and cheeks and finally the thinner areas around the eyes and mouth.

You may experience some warmth, stinging, burning, or itching on the skin when the peel is applied. This is normal and will stop once the procedure is done. However, do not hesitate to let the dermatologist or aesthetician know if you experience discomfort.

What to Expect After a Chemical Peel?

It is likely that your skin will be sensitive to the sun after a chemical peel. Be careful to apply sunscreen and stay out of direct sunlight. In fact, you should not schedule a chemical peel if you will be attending an outdoor event a few days after the peel.

You may also experience swelling and peeling, which can take one-two weeks to go away, depending on the intensity of the peel. Keep your face dry (no washing) for the first 24 hours. You should also avoid makeup till your skin has healed.

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