What Is a Chemical Peel?

If you wonder what a chemical peel is, be informed that chemical peel is one of the oldest cosmetic procedures known to people.  It has its roots in Greece, Egypt, and Rome.  Appearance-conscious people of even that era also knew how to make the face and other visible parts of the body smoother, younger looking and healthy.  However, how it used to be done, how soon they used to get the results, how better results they were getting, all such things perhaps do not coincide with the results and techniques of today.

Why Do We Need a Chemical Peel

Due to aging, over exposure to the sun, and for other reasons our skin is damaged.  We get wrinkles, fine lines, sun spots, scars, acne and acne scars, hyperpigmentation, etc that negatively affect our appearance.  A chemical peel is considered one of the most effective means to correct many skin flaws or irregularities.  With regular use of chemical peel, our face presents a younger and healthy look, free from many skin flaws.

What Acids are Commonly used for Chemical Peel

We can get chemical peels in three basic categories. Each has its own significance and work differently.  They can be used in varying strengths, which depend on the conditions to be treated and on the experience or skill of the person who is applying the peel.

Acid commonly used in chemical peels are usually derived from fruits, and other naturally occurring substances including milk.  They are usually of very mild nature but acid is acid, and has to be dealt with care.  Common acids used in chemical peels are (they are categories according to their peeling capacity):

Light Peels: Mildest of all the chemical peels, light peeling acids are alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs).  These peels include fruit acid peels, glycolic acid, lactic acid, and salicylic acid.  Like the name, they work more superficially and are much safer to use regularly.

Medium Peels: In this category, trichloroacetic acids, or TCA, are the acids that are used to address the skin abnormalities more deeply.  Unlike the light peels, a certain protocol has to be strictly followed in the treatment. TCA peels have their own significance and capacity to work on the skin.

Deep Peels: As the name suggests, deep peel or phenol peels are the strongest of all three types of peels.  Unlike a light chemical peel, deep peels must only be applied by a professional who is well trained to do so.  While this peel has its own advantages, the side effects and risks associated with deep peel are more and can be serious if the treatment is not done carefully.

How a Chemical Peel is Performed

In a chemical peel procedure, mild acid solution is applied on the target area, usually the face, neck, etc. The acid is left on the skin for a calculated time only, and then it is removed.

The applied acid works on the damaged layer of the skin and exfoliates it just to encourage a new and healthy skin layer to replace the damaged and removed layer. The new skin layer makes the face or skin of the treated area glowing, smooth, evenly pigmented and healthy, free from many skin irregularities.

Risks and Side Effects of a Chemical Peel

Each of the three types of chemical peel has its own risks and side effects, which are mild to even severe.  Depending on the strength used and depending on the type of peel used, the risks and side effects vary.  It is, therefore, highly recommended for a new user of chemical peeling to learn all the necessary details about a chemical peel and seek professional guidance before performing even the light peel.  Chemical peels offer very satisfactory results and many discomforts can be controlled provided you approach the treatment carefully and with knowledge.

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