Heard of chemical peels as a one-stop solution for your skin woes? A chemical peel is a procedure that uses a solution that is applied to the skin to remove the dead skin cells and stimulate the production of new skin cells allowing a smoother, glowing, and evenly coloured new skin.

Chemical peels can dramatically change the look and feel of your skin face in a safe, and positive way. It is a treatment available to people of all ages, suitable for all skin types (light to dark skin) and can be performed on any part of the body. However, it is especially used for the skin on the face, neck, and hands.

Every day thousands of your skin cells die, flake off, and are replaced by fresh new cells. As you age, your skin may become dull and lifeless. The skin colour may become darker, it may become patchy, and signs of ageing begin to appear. Chemical peels can provide fresher and younger-looking skin.

Read on to understand it better.

What Are The Types of Chemical Peel?

This depends on your skin type and the results you want. There are 3 types, namely:

1. Superficial Peels: It uses glycolic acid and is the mildest form of treatment available. This kind of peel improves fine wrinkles, mild sun damage, pigment changes in the skin, and acne scars as the superficial layer of skin is peeled off.

2. Medium Peels: Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) is the main peeling agent used for medium peels. These peels are recommended if you have mild to moderate wrinkles, more dramatic long-term sun damage, heavier pigment changes, or precancerous lesions of the skin caused by that long-term sun damage. Medium peels are generally used for skin in the facial region.

3. Deep Peels: It utilises a chemical called phenol to penetrate the skin’s deepest level. This kind of skin peel is used if you have severe wrinkles, lesions/growths on the skin, long-term sun damage, or prominent pigment changes. This type of peel bleaches your skin and is recommended only on the face and if you have a darker skin tone.

What Are The Benefits of Chemical peels?

In terms of benefits, chemical peels can: 

  • Reduce the formation of new pimples, remove stubborn blackheads and whiteheads, remove pimple marks, and regularise the oiliness of the skin.

  • Reduce freckles, sun spots, age spots, liver spots, blemishes, brown blotches, melasma (dark patches due to pregnancy) 

  • Lighten dark underarms and under-eye circles.

  • Take a few years off your face with the reduction of fine lines, sun damage, and dull, weathered skin. 

  • Re-texturise the skin and restore radiance and youthful appearance.

  • Reduce dark spots or blotches caused by birth control pills.

How is it Done?

The chemical peel procedure consists of the following steps: 

1. Cleansing the skin to remove dirt and sebum.

2. Applying the peel solution (you might experience a little warm, hot, tingling, or stinging sensation).

3. Neutralising the solution and removing excess solution.

4. Applying products containing sunscreen and skin lightening and repair properties.

Chemical peel treatment (on the face) sessions usually last about 25 to 45 minutes. A mild peel only tingles on application or maybe a little irritating, whereas a medium/deep peel burns for a few minutes on application.

What to Expect After the Procedure?

No matter what type of chemical peel you undergo, your skin will be red, tight, irritated or swollen. Follow your dermatologist's instructions for sun protection, cleansing, moisturising, and applying protective ointments to your skin. You should avoid picking, rubbing, or scratching your skin. It may take a few months to see the full results of the procedure and for your skin to return to normal. 

When Are Chemical Peels Not Advisable?

If you have the following you may not be a suitable candidate for a chemical peel:

  • You are pregnant or lactating.

  • You have a history of sun allergies.

  • You have keloid or hypertrophic scars, facial warts, old sores, fever blisters/hepatitis, or HIV infections.

  • You had a prior experience of a bad reaction to a peel.

  • You are undergoing radiation treatment for cancer or cryosurgery, a month prior to the area that is to be treated.

Remember, there is no such thing as a quick fix. Continued treatment is normal in order to achieve the results you desire. If you want youthful, unblemished skin, and want to reduce skin damage, then chemical peels can be your answer. 

Talk to your dermatologist and understand the appropriate chemical peel depending on your concerns and skin type.

Disclaimer: This article is written by the Practitioner for informational and educational purposes only. The content presented on this page should not be considered as a substitute for medical expertise. Please "DO NOT SELF-MEDICATE" and seek professional help regarding any health conditions or concerns. Practo will not be responsible for any act or omission arising from the interpretation of the content present on this page.