Myths about Chemical Peeling

Chemical skin peels are one of the most effective ways to treat signs of ageing, discolouration, and UV damage. Commonly used for the face, chemical peels can also be used on the body such as the neck and hands. They can be used to correct and reduce conditions such as a damaged skin surface, pigmentation, uneven texture, lines, and wrinkles. They can not only reverse these skin problems but also increase the overall health of the skin.

Chemical Peels go beyond exfoliation creating a skin injury of a specific depth with the goal of stimulating skin cell renewal, collagen production and improving and correcting a wide range of skin disorders.

Each treatment helps to achieve a specific skincare goal for every patient’s skin condition, lifestyle and skin health objective.

When used for the appropriate indication and with proper technique, nearly all peeling agents have demonstrated excellent clinical efficacy and remain an indispensable cost-effective tool in the dermatologist’s aesthetic toolbox. Keywords: Chemical peel, Peel, Glycolic, Trichloroacetic acid, Phenol, Glogau, Aging, Photoaging, Wrinkles, Lentigo, RhytidesChemo-exfoliation, often referred to as chemical peeling, is a method of targeted cutaneous resurfacing induced by specific caustic agents (such as AHA’s)Alpha Hydroxy Acids) or BHA’s (beta hydroxy Acids), that allows for a rapid, predictable, and uniform thickness of chemo exfoliation to a given desired cutaneous depth, signalling an increase in cellular growth, fibroblast proliferation and collagen production leading to new collagen deposition in the dermis which ultimately results in an improvement in the clinical appearance of skin.

The exfoliative effects of the chemical peels stimulate new epidermal growth with more evenly distributed melanin and collagen deposition

Chemical Peels have come a long way since they were first introduced to clinics in the ‘90s. The goal now isn’t so much to cause visible peeling as it is to infuse the skin with ingredients that diminish lines, build collagen and improve overall skin tone. Still, there is a lot of misinformation and chemical peel myths out there, so read on to separate the facts from fiction – and learn how chemical peels can help your skin make a radical comeback.

So here are the common myths associated with chemical skin peeling:

Myth 1: Chemical peels hurt

When chemical peels were first popular, they did cause a degree of pain and discomfort and left the skin raw and susceptible to infection. But, 30 years on, acid formulas have been refined, and so have approaches to using them.

These days, whilst chemical peels may cause some tingling, tightness or a change in temperature when used in the right hands, this is controlled, pain-free and patients can continue their usual daily activities afterwards

Myth 2: You have to hide your face after a chemical peel

Forget shedding like a snake and think more along the lines of skincare acids – like glycolic, salicylic and mandelic – that we’ve been using in our daily skincare regimes for years. Chemical peels are formulated with a combination of these acids to provide an enhanced form of exfoliation which goes one step further than any at-home scrub, cleanser or acid-based toner to boost cell renewal whilst also maximising the benefits of your usual skincare products.

Chemical peels provide controlled penetration throughout the epidermis to detoxify, soothe and hydrate so your skin won’t be red or uncomfortable when you leave the treatment couch.

Myth 3: You only need one chemical peel to see results

Chemical peels are always more effective when a course of treatments is performed. While a patient is likely to see results after their initial treatment, a course of treatments is guaranteed to provide more robust, longer-lasting results. Usually, a series of 4-6 treatments spaced four weeks apart is a typical treatment plan for most skin concerns.

Myth 4: It only works if your skin physically flakes and peels off

To be considered an effective treatment your skin does not need to visibly peel. In fact, depending on the condition of your skin, most mild to moderate formulas result in very mild flaking at most.

The aim of a chemical peeling treatment is to gently loosen and lift away the surface dead cells

 As that topmost layer is shed, it triggers a chain reaction of events within the skin that sends signals to the cells below to proliferate stimulating skin cell turnover whilst stimulating collagen production, hydration levels and radiance levels.

The net result? Skin that is smoother, brighter, and more receptive. Products also perform better as there are no dead skin cells impeding their penetration.

Myth 5: All chemical peels are the same

Chemical peels are not a one-size-fits-all treatment. Your practitioner will tailor your peel to your individual skin type and concerns.

Chemical peels rejuvenate the skin by weakening the bonds between the cells and delaminating (separating into constituent layers) and lifting the keratin layer of dead skin cells that sit on the skin’s epidermal surface. They are designed to introduce a controlled injury to the skin to a specific depth and initiate the skin’s own natural healing response.

Chemical peels come in a variety of strengths, each catering to a different skincare concern, from acne to dullness, to pigmentation.

Types of Peels

There are three basic levels of intensity when it comes to peels; superficial, medium, and deep. The intensity of the peel selected is determined by the condition to be treated and its severity, the degree of improvement required, the acceptable amount of downtime and the skin’s tolerance. However, more recently, superficial formulations are the peel of choice, having less downtime, causing less irritation, their visible effects and affordability.

Superficial peels

These peels only penetrate and gently exfoliate the outer layer of skin (the epidermis). It’s suitable for mild skin discolouration, and rough skin and for general skin rejuvenation. The skin may feel tight for a couple of hours afterwards but will return to normal following this. However, due to the mildness of this peel, regular treatment is needed to maintain its effects. 

Medium peels

This peel can penetrate the outer and middle layers of skin to remove damaged skin cells. This type of peel can be used to improve skin pigmentation such as freckles and age spots in addition to moderate skin discolouration, fine lines and wrinkles. It also can be used to smooth rough skin and treat skin growths such as actinic keratosis.

With a medium-intensity peel, a slight stinging sensation may be experienced when the peel is applied and the skin may also go slightly brown or red in the days following the treatment and can take up to 6 weeks to return to normal. Although, they are only recommended every 6 – 12 months to maintain their benefits.

Deep peels

This level of intensity is the most aggressive treatment that targets the deeper layers of the skin. results are more dramatic as it can help remove tougher skin problems such as melasma, deeper wrinkles and scars. However, this peel can cause some discomfort, visible peeling for a few days, swelling can last up to 2 weeks, whilst skin redness can take up to 3 months to diminish. However, it all depends on the individual and your skin’s level of tolerance. For these reasons, deep peels have by and large fallen out of favour, with people opting for more progressive, gentler yet still effective superficial peels with no downtime.

Peels can also be used as red-carpet treatments to give skin an instant glow

Please note – sunscreen must be worn post-treatment and additional post-care will be advised

We have a range of peels available at KAST Medical Aesthetics in addition to HydraFacial. Contact us today or book a consultation here.

We also provide training on Chemical Peeling in the KAST Academy, more information here.