We all get tired-looking skin from time to time, especially as we get older. But when you want to refresh and your appearance, but don’t have the time or the desire to have plastic surgery, what are your options?
One option is a chemical peel, a type of treatment that aims to revitalize the skin using different types of acids for exfoliation. Although many people choose to have a chemical peel on their face, the treatment also works on the delicate skin of the neck and hands. Understanding what chemical peels do and what your available options are will help you choose the treatment that is best for you.
What Chemical Peels Do
A chemical peel is a type of skin resurfacing treatment. Like laser skin resurfacing, the goal of a chemical peel is to exfoliate the skin, removing dead, dull skin cells. After the old skin cells are sloughed off, or “peeled” away, new cells appear. The new layer of skin is usually smoother and more youthful-looking than the previous layer.
Chemical peels can treat many different skin concerns. They do help to smooth lines and wrinkles, so many people choose to have them as a way to rejuvenate the skin and to create a more youthful appearance.
Chemical peels also help to minimize the appearance of scars, including acne scars, and dark spots. The treatment can help to clear up the skin, enhance patients’ overall complexion, and improve the appearance of acne, as well.
Chemical Peel Strengths
Chemical peels are available in a variety of strengths, sometimes referred to as different “depths.” How deep a peel is refers to how much of the skin it removes. The lightest of peels remove just the top layer of skin. Deeper peels help exfoliate down into the lower layers of the skin and can even stimulate the body’s natural healing processes.
The strength of a chemical peel also determines how much time you’ll need for recovery after treatment. After a light peel, you can usually get back to your regular life and activities within a day or so. Deeper peels usually require significantly more recovery time.
Chemical peel strengths are usually divided into three categories:
- Light peels. Also known as superficial peels or “lunchtime peels,” light chemical peels remove just the epidermis, or outermost layer, of skin. A light peel might contain a single acid or active ingredient, or it might be made from a combination of acids. The goal of a light peel, such as theVitalize Peel, is usually to improve the texture and tone of the skin.
- Medium Peels. A medium strength or medium depth peel exfoliates the epidermis and reaches down into the dermal layer of the skin. It can help to improve the look of deeper wrinkles and lines compared to a light peel. Medium-depth peels, such as the VI Peel, can also treat scars and dark spots.
- Deep peels. A deep chemical peel exfoliates the epidermis and reaches down into the lower layer of the dermis. It’s the strongest type of peel and usually requires a lengthy recovery period after treatment. While it’s usually recommended that you repeat light or medium-depth peels on a consistent basis to maintain results, a deep peel is usually a one-and-done treatment.
Chemical Peel Ingredients
The active ingredients in a chemical peel usually contain at least one type of acid. Some peels use a combination of acids to get the best results. A few common ingredients are:
- Alpha hydroxy acids (AHA). AHAs are among the mildest acids used in chemical peels. They include lactic acid, citric acid, and glycolic acid.
- Beta hydroxy acids (BHA). BHAs include familiar ingredients such as salicylic acid. Like AHAs, they are relatively mild but are known for being slightly more effective for “deep cleaning” the skin compared to AHAs. Some peels will feature a combination of BHAs and AHAs.
- Retinoic acid. Retinoic acid comes from Vitamin A and is often found in medium-depth peels, as well as some superficial peels.
- Trichloroacetic Acid (TCA). TCA is one of the most commonly used ingredients in medium-depth peels. It can be used on its own at a relatively high concentration for effective peeling but is also often combined with milder ingredients, such as AHA and BHA and used in a lower concentration.
- Phenol/Carbolic Acid. Phenol is the strongest ingredient used in chemical peels. Depending on the concentration, it might be the sole ingredient used in a deep chemical peel. Lower strength concentrations of Phenol might be used in combination with other ingredients in medium or light peels.
Tips for Choosing the Right Chemical Peel
Which peel is right for you? It depends on the type of results you want and how much time you have to devote to the treatment and recovery.
If your time is very limited, a Vitalize Peel, which takes just 15 minutes in the office and lets you get back to school or work right away, might be your best bet. The VI Peel also takes just a few minutes and has little to no recovery time afterward.
A deeper peel might be a better pick for you if you have more time to devote to recovery and are looking for more dramatic results. Deep peels can require several days to a week’s worth of recovery, but also provide longer-lasting results.
Mirror Mirror Beauty Boutique in Houston, Texas, offers two types of chemical peel: The Vitalize Peel and the VI Peel. To learn more about each option, call 281-810-9083 to schedule a consultation today.