This an overview of frequent questions that I am asked daily in my office at Montarbo Skincare. I hope that you find this information helpful.
One of the most important steps you can take when deciding which chemical peel is right for you is to investigate all of your options and make an informed decision.
So, let's take a look at chemical peels:
You should know that I'm not a big fan of using the word "chemical" when it comes to facial peels, and the reason is because most chemical peels use natural sources including sugarcane, fruits acids, milk, vitamin C, enzymes and many other natural ingredients.
Chemical Peels are also known as skin peels, fruit acid peels, exfoliating peel, AHA peels, lactic and glycolic acid peels, acne peel, and many other names.
So let's get started...
Chemical Peels Overview
Chemical peels can help reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and blemishes. They're used to treat acne and most skin conditions. A chemical peel can also help to treat melasma, chloasma, hyper-pigmentation, darkening of the skin and acne scaring. They work by removing the top layers of skin so that lighter, smoother and younger-looking skin can regenerate. Peels may be superficial, mild, medium-depth, or deep. It all depends on a client's goals, budget, and concerns.
Strengths Of Chemical Peels
Superficial peels: These peels typically use alpha hydroxy acids derived from nature (AHA) like glycolic acid, lactic acid or salicylic acid which gently remove the uppermost layer of the skin.
Medium-depth chemical peels: These peels penetrate deeper-- through the epidermis and into the dermis, or middle layer of skin. Trichloroacetic acid, or TCA (Like the Obagi Blue Peel), is commonly used to perform medium to deep depth peels. Some other chemical peel solutions--such as the Jessner solution-- can be layered to achieve a mild, medium or deep peel. Recovery time for mild and medium-depth peels ranges from 24 hours to two weeks.
Deep peels: These peels penetrate through the epidermis and dermis to treat the most severe scars, wrinkles, blemishes, hyper-pigmentation, crows feet, forehead lines, and cystic acne. These types of peels can be used all over the face and body. Recovery time for deep peels can range from a week to two weeks, depending on the strength of peel that was used and the severity of the skin condition being treated.
How Chemical Peels Work
Chemical peels work by removing the top layers of the skin. Removing the outermost layers helps to repair damaged areas caused by using the wrong products, general aging, sun exposure, and other skin conditions. The end result reveals smoother, healthier new skin. Chemical peels can lighten skin affected by hyper-pigmentation, melasma, sun spots, post inflammation and improve the appearance of wrinkles and scars. They're also used to treat skin conditions like acne, pimples, black heads and help to remove pre-cancerous lesions. ( Some buzz words for pre-cancerous lesions include the names actinic keratosis--also called "solar keratosis"--- and "senile keratosis." These are pre-malignant conditions that cause thick, scaly, or dusty patches of skin).
Types of Skin Peels
There are three basic types of chemical peels: mild, medium and deep. Mild and medium-depth skin peels meet most people's cosmetic or health needs. They are easy to administer and have a short recovery time. Deep chemical peels are used to treat scars, severe skin conditions, and skin that has built up a strong tolerance to lower level peels.
Mild Chemical Peels
Mild chemical peels are most often used to improve the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, mild acne scarring and mild hyper-pigmentation. They remove a small part of the epidermis, or outer layer of skin, but offer superior results for most mild concerns. This is the most common type of chemical peel.
You will need to have a mild skin peel repeated four to six times over a period of two to three months for the best results. The results of a mild peel last about one month, but you should have maintenance peels performed monthly if you want to maintain healthy and glowing skin.
Alpha Hydroxy acids (AHAs) are the gentlest acids used in skin peels.
Medium-Depth Chemical Peels
Medium-depth chemical peels penetrate deeper into the epidermis and some of the dermis, or underlying middle layers of the skin. Some dermatologists (or a trained aesthetician like Cody Montarbo) may perform a mild peel before a medium-depth peel in order to give you a more effective skin treatment. Medium-depth peels are used to treat wrinkles, hyper-pigmentation, sun damage and pre-cancerous growths.
Side effects include moderate pain during your session and a slight tingling sensation after your peel (for about an hour or so). Medium-depth peels can also cause excessive pinkness of the skin, pimples to surge to the surface, discoloration and itchiness. New skin should appear within the first week or two after treatment, though it can sometimes take as long as one month before the pinkness completely fades and the skin can be considered fully healed. The results can last several months or years, depending on the acids used to perform the peel.
Medium-depth chemical peels typically use trichloroacetic acid, or TCA, as a main ingredient. At Montarbo Skincare, we typically perform a mild peel using AHAs, in order to make the TCA more effective as a medium-depth peel agent. The Jessner solution--- which is a popular skin peel solution---contains a combination of resorcinol, salicylic acid and glycolic acid to clear pores, treat acne, and improve the appearance of wrinkles and sun damage. The Jessner solution can be used for medium-depth peels, or layered to create deep peels, as long as you're not allergic to aspirin or willows bark.
Deep Chemical Peels
Deep chemical peels penetrate all the way to the subcutaneous--- or the third and deepest--- layer of skin. They are used to treat melasma, deep wrinkles, scarring, sun damage and precancerous growths of the skin. TCA is the ingredient of choice for most deep peels, but the Jessner solution can be applied in layers to effect a deep peel.
Phenol (which we don't use at Montarbo Skin Care ) is more caustic than other chemical peel ingredients and carries risk of permanent pigmentation changes, demarcation lines and sensitivity to sunlight. Petroleum jelly or another ointment should be applied after a phenol peel to protect the skin. Full recovery can take several months.
Chemical Peels Treat Many Concerns All At Once
Chemical peels remove dead skin cells from the surface of your skin to allow lighter, brighter, newer skin to grow. Chemical peels have been used since ancient times to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Modern chemical peels don't just make you look younger; they can also treat skin conditions like acne, melasma, and even pre-cancerous growths. Let's look at the benefits of skin peels:
Chemical Peels Are Versatile
Many people receive chemical peels for cosmetic reasons. Mild chemical peels remove a portion of the epidermis, or upper layer of the skin. They can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, even out skin tone, and improve skin texture.
Medium-depth peels remove more of the surface of the skin, penetrating down to the dermis, or secondary layer of the skin. Medium-depth skin peels can improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles with results that last much longer than those associated with mild peels.
Deep peels ( TCA and Jessner) are used to treat deep wrinkles, the most severe hyper-pigmentation, and the worst scarring. Deep peels can dramatically improve the appearance of your skin on the face and body--- and the results can last for years.
Chemical Peels Help Protect Your Skin
Current day chemical peels aren't just used for vanity and cosmetic purposes. Dermatologists, aestheticians and spas use skin peels to treat a number of skin conditions ranging from acne to melanoma. Mild chemical peels are often used to treat acne, since they help to keep pores clean. For sun damage and hyper-pigmentation problems like melasma, medium-depth peels are often more effective. Medium-depth and deep peels are also used to treat severe and painful acne.
Chemical Peels Reverse Aging and Sun-Damage
Many people have chemical peels to reverse aging and to remove sun spots, age spots or other types of hyper-pigmentation caused by sun damage. Mild and medium-depth chemical peels can remove sun spots, freckles, wrinkles, fine lines, sagging skin, wrinkled hands and chests and just about exposed area where the sun has caused damage to the skin.