What is a chemical peel?
A chemical peel is a cosmetic treatment that involves applying a chemical solution to the skin to exfoliate the outer and/or mid layers of skin, removing dead cells and promoting the growth of new, healthy skin.
How can chemical peels benefit the skin?
Chemical peels improve skin texture and tone, decreasing fine lines and wrinkles and reducing hyperpigmentation (like age spots and melasma), a dull complexion and pore size. Chemical peels also target acne by unclogging pores and calming irritation and redness.
What kind of chemical peels are there?
Chemical peels can vary in intensity and are classified as superficial, medium-depth, or deep, depending on the type of ingredients used, their concentrations and the pH of the formulation.
What ingredients are in chemical peels?
Some common peeling ingredients include alpha hydroxy acids (AHA), beta hydroxy acids (BHA), trichloroacetic acid (TCA) and retinol.
Alpha hydroxy acids include:
glycolic acid (originally from sugar cane)
lactic acid (originally from milk)
malic acid (originally from apples and pears)
tartaric acid (originally from grapes)
mandelic acid (originally from bitter almonds)
Salicylic acid (related to aspirin) is the only beta hydroxy acid (typically used for acne treatments).
Peels will vary in their ingredients. Certain ingredients may be more effective for treating acne, while others may be more successful in treating hyperpigmentation or the signs of aging.
On what areas of the body are chemical peels used?
Chemical peels are typically performed on the face, but the neck, chest, back and hands can also be treated, clearing congestion and hyperpigmentation related concerns.
What happens during a chemical peel?
During a chemical peel treatment, the skin is cleansed, and the chemical solution is applied to the skin in layers. The solution is left on the skin for a specific amount of time, depending on the depth of peel being performed and your tolerance to the sensation. After the desired amount of time has passed, the peel is neutralized with other solutions. Anti-aging, antioxidant and brightening booster ingredients are applied post-peel to maximize the benefits.
What can I expect after a chemical peel?
After the peel, it is important to note that the skin may be red and sensitive and may peel for several days to a week. Avoiding direct sunlight and wearing sunscreen to protect the new skin is important. Holding off on any strenuous activity or heat for 48 hours is a good idea, as sweating can aggravate the skin. Avoid other forms of exfoliation (waxing, threading, etc) for a week following and the use of AHA/BHA/retinols for 2 weeks following your peel.
We provide our clients with a complimentary 3-piece aftercare kit (that has a cleanser, moisturizer and sunscreen) to further enhance the results of the professional procedure. Post-treatment products minimize complications, soothe the skin and maintain the results.
How often should chemical peels be done?
While this will vary based on the peel strength and depth, peels can be done every 1-3 months on average. It is recommended that superficial and medium depth chemical peels are performed regularly in order to obtain progressive and gradual results, and to avoid the side effects and downtime associated with deeper peels (pigment changes secondary to trauma, discomfort, infections, scars).
How do I prepare for my chemical peel?
To gain the most out of your chemical peel, it is essential to prepare your skin in advance. This includes avoiding direct sunlight and tanning beds for at least two weeks before the treatment, avoiding any products containing retinoids or high levels of AHA/BHA for at least one week, and stopping acne medication, such as Accutane, for at least six months before the treatment.
Certain cosmetic treatments should be performed at a minimum time before your peel:
Facials and IPL treatments (1 week in advance)
Microdermabrasion and laser treatments (4 weeks in advance)
Facial shaving/dermaplaning (24 hours in advance)
Another great way to prepare for a chemical peel is by preconditioning the skin with select home care products, which can help accelerate results and minimize side effects and complications. This is particularly important for Fitzpatrick skin types 4-6 (those with melanin rich skin).
AlumierMD has three different 'Prep & Enhance’ kits that can be started 2-6 weeks prior to the chemical peel for best results. Click the image below for more details and to purchase.
Who is not a candidate for a chemical peel?
Chemical peels may not be suitable for everyone, so be sure to reach out for consultation to determine if a chemical peel would work well for your specific skin concerns.
Here are some common contraindications:
Pregnancy or breastfeeding
Contagious skin condition or infections in the area
Skin cancer or radiation therapy in the last year
Broken skin in the area (wounds, rashes, blisters, cold sores, active acne, pustule rosacea, eczema, psoriasis or severe solar keratosis)
Allergy to Aspirin (ASA) / salicylic acid
The positives of chemical peels
With having brighter, smoother, and more youthful-looking skin comes a boost in self confidence. Feeling good about your appearance can positively impact your mental health and overall well-being. While a single chemical peel can immediately brighten and tighten the skin, treating deeper textural issues or acne inflammation may take several treatments and loyalty to the appropriate home skin care regimen. Remember, beautiful skin doesn't happen overnight, but the payoff will be well worth it!
Our clients love the results they see with our AlumierMD Chemical Peels. Book your appointment today and get fresh, radiant skin!