There are many dramatic ways to make an impact on your appearance. If you’re looking for a way to get smoother skin and a healthy glow, consider making an appointment at your local day spa for a chemical peel. Peels are considered to be a faster, cheaper and much less invasive than other more dramatic steps (such as plastic surgery).

What is a peel?

A peel utilizes a chemical solution that is specifically designed to remove dead skin. Essentially it “peels” away a layer of dead skin cells to reveal the smoother and less wrinkled skin below. Although going to a dermatologist is not required to receive this treatment, it should only be performed by a professional who has received training in this procedure and is licensed (such as a dermatologist, esthetician or plastic surgeon).

What Kinds of Peels Are There?

There are several types of chemical peels available and which would be most appropriate for you depends largely on what your desired results are. There is no “one size fits all” and understanding your options will help you in your decision.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids – This is the mildest form of peel designed to target fine lines and wrinkles, areas of dryness, uneven pigmentation and acne. Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA’s) are naturally occurring carboxylic acids. These can also be combined with certain cleansers to be used on a daily basis to improve skin texture.
Note: This is a mild peel but may still cause stinging, redness, irritation, dryness or take multiple treatments to achieve desired results.

Beta Hydroxy Acids – This type of peel is sometimes used over stronger AHA peels because it can penetrate the skin deeper. This primarily uses a salicylic acid that will control excess oil, acne and remove dead skin cells.

Retinoic Acid Peel – This is derived from retinoids (which is denatured vitamin A). This type of peel is much deeper than Beta peels and would be used to remove scars as well as wrinkles and pigmentation issues. Note: The peel is left on the face and the peeling process usually occurs on the third day.

Trichloroacetic acid peels – this is as an intermediate to deep peeling agent in concentrations ranging from 20-50%. It is preferred for people with darker skin tones over Phenol peels. It will be used to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles, remove superficial blemishes and correct skin pigment problems.
Note: This may require several treatments to obtain desired results. You will need to use sun block for several months following this treatment (required). It can take several days to heal depending on the depth of treatment – consult with your technician for further information.

Phenol Peels – This is the strongest type and is a deep skin peel. The phenol is actually a carrier for another component in the peel, croton oil, which is the active ingredient. The effects of this peel are extremely long lasting (up to 20 years) and a single treatment can usually be sufficient to obtain the desired results.

Considerations

Chemical peels may require several treatments to receive maximum benefits but are considerably less expensive than plastic surgery and do not require long recovery times. They can be performed on an outpatient basis with your dermatologist or at your local day spa. Consult with your technician or doctor about the benefits and risks of any treatment you are considering.

Final Thoughts

If you are looking for dramatic results but do not want to pursue surgical options, a chemical peel may be a good step for you. Research peels available in your area and ask questions. Smoother, younger looking skin is possible and can be achieved with proper skin care. Remember to ask questions and study your options carefully.

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