The use of peels is one of the most popular ways to rejuvenate skin available today. Chemical peels date back to the time of Cleopatra who would take a bath in sour goat’s milk to keep her skin beautiful. She probably did not know that the lactic acid in the milk was helping her to remove dead skin cells.
Chemical acid peels are also known as chemexfoliation or derma-peeling. They are a technique where a chemical solution is applied to the skin which causes blister and peeling. A chemical peel will help improve the appearance of skin because the new skin that is revealed is smoother and has fewer wrinkles. Acid peels can help remove dead skin cells, tighten the skin, make brown and age spots less noticeable and treat skin damaged by sun exposure.
Chemical peels range from light peels to deep peels. Alphahydroxy acids (AHAs) peels are the lightest and can remove fine lines and wrinkles. Trichloroacetic acid peels (TCA chemical peels) are the medium type of peel and can help remove mild acne scars and reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
Phenol acid is the strongest of acid peels and can remove growths on the skin that is caused by sun damage. The can also treat deep acne scars. Since this is a strong acid a procedure is confined to the face as it can cause scarring on other parts of the body.
To help determine the type of peel a person should receive there is a sun-reactive skin scale that is used by dermatologists. Type I skin always burns and never tans. Type II can tan but with difficulty and usually burns. Type III does tan but sometimes burns. Type IV tans easily and rarely burns. Type V skin tone is very easy tanners and very rarely gets a sunburn. Type VI never burns and always gets a tan.
A chemical peel can affect the tone of a person’s skin. People with light skin can expect very little pigment change, but a person with a darker skin tone is at a high risk for hyper or hypo pigmentation.
The type of skin (normal, oily, dry or combination) can determine the type of peel a person should consider. Some of the peels and skin types they will benefit are:
Lactic acid peel is the mildest and works best on dry or oily skin due to the fact that if affect the top layer of the skin only. Alpha Beta Peels also works on the top skin layer and is great for all skin types, even sensitive skin. Glycolic acid, an alphy hydroxyl acid, is slightly more aggressive that lactic acid is good for normal-oily skin types. Salicylic acid which is a beta hydroxyl acid is the perfect peel for oily and acne skin as it loosens blackheads and deep cleans pores. TCA peels are appropriate for all skin types except sensitive skins as it work on the top and middle layer of the skin.
Phenol acid skin peels are best for skin types that have acne or a normal type that has deep wrinkles as it is the strongest acid.
Before a dermatologist will perform a peel on a patient there will be a consultation conducted where a thorough medical evaluation will be performed. This will include asking the patient if they have any cardiac or renal problems. These diseases can influence the choice of what type of peel a person can have. If a patient has a history of cold sores they should be free of any sores before a peel is done. Taking birth control pill or other hormones can affect the way a treatment changes the pigmentation of the skin after the procedure.