Chemical peels have been around for centuries. Cleopatra and the ancient Romans used various food acids to peel their skin. Lactic acid, an active ingredient of sour milk, was used topically as part of an ancient skin rejuvenation regimen. Old wine was used for the same purpose, tartaric acid being the active ingredient.
Later in history, the phenol peel was developed. This fierce, deep peel was responsible for giving peeling a reputation for complications – pigmentation, scarring and sometimes abnormal heart rhythms due to absorption of peeling agent. Most peels do not penetrate so deeply and aggressively and are appropriate for spas, salons, and at-home use.
In fact, when used properly, chemical peels can be very beneficial in treating many different types of skin issues with little or no downtime. Conditions such as sun damage, surface wrinkles and scarring, acne, age spots, discoloration and uneven skin tone can all be diminished with the correct peel treatment.
Chemical peels are commonly known as skin peels, facial peels or fruit acid peels. Chemical peels promote the growth of new skin, removing old, damaged skin and replacing it with shiny, youthful and healthy skin.
THE KEY STEPS TO SKIN REJUVENATION:
1. EXFOLIATE – apply light strength Glycolic, Lactic or Salicylic Acid exfoliators to enhance the shedding of dead skin cells and promote cell rejuvenation, collagen and elastin growth.
2. CHEMICAL PEEL – apply chemical peels for faster shedding of dead skin and to promote further cell rejuvenation.
3. TREAT – apply treatment products to target specific skin problems such as aging, acne & blemishes, sun spots etc.
4. MOISTURIZE – apply the correct moisturizer formulated to soothe, nourish and protect the skin.
5. SUN PROTECTION – apply SPF 30+. You must protect your new skin. It’s very sensitive. Please don’t skip this part of your skin care routine. Most of us have damaged and aged skin because of too much sun exposure. Failing to protect your new skin as you turn over the old, damaged skin will not give desired results.
Questions to ask before selecting a peel (it is important to follow the instructions included with your peel):
1. Which chemical solution will I use and why?
2. Are the desired results that I want realistic?
3. What should I expect after the chemical peel?
HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT PRODUCT FOR YOUR SKIN TYPE.
There are a set of rules for choosing products to treat your skin – identical skin types can react differently to the same skin care product. To choose the right product to effectively treat your skin, it is important to be aware of your skin type and treatment goals. The basic skin type categories are: Normal, Dry, Oily, Combination and Sensitive.
Clinical studies have found that to treat your skin effectively, regardless of type, it is likely that a combination of Alpha Hydroxy Acids (Glycolic & Lactic Acids) and Beta Hydroxy Acid (Salicylic Acid) will work best. The main difference between alpha hydroxy acid and beta hydroxy acid is their lipid (oil) solubility. Alpha hydroxy acids are water soluble only, while beta hydroxy acid is lipid (oil) soluble.
This means that: – Beta Hydroxy acid (Salicylic Acid) is able to penetrate into the pores which contain sebum and exfoliate the dead skin cells that are built up inside the pores – great for oily and combination skin.
- Alpha Hydroxy acids (Glycolic & Lactic Acids) are more effective in treating thickened, sun-damaged skin – ideal for normal and dry skin types.
Using both Alpha and Beta in combination achieves a full spectrum exfoliation / peel that can more effectively treat your skin type and problem.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT STRENGTH OF PRODUCT:
What strength peel is right for me?
A good rule of thumb is to begin by choosing a low strength Beta Salicylic Exfoliator and Alpha Glycolic or Lactic Acid. Suggested Alpha Beta Kits for daily use and peel treatments are available or you can customize by choosing the exact product, strength and size from our large selection.
The depth of the peel depends on the chemical used and your experience using peels. It is advisable to not use a deep chemical peel treatment if you have never used peeling agents. Many times, we want quick results, not realizing what this might mean in terms of applying a chemical peel. The peeling agent produces controlled damaged to the skin’s surface. This can result in excess flaking, stinging, sunburn-type effect or, in some cases, breaks in skin, leaving us frustrated and even more dissatisfied with our skin than before we started. Therefore, it is vital to understand that chemical peeling is a process that typically occurs over the course of a few months. A 2oz. bottle of chemical solution will give you approximately 12-15 facial peels.
Combining a daily regimen with a series of skin peels is the most effective way to treat your skin and choosing the right strength of product is vital to performing professional quality skin rejuvenation treatments.
- Strength of Salicylic 10% is recommended for those new to this type of chemical peel or for those who only need light skin rejuvenation. Can be used every 2 weeks. This strength of peel can be excellent for use in conjunction with the Glycolic or Lactic peel for a superior peel result. Oil-soluble to penetrate sebum filled pores and cleanse thoroughly, reducing acne and blemishes.
- Strengths of Salicylic 20% – 30% are considered medium /deep peels and can be performed every 2 weeks. They assist in the rapid shedding of dead skin cells. Use of a light daily exfoliator in between peel treatments will further assist in this process of skin cell renewal. Excellent for oily/acne prone skin.
Glycolic and Lactic Acids:
- Strengths of 10% or less are considered daily exfoliators and they will keep your skin fresh and healthy. These are recommended for those new to chemical peels or for those who only need light skin rejuvenation.
- Strengths of 20% – 40% are considered medium peels and can be performed every 2 weeks. They assist in the rapid shedding of dead skin cells. Use of a light daily exfoliator in between peel treatments will further assist in this process of skin cell renewal.
- Strengths of 50% – 70% are considered deeper peels and should typically be used by those experienced with medium peel acids and/or those with rough, aged, or sun-damaged skin that can handle a deeper chemical peel. For use every 2 weeks until desired results are achieved. A light, daily exfoliator will help maintain the results of a deep peel.
How do I apply a chemical peel?
Begin a chemical peel treatment with a vigorous cleaning of the skin. Use a cleanser without a moisturizer. Moisturizers can leave a film on the skin’s surface, blocking the peeling agent from effectively penetrating the skin.
Apply rubbing alcohol or a pre-peel solution to your skin to help lower the ph of your skin so that the peel solution can penetrate easily. Using Salicylic Acid 2% or 5% exfoliator beforehand will improve your peel results, as it opens and cleanses your pores, allowing for peeling agent to penetrate and work it’s magic.
The chemical peel should be applied in stages: Start with the forehead. Use a gentle buffing motion for application. Next, move to upper lip area and chin. You will follow this up with the cheeks and then the nose. By now, you have left the peel solution on long enough and it is creating a stinging sensation. Either rinse with water or a neutralizing solution to neutralize the peel acid and help to cool your skin.
Follow up with moisturizer. Keep applying moisturizer as needed throughout the days that follow. Skin may look as if it were sunburned after a peel treatment. It may take several days for a complete recovery from a peel. You probably will not see any visible peeling, as this is a gradual process with AHA acids. Sometimes a BHA peel will have some visible flaking of skin. Do not scrub, peel or pick at loose skin.
Most peels will not prevent you from going to work or doing other activities but your face may not be ideal for pictures. The results are worth any temporary discomfort that you may endure during or after a peel. You may resume makeup application after the redness and flaking have subsided.
It is vital that you use a moisturizer and sun protection when treating your skin with exfoliator and peel acids. We have developed highly effective moisturizers designed specifically to compliment the exfoliation and peel process as they are oil-free and free of the harmful chemical additives found in traditional creams that can block pores and cause chemical irritation. The sun protection that we recommend is an Anti-Aging UVA & UVB SPF 30+ to provide protection from the elements as well as to nourish the skin throughout the day.
Be sure to use lots of sunscreen! New skin can be extra sensitive to the UV rays.