An acid and chemical peel is a treatment in which an acid solution is used to remove the damaged outer layers of the skin.
Typically administered as a facial peel, a peel enhances and smoothes the texture of the skin. It is an effective treatment for facial blemishes, wrinkles, and uneven skin pigmentation. They exfoliate the outer layers of dead skin, revealing a new skin layer with improved tone, texture, and color. In addition to full facial rejuvenation, certain types of skin peels can also be used for spot treatments and as a way to remove stretch marks or rejuvenate skin elsewhere on the body.
The peel resurfacing is one of the oldest cosmetic procedures in the world, and was performed in ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome to help people achieve smoother, more beautiful skin. Today, facial peels are popular because they offer nearly immediate results and can be performed as an outpatient procedure.
Light Acid Peels
Your Esthetician will use a specific formula for your chemical peel based on the characteristics of your skin and your desired result. Light chemical peels are used to treat fine wrinkling, areas of dryness, uneven pigmentation, and acne. The solution used for light peels is usually comprised of alphahydroxy acids (AHAs), such as glycolic, lactic, salicylic, mandelic or fruit acids. Light acid peels are ideal for people who want the benefits of a facial peel but do not wish to spend the time required to recover from a deeper peel.
Medium Chemical Peels
For medium facial peels, we use trichloroacetic acid (TCA). This chemical works well for treating fine surface wrinkles, superficial blemishes, and pigmentation problems. Similar to the light peel, medium chemical peels require less downtime than a deeper peel. TCA peels are the preferred choice for patients with darker skin.
In general, patients with fair skin and light hair are the best peel candidates. However, patients with other skin pigmentation and hair color can achieve good results as well. Ideal candidates for the chemical peel procedure are individuals who are unhappy with the appearance of their skin, have realistic expectations of their procedure, and do not smoke.
An ideal candidate for a peel is in good physical health, understands the procedure, and has realistic expectations of the outcome. You are likely to be pleased with the results of a chemical peel if your goal is to alleviate acne, smooth wrinkles, improve skin texture, eliminate age spots, or reduce the effects of sun damage. The different types of chemical peels come in varying strengths and provide different levels of treatment.
Patients are urged not to smoke for a few weeks before and after a peel. The best outcomes will be achieved in patients who are not taking the acne medication Accutane®, have not taken it for the previous year and a half, and who are free of active skin infections. Also, if you have large or unusual scar formations, such as keloids, your doctor may recommend a different treatment for you.
Peels vs. Microdermabrasion
With the ever-broadening range of skin refining techniques available today, it is understandable that consumers often feel confused as to which technique will best meet their needs. Patients commonly wonder about the respective benefits of chemical peels and microdermabrasion.
The most salient difference between chemical peels and microdermabrasion is that microdermabrasion is a non-chemical procedure, and attacks imperfections by actually "sanding" flaws from the skin surface. While treatment plans for microdermabrasion and mild acid peels such as glycolic acid peels are similar, more advanced chemical peels require only one session and skin preparation time.