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Chemical Peels: What You Should Know

Chemical peels are an affordable skincare treatment option that can be an alternative to more invasive surgical procedures. Generally speaking, this procedure is safe however it is important that it be done correctly.

Chemical peeling is referenced in the writings of ancient Greeks, where we find the procedure mentioned in medical textbooks. The ancient Greeks noted the treatments effectiveness for cleansing, brightening, and softening the skin. Even Cleopatra VII has been referred to as the “mother of chemical peeling”. It’s written that she bathed in donkey’s milk for healthier skin.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, there were 931,473 chemical peel procedures performed in the United States in 2020. This popular, minimally invasive cosmetic procedure has a number of benefits for those wanting healthier skin.

Here, we will take a look at this popular procedure in detail. Our goal is to provide you with enough information to determine if this procedure is right for you.

What are the benefits of a chemical peel?

There are a number of different types of chemical peel. Your choice of chemical peel depends on the type of skin issue you’re wanting to address. Keep in mind that after a chemical peel, the skin will be susceptible to sun exposure. This exposure can lead to sun damage even if sunscreen is applied.

A light chemical peel (also known as a “superficial peel”) removes the outer layer of skin. This procedure can improve the texture of the skin by treating uneven skin tone, dry skin, fine wrinkles, and even acne. With this treatment, results will become more noticeable after repeated treatments.

This method is the most gentle of the chemical peel procedures and requires very minimal “downtime” for recovery. The light peel is often a go-to treatment for those with sensitive or dry skin.

The medium chemical peel removes the outer layer of skin and penetrates into the middle layer of skin. This procedure is effective for treating wrinkles, uneven skin tone, and acne scars by stimulating collagen production and improving skin elasticity. This procedure can possibly require 48 hours of downtime after treatment.

Trichloroacetic acid and glycolic acid are often used for medium chemical peels.

Deep chemical peels are the most intensive treatment, used to penetrate deeper into the middle layer of skin. This deep peeling procedure can be effective for treating deep wrinkles, scars, and precancerous growths on the skin. Because of the intensive nature of this procedure, results will often be noticeable after a single treatment. Most patients experience peeling and inflammation with this procedure, so there will be post-treatment downtime.

How do chemical peels work?

During a chemical peel procedure, a chemical solution is applied to the skin. The solution reacts with the top layers of skin, causing them to peel away. The new skin surface will be smoother and healthier than the old skin that was removed during the procedure.

In some instances, a hair removal treatment such as dermaplaning may be appropriate prior to a chemical peel. Clearing the skin of hair and “peach fuzz” can help the peel be more effective.

Preparing for the treatment

When preparing a client for a chemical peel at Radiant Wellness, we go through a number of steps. First, we cleanse the client’s face using apricot mango cleansing milk. If necessary, we will follow up with a second cleanse using Lychee Willow Bark Deep Clean. We will also take steps to ensure the solution does not come into contact with the client’s hair or eyes.

For the next step, we will use a salicylic acid/lactic acid blend to remove bacteria and any leftover oil. This will allow the peel to penetrate more evenly through the skin. We then apply a recovery mask to areas around the eyes.

The recovery mask ensures that the healing process involving these sensitive areas will not be irritating for our client. Avocado oil is then used to hydrate and protect the areas around the lips and the nose.

Applying the treatment

The chemical peel is applied to the face, neck, and décolletage using an application pattern. This ensures that each part of the treated area will receive an even application of the peel. For example, it’s common to begin the application at the forehead and move down across the face and neck.

The peel is applied using medium pressure and slightly overlapping strokes.

After the treatment

Skin peeling can last anywhere from days to weeks after the procedure. The duration of the peeling will depend on factors such as the client’s age, lifestyle, and skin type.

Clients may notice skin irritations including burning sensations in the treated area of the skin. These irritations will normally recede after a couple of days (for light and medium peels). If you experience post-treatment irritation, a cool compress gently placed over the affected areas should bring relief.

Do chemical peels have side effects?

There are possible side effects associated with chemical peels. It’s recommended that you always consult your physician before undergoing a chemical peel procedure.

Side effects may include:

Inflammation and swelling of the treated area.

Infections including bacterial or fungal infections can emerge post-treatment. To help prevent infection, your physician may recommend that you take an antiviral medication prior to undergoing a chemical peel.

Scarring can occur in rare instances.

Discoloration of the skin is a possible side effect. Hyperpigmentation, a condition where the skin is darker than normal, or hyperpigmentation where the skin is lighter than normal may occur.

Want to know more about chemical peels?

We would love to speak with you to determine if a chemical peel may be the right treatment option for you. To find out more or to schedule your appointment, call us at 479-279-0106 or send us a message here.

At Radiant Wellness we are committed to your total health! We serve clients from Van Buren, Fort Smith, and throughout the River Valley. We are specialists in Pilates, massage therapy, skincare, yoga, and health and wellness coaching. We would love the opportunity to meet you and discuss the many ways Radiant Wellness can help you live life well!

Written by Lance Montgomery

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