Chemical skin peel is one of the most popular non-surgical methods of skin rejuvenation. “Chemical” is usually associated with something artificial, not natural but it’s wrong.
In fact, these peels are among the most gentle and at the same time effective treatments.
Chemical peeling is performed due to the interaction of the epidermis and active substances. These substances affect surface and middle layers of the skin with various chemical agents.
Most common used are ORGANIC acids:
For a superficial peel – fruit acids: glycolic, gluconic, lactic, pyruvic, phytic.
For medium and deep peels – trichloroacetic acid.
The impact of the acid on the surface and middle layers of the skin provides a uniform exfoliation of several layers of dead skin cells. This stimulates the synthesis of collagen and elastin, which results in young cells appearance and general skin rejuvenation.
Skin structure and the peel
Our skin consists of three main layers: epidermis (the outer skin layer), dermis, and fatty layer (also called the subcutaneous layer).
The epidermis consists mostly of keratinocytes which originate from basal membrane cells. Forming in the basal layer, keratinocytes migrate to the superficial layers of the skin during the time of their life and finally they become the dead cells (keratin flakes) and shed from the skin surface being replaced by new younger cells.
As we said above, superficial, medium and deep skin peels are used for cosmetological purposes.
Surface peel is performed at the level of the stratum corneum (the outermost layer of epidermis), the middle – at the level of the epidermis, deep – at the basal membrane level (the border between the epidermis and dermis).
Chemical peels usually contain natural acids which are derived from fruits or milk and help to dissolve the “glue” between skin surface and dead cells layer.
What acids are the most effective
• AHA – Alpha Hydroxy Acids – such acids as Lactic acid (derived from sour milk), Malic acid (derived from apples), Glycolic acid (from sugar cane) and Tartaric acid (from grapes). To be the most effective an exfoliator should contain about 5-20% of AHA and it’s pH should be 3-4, after pH level of 4.5 the effectiveness of AHAs declines.
• BHA – Beta Hydroxy Acids – usually it is salicylic acid (derived from sweet birch). BHA in contrast to AHA is oil soluble. Skin peel should contain 1-2% of BHA and have a Ph about 3.
Glycolic and lactic AHA products are the most common used chemical skin peels because they quite easily move away dead cells and also can stimulate collagen production in the skin and remove such imperfections as pigmental spots and fine lines when are used in higher concentrations.
It’s better to use AHA peel to treat normal to dry skin type, thick skin and sun damaged skin. Since BHA is oil soluble, it’s best suited to oily type skin, acne type skin and skin with blackheads and blemishes. Using your AHA and BHA peels make sure they don’t irritate your skin too much and try not to use them more often than 2-3 times a week.
Chemical peel is a cosmetic procedure which applies chemical solutions to the skin in order to correct its appearance and health. During the procedure the outer layer of skin is removed with the help of these chemical solutions.
The solutions used in the peels can include phenol, trichloroacetic acid (TCA), alphahydroxy acids (AHAs) and betahydroxy acids (BHA).
Immediately before the procedure, the skin is cleansed with special solutions for degreasing and normalization of pH. Acid solution is evenly applied to the skin for a few minutes and followed by neutralizer solution. After the procedure moisturizer is applied.
Chemical skin peel can be used in order to remove such skin imperfections as:
• Facial flaws
• Fine lines
• Clogged pores
• Unequal skin pigmentation
Such peel also stimulates collagen production and cell renewal.
The type of skin peel and solutions used to exfoliate the skin are usually chosen according to the individual characteristics of the skin and the needs and expectations of the person.
The peels can be superficial, middle or deep. Gentle superficial exfoliation is recommended for wrinkles prevention, smoothing skin surface, post-acne removal, skin toning and elasticity promotion. Medium peels are used to correct wrinkles, scars, enlarged pores and stretch marks. Deep peeling removes deep wrinkles, age spots, scars corrects, possesses lifting effect.
• AHAs. Alphahydroxy acids (AHAs) are used in superficial peels. These peels can include such solutions as glycolic (derived from sugar cane), lactic (derived from sour milk), or fruit acids.
AHAs can help to make skin smoother and younger, diminish fine lines, treat acne and unequal pigmentation and almost don’t require recovery time.
AHAs usually are applied in the series of treatments to achieve the best results. AHA peels can be used weekly or at longer periods of the time, depending on the type and state of the skin as well as the concentration as the acids in the product. In mild concentrations it can be used daily as the part of facial skin care products.
• BHAs. Beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) are the simple organic fruit acids. These acids can be derived from the fruits or synthesized. BHAs are closely related to the AHAs, but differ a bit in their structure and action. BHA in contrast to AHA is oil soluble.
The most common used BHA is salicylic acid. BHA peel is the best for acne treatment, oily skin treatment, sun damaged skin and pigmentary disturbances.
• TCA. Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) peel is a medium-depth peeling procedure.
TCA peels can be applied in order to remove thin wrinkles, small facial flaws, stretch marks and improve skin pigmentation. This type of peels is the best suited for people with dark skin.
TCA peels usually are applied in the series of procedures to achieve the best result.
TCA peels almost don’t need a recovery time, but sunscreen and moisturizer are needed after the procedure.
• Phenol peels. Phenol skin peel is the deepest chemical peeling and the most powerful one.
Phenol peels are the best of the chemical skin peels in treating facial lines, scars, stretch marks and skin blots caused by sun and other factors.
Phenol peels provide long-lasting effects, but may cause appearance of lightening areas, so it is the best suitable peel for light-skinned people. Phenol peels are used only once and need the recovery time up to two month.
There are several contraindications for chemical peels – fresh sunburn, herpes in the active phase, deep pigmented lesions, dark skin color, individual intolerance, tendency to form keloids. The most frequent side effect is pigment spots appearance. Therefore, these procedures are carried out when the sun is least active.
All these peels should be used after your skin has been cleaned and dried and should always be followed by moisturizer and sunscreen.