Supermodels say that the recipe for flawless healthy skin is peace of mind and 7 litres of water per day. But we both know that’s a lie. You can’t just wish those unclogged pores away; you have to fight them. That’s where chemical peels come in.
As opposed to physical peels and exfoliators, chemical peels are products containing active ingredients that gently remove dead skin cells, revealing newer, brighter, and firmer skin underneath.
Chemical peeling is great therapy for skin with acne and it doubles as a preventive measure for acne-prone skin. This is because the ‘’peeling’’ action wipes away dead skin cells and dirt that tends to clog pores and cause inflammation.
Before you dive ahead into improving your general skin health by using chemical peels, here are a few things you need to know;
What are Chemical Peels?
According to beauty experts, a chemical peel is an acid solution used in cosmetics to cause a controlled degree of injury to the skin surface during the process removing dead skin cells, oil and dirt, leaving your skin feeling new and tight.
In reality, a chemical peel does not involve any peeling motion. What it does instead is that it exfoliates your skin with acids such as salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and lactic acid. After application, they can be washed off with cool water.
The action is experienced on a cellular level, so there is no real physical injury to your skin.
What are they used for?
People go for chemical peels for a lot of reasons. Here are a few;
- To treat acne scars
- To reduce the size of your pores
- To reduce wrinkling and fine lines around the eyes and mouth
- To treat hyperpigmentation
- For sunburns and melasma
- To lighten dark spots
- To fight blackheads
- To improve overall skin texture
Types of Chemical Peels
There are generally three kinds of chemical peels based on intensity;
- Light peel,
- Medium peel
- and deep peels.
The choice of a peeling method depends on your skin needs. For basic skin maintenance, a light peel will do. For smoother and better skin texture, a medium peel will do. When it comes to scars and acne, a deep peel is advised.
Light peels may be achieved at home, but for the more intense medium and deep peels, it is wiser to book an appointment with your dermatologist to prevent harming your skin.
At-Home Peels vs Professional peels
While you could buy a peel pad from the store and do the work yourself, it usually is more relaxing to get a peel done at a spa, or with a doctor. Not only are they better at it, they usually incorporate some forms of massage or aftercare tips.
Preparing for a Chemical Peel
Before your chemical peel, it is important to not make any drastic changes to your skincare routine, as this may throw off your skin’s balance. However, reduce the frequency of exfoliation, especially if you use a physical exfoliator.
Since you’ll be applying acids to your skin, stay away from any bleaching products, including hair dyes and bleaches. Also, avoid waxing and depilating products.
Ensure that you share your routine with your cosmetologist or dermatologist.
What to expect during a peel?
While chemical peels are not associated with physical pulling on your skin, the acids cause a burning or stinging sensation on the skin. Often, you may need to be sedated before the procedure begins. At other times, the pain may be eased by a cold compress or proper air conditioning.
As a result, you may not be able to drive yourself home. Make arrangements after consulting your doctor.
Pros vs Cons
As expected, after a peel, your skin will feel soft and supple. On the downside, you will experience redness that lasts a period ranging from a few days to a whole month. During this period, it is crucial to keep the skin moisturised and protect it from the sun with a hydrating sunscreen. Your new skin will need a few weeks of pampering before your results start to show.
Other more serious side effects include;
- facial swelling
- dark or light patches on the skin
- infections from injury, especially for people with Herpes simplex
However, these side effects are rare and can be avoided by patch testing with a patch of skin before a peel.
Finally, when it comes to healing your skin, remember that these things take time. Be patient with it, spend time nurturing it, and watch it blossom into the skin you’ve always dreamt of.