September 14, 2020

Is chemical peeling good for your skin? Chemical peeling is one of the best methods for treating skin conditions. This treatment was started by an Austrian dermatologist named Ferdinard Ritter Von Hebra in the second half of the 19th century. It has been embraced and improved and is now being used across the globe in the 21st century.


What is Chemical Peeling?

Chemical peeling is a technique that involves using a chemical solution on a scar to induce a controlled skin injury. The dead skin peels off, and the wounds that result from this process start to regenerate new skin tissues. A chemical peel typically has a pH of around 2.0.


Benefits of Chemical Peeling

Chemical peeling treatment can help make the skin look and feel smoother and firmer. It can be done on the face, hands, and neck.

You can use the chemical peeling treatment for acne scars, melisma, underarms, wrinkles, brightening the skin tone, and even enhancing the skincare product absorption.

 Here are some of the benefits of chemical peels:

  • Skin rejuvenation
  • Improves skin appearance
  • Reduces freckles, age spots, and dark patches caused by pregnancy
  • Unclogging the skin pores
  • Helps in Exfoliation
  • Eliminates skin discoloration and hyperpigmentation


Different Types of Chemical Peels

There are numerous kinds of chemical peels. They are categorized into three categories depending on how deep they penetrate the skin. They include superficial, medium, and deep peels.

It’s vital to know if the type of peel you want to use is safe for your skin type. Here are the different types of chemical peels:


A.      Alpha hydroxy acid(AHA) peels

This involves using naturally occurring carboxylic acids. They include glycolic, lactic, malic, citric, and tartaric acids.

1.       Glycolic Peel

This is one of the most common kinds of chemical peels. It has a small molecular size and penetrates the deep layers of the skin.

The glycolic peel is ideal for skin rejuvenation and exfoliation of aging skin. Different types of glycolic peels have different strength levels. You can pick the levels depending on your goals or the severity of the area you want to fix.

2.       Lactic Peel

This type of chemical peel is derived from milk. It is perfect for dry and sensitive skin as it helps make ingredients like retinol active. The beauty of using the lactic peel is that it does not cause an adverse reaction on the skin.

3.       Vitalize Peel

This chemical peel contains lactic, citric, and salicylic acids. Also, it includes a layer of retinol that helps improve skin quality and make the pigmentation lighter. It results in very minimal peeling and thus stands as one of the best peel for starters.

B.      Beta hydroxy acid peels

An excellent example of the beta hydroxy acid peels is Salicylic acid. This salicylic is ideal for skin exfoliation, to control oil, and to target the bacteria responsible for acne breakouts. Thus, if you’re looking for a chemical peeling for your acne scars, this is the best deal. It can help both the young and the old.

C.      Retinoic acid peel

This peel targets deeper tissues than the beta peels. It uses retinoic acid to remove wrinkles, scars, and skin pigmentation.


D.      Phenol-croton oil peel

This type of peeling involves the use of phenol-croton oil to cause an exfoliating skin reaction.


How Many Times is the Chemical Peeling Procedure Done?

Chemical peels are applied three to six sessions. For optimal results, it’s recommended that you go for six series at least three weeks apart.

There is minimal to no discomfort, and so anesthesia is not necessary during the chemical peeling procedure. You may feel a slight tingling sensation or some heat on your skin. 

Some peels or acids are neutralized by the dermatologist, while others are self-neutralizing, which means they keep working even after leaving the office.

You will start to notice the peeling in the second or the third day. If you stay well hydrated, the skin will continue to peel up to the 7th or 10th day, and it stops.


What to do Before Getting a Chemical Peeling Treatment

During your consultation, let your doctor know your history of scarring. Some people develop keloids and hypertrophic scars from simple procedures. 

The physician may also ask you to stop using certain drugs and medications such as Renova, Retin-A, and glycolic acid to prepare your skin for the treatment. Then, the doctor may prescribe certain antiviral medicines and antibiotics.

Depending on your skin condition and goals, the doctor will recommend the best type of chemical peeling treatment. Some chemical peels have low downtime, and so you can drive yourself home. In some instances, you may need to arrange for a ride home.

What Happens During the Chemical Peeling Treatment

Chemical peels can be done at the doctor’s office or home. The first step is to clean the skin thoroughly. Then the physician applies the type of chemical peel you’ve agreed. When using a deep chemical peel, the doctor may numb the skin first. The procedure helps peel off the skin letting fresher, new skin beneath to come on top.

You may experience a slight burning sensation that may last for about 5 to 10 minutes and then get a stinging feeling. You’ll be given pain medication to ease such pain.

What happens After the Chemical Peeling Procedure

After the treatment, you may feel some slight discomfort depending on the type of chemical peel used. The skin will then start to peel off, which may make the skin appear reddish. Then, scaling may follow but will clear off after seven or so days.

With medium chemical peels, slight swelling may occur, followed by blisters that later crust and turn brown over time. Then they peel in 10 to 14 days.


Chemical Peeling Side Effects

Even though some DIY home kits exist, it’s recommended that you visit a professional dermatologist for chemical peeling treatment. Chemical peels can cause several complications, including skin scarring and injury- and the deeper the chemical peeling, the more complications. 

Some of the most severe complications include: 

  • Prolonged erythema, 
  • Mild to moderate redness, 
  • Photosensitivity, 
  • Pigmentary changes, 
  • Skin atrophy, milia, 
  • Textural changes.

A few people have also reported that chemical peels left a yellowish tinge on the skin. This is mainly due to the presence of retinol elements in the treatment. This, however, clears after 2 to 3 hours.

What to avoid after a Chemical Peeling Treatment

Chemical peeling treatment aftercare is vital. You need to keep off anything that generates heat for 48 hours. That’s because your skin is still fragile and vulnerable, and exposing it to another heat will make it susceptible to burning. Therefore, you need to wear a sunscreen with a spectrum of SPF of 30 when stepping outside or leaving the house. Also, avoid hot baths and doing rigorous exercises for 48 hours.

You may also need to keep off some harsh cleansers and exfoliants for at least two weeks after the chemical peeling treatment. Do not take some topical medications like Differin, Atralin, and Ziana for at least ten or so days after treatment. When the skin starts to peel off or flake, avoid the urge of picking or scrubbing the skin as you’ll be hurting it.

After chemical peeling treatment, you’ll need to wear bandages for several days on some or all the parts that were being treated.


Chemical Peels At-home

Though most doctors don’t recommend at-home chemical peels, they are home kits in the market today. You can use them daily or monthly, depending on your skin reaction or the peels’ strength. But, it’s good to use the daily ones at least once a week first to see how your skin responds.

When applying chemical peels at home, start by cleaning the affected skin. Then, use the pre-peel solution (if applicable) to get rid of the excess oils from your skin. Follow the instructions given on the product and be keen on the duration you’re supposed to leave it on the skin. 

Though it’s normal to feel a mild tingling, if you let it rest for longer than required, it’s likely to irritate the skin. Besides, you don’t want to burn your skin with the peel. 

After you remove the peel, apply some moisturizer, and remember to use sun protection when going outside or getting sun exposure.

Chemical Peels Cost

The chemical peels cost depends on your skin condition, the peel used, the provider, and the region you’re getting it from. For example, TCA peels may cost around $693, according to ASAPs (American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery). Most insurance companies do not cover cosmetic procedures, and so chemical peels aren't covered by insurance.


Who is an Ideal Candidate for a Chemical Peel?

Chemical peeling treatment is ideal for fair-skinned and light-haired people. For people with darker skin, the results may depend on the scars’ severity, and also it may result in an uneven skin tone.

People with bulges, skin sags, and severe wrinkles do not respond well to this treatment. That means they’ll have to combine it with other cosmetic surgeries like laser therapy for a brow lift, facelift, eyelid lift, and soft tissue filler (fat or collagen). Ask you, dermatologist, for the most suitable type of treatment for your skin or condition.