Over the years, your skin may have taken a beating due to ultraviolet light exposure, cold and/or dry air, and even just getting older. Now, it may look dry and dull, and you’re probably sporting age spots, fine lines, or even acne scars. There are many anti-aging and beauty treatments to choose from, so how do you know which one’s right for you?
Here at Med Physique Center for Aesthetics in Austin, Texas, our team of expert aestheticians often recommends chemical peels to our clients to address multiple problems successfully. We particularly like The Perfect Peel®, which we use in our office. Not only are peels a minimally invasive way of treating your varied skin problems, but they can be tweaked to meet your specific aesthetic goals. Here’s what you need to know.
How does a chemical peel work?
With a chemical peel, your provider applies an acid solution to the skin; when they neutralize it and wash it off, it also removes the top, damaged layers of skin, as well as dead skin cells and debris. And as the skin peels off, so do the blemishes that form within these layers.
In addition, the process creates a wound in the skin tissue, and your body responds by arming itself to heal the area, including producing collagen.
Collagen is a fibrous protein that gives your skin its strength and suppleness when you’re young, but its production starts to decline in your mid-20s, leading to wrinkles and sags as the support disappears. The chemical peel removes the worn-out collagen cells while triggering a round of new collagen production, allowing your skin to regain its strength. And now it’s blemish-free, too.
When to consider a chemical peel
Chemical peels effectively treat a variety of issues, including:
- Fine lines and wrinkles, even under the eyes and around the mouth
- Uneven skin tone
- Hyperpigmentation from age spots, solar lentigines, and freckles
- Uneven pigmentation from rosacea and melasma
- Acne breakouts: clean debris that clogs pores
- Skin texture: smooth out rough patches, acne scars
- Actinic keratoses: remove dry, crusty, precancerous lesions
There are things chemical peels can’t address, such as deep facial lines; loose, sagging skin; pore size; and deep scars. These require different types of treatments, such as dermal fillers, laser resurfacing, or a brow lift.
Chemical peel strengths
The strength of a chemical peel is determined by how deep the solution goes. The deeper the peel, the more problems it can address, but it also means your recovery time increases. There are three types.
1. Light (superficial) chemical peel
We use glycolic or salicylic acid to remove only the outermost skin layer, known as the epidermis. This type of peel can tackle fine wrinkles, acne, uneven skin tone, and skin dryness. It’s not painful, so you won’t need any type of anesthetic, and you can repeat the treatment every 2-5 weeks, as needed.
2. Medium chemical peel
For a medium peel, we use trichloroacetic acid, sometimes in combination with glycolic acid. It penetrates through the epidermis into the upper dermis layer just below it. It's effective at treating uneven skin tone, and the burst of collagen production it triggers fills deep wrinkles, folds, and acne scars.
Because this peel goes deeper than a light peel, you may require a sedative and/or a painkiller to stay comfortable during the treatment, and you can expect more downtime afterward than for a light peel. You can repeat a medium peel every 6-12 months, as needed.
3. Deep chemical peel
We use a carbolic acid (phenol) solution that penetrates the cells just below the upper dermis layer for a deep chemical peel. These peels effectively treat deep wrinkles and scars and can even remove precancerous growths. A deep peel is invasive, though, so you’ll need a sedative along with a numbing agent, and we give you fluids through an IV to prevent dehydration. Recovery may last a couple of weeks as your skin remodels and replenishes the missing layers. Deep peels can only be done once.
Are chemical peels safe?
While pulling off skin layers may seem a bit drastic, chemical peels have a good track record for treating a variety of aesthetic concerns when administered by a trained professional like the aestheticians at Med Physique Center for Aesthetics.
To learn more about chemical peels or to schedule, give us a call at 512-361-2650 or book a consultation online with us today.