Have too many acne marks?
Did someone comment on how 'old' you looked?
Have to go to party?
Or are you getting married?
Is a chemical peel the only solution to all of the above?
Unfortunately, the answer is no. Of late, I have seen a lot of people resorting to peels because it's apparently the latest trend. The market has painted this as a anytime, anywhere, done by anybody type of procedure... and the market doesn't stop there. They claim that it a quick fix solution to any skin problem.
So, here is what you need to know about peels:
What is it?
A Chemical Peel is a medical procedure
Not a ‘cosmetic procedure’. What’s the difference? Have you heard of a beautician performing face lift ‘surgery’? Similarly, if you hear a beautician performing a chemical peel you know in which direction you need to run... the opposite!
What are the types?
Chemical peels can be of 3 types:
- Superficial: Where only the Epidermis is targeted
- Medium Depth: The Epidermis + Papillary Dermis is targeted
- Deep: Where the peel reaches the Reticular Dermis
You didn’t know it was this complicated? So, do you think that a non-medical personnel would know? Stick to getting your done from a dermatologist only!
What are the indications for a peel?
- Post Acne Pigmentation
- Acne Scars
- Melasma (Mask of Pregnancy)
- Crinkles and Fine Wrinkles
- Dull and Sallow Skin
- Sun damaged Skin
What are the precautions that you need to take?
- Protect yourself from the sun
Especially the first 7 days, where new skin is forming, are crucial for the peel to give you good results. Sunscreens or better yet thick scarves or umbrellas work well. And please don’t be fooled by the rains. A peel in this season also warrants the use of a sunscreen. Even though we don’t see the sun, the ultraviolet rays pass through the clouds and this can cause post inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH).
- Limit washing of your face to the minimum
The skin, after a peel, tends to get dry. Even though you might not ‘see’ the skin peeling with your naked eye, it is ‘microscopically’ peeling. Washing your face with (even with plain water) can ruin this healing process and not give you the outcome that you desired.
- Do not bleach
We have a ‘No Bleach Rule’ 7 days before and 7 days after a peel. Why? Because a bleach also acts like a very superficial peel and after a bleach the skin is raw (you can’t see the rawness) and is injured. If you top such a skin off with a peel, then you are bound to get a rash! Plus, informing your dermatologist that you have done a bleach or a facial before you get a peel done is important. That gives the dermatologist a perspective on what peel needs to be done.
- Going for a facial
I have so many patients asking me whether they could do a facial post a peel. NO! You shouldn’t. A peel is like a facial minus the massaging! You want a massage... get yourself a back or neck rub. Do not let anyone touch your face. And honestly, a peel gives you a far better outcome than a facial massage could ever give.
What are the results expected post a peel
- A peel isn’t magic! So don’t expect a drastic change in the nature of your skin in just a single session. Multiple sessions are needed depending on the skin type and the skin problem. So if anyone is claiming ‘magical results in 1 session’ be aware.
- Even though we use the word peel, the skin doesn’t literally peel off. What we try and induce is peeling at a microscopic level. But there are exceptions. The deep peels and at times the medium depth peels produce ‘visible peeling’. So ask your dermatologist what peel is going to be used so that you are aware of what is to come in the 7 days post the peel.
A very important thing that you also need to remember is that, although chemical peels if done by the right person using the right products can give great results, they are only adjutant treatments. They work the best with creams and lotions prescribed by the dermatologist.
So don't go hopping into a 'salon' or a 'beauty parlour' for a peel no matter what they claim! Remember, it's your skin that is going to be at risk!