A chemical peel is a body treatment technique used to improve and smooth the texture of the facial skin using a chemical solution that causes the dead skin to slough off and eventually peel off. The popularity of chemical peels took a back seat for a period time when lasers were becoming the accepted method for treating wrinkles. In balance, depending on the amount of wrinkling present and desired results, chemical peels can play a significant role in skin resurfacing.
Peels take about 10 minutes to perform. For a noticeable result, usually 4-8 sessions are recommended at 2 weeks interval.
There are several types of chemical peels:
Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are naturally occurring carboxylic acids such as glycolic acid, a natural constituent of sugar cane juice and lactic acid, found in sour milk and tomato juice. This is the mildest of the peel formulas and produces light peels for treatment of fine wrinkles, areas of dryness, uneven pigmentation and acne. AHA peels may take multiple treatments for desired results.
It is becoming common for beta hydroxy acid (BHA) peels to be used instead of the stronger alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) peels due to BHA's ability to get deeper into the pore than AHA. Studies show that BHA peels control sebum excretion, acne as well as remove dead skin cells to a certain extent better than AHAs due to AHAs only working on the surface of the skin.
Jessner's peel solution combines 14% salicylic acid, lactic acid, andresorcinol in an ethanol base. It is thought to break intracellular bridges between keratinocytes. It is very difficult to "overpeel" the skin due to the mild percentages associated with the acid combination.
Retinoic acid is derived from retinoids. This type of facial peel is a deeper peel than the beta hydroxy acid peel and is used to remove scars as well as wrinkles and pigmentation problems. It is usually performed in conjunction with a Jessner; which is performed right before, in order to open up the skin. The client leaves with the chemical peel solution on their face. The peeling process takes place on the third day. More dramatic changes to the skin require multiple peels over time.
Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) is used as an intermediate to deep peeling agent in concentrations ranging from 20-50%. Trichloroacetic acid peels are preferred for darker-skinned patients over Phenol, smooth out fine surface wrinkles, remove superficial blemishes and correct skin pigment problems.
Phenol is the strongest of the chemical solutions and produces a deep skin peel. A single treatment usually achieves the desired result. Phenol peels are used to correct blotches caused by sun exposure or aging, smooth out coarse deep wrinkles and remove precancerous growths.