The beauty industry is booming and there are a lot of products and procedures that promise improvement in areas such as anti-aging, acne, sun damage and scarring. Chemical Peels are widely talked about, but not entirely understood by the average consumer.
“I get questions quite often on what is the difference between types of peels, what are the benefits, does it hurt, and how long the downtime will be,” says Shannon Liberty, owner of Shannon’s Serendipity Skincare. “A chemical peel consists of a solution applied to the skin to exfoliate the top layers. The desired effect after the healing process is fresh, healthy skin that has a radiant glow.”
According to Liberty, the speed and depth of exfoliation depend on the specific acid used, the concentration of the solution, its acidity or pH level, and the amount of time it is left on the skin.
Most widely used chemical peels in the spa setting are Categories 1 and 2. Here’s what that means:
Category 1: light depth peels remove only the top layer of dead skin. There isn’t any pain but may experience a slight tingling sensation during treatment. There isn’t any recovery time, perhaps a little “pink” with mild flaking.
- Enzyme: is a non acid peel derived from fruit acids such as pumpkin, papaya, and pineapple. The benefits are mild exfoliation suitable for all skin types including sensitive. Great for achieving a brighter complexion.
- Lactic Acid: is derived from milk and is used to smooth the skin texture, fades discoloration, leaves the skin hydrated with a healthy glow. This is suitable for sensitive and mature skin types.
- Glycolic Acid: Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) is derived from sugarcane. The benefits are a more even skin tone, clears impurities, shrinks pores, stimulates collagen production, leaving the skin hydrated with smoother lines.
- Salicylic Acid: is a Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) derived from willowbark. This type of peel penetrates more deeply than an (AHA) making it ideal for acne prone skin. Can be combined with glycolic acid to pack more punch.
Category 2: medium depth peels penetrate deeper into the skin to more aggressively treat scarring left by acne, sun damage, pigmentation marks, and wrinkles. Sensation during treatment can range between “burning and stinging” that lasts 30 minutes to an hour after the treatment is complete. The face may become swollen, pink, or itchy. In a few days you can expect a peeling of the skin. You may even experience brown and white patches while the skin is in the healing stage. Recovery is generally a week but can last for several weeks.
- Jessners: This is a peeling agent consisting of lactic acid, salicylic acid and resorcinol. This peel is excellent for acne and hyperpigmentation. Helps clear, fade and prevent acne lesions.
- TCA: is made from trichloric acid and is the strongest in this category with a downtime of at least week. You can experience discomfort during the treatment with physical peeling of the skin in the days to follow. After the healing stage you will see noticeable improvement with lines and wrinkles, acne scars, hyperpigmentation, and sun damage.
- Herbal: uses natural herbs instead of chemical additives to achieve a clear, healthy, firm complexion. Works with all skin types. Homecare products and follow up treatments are usually required to regulate and maintain desired affects. It is recommended with milder peels to do a series of six.
Deeper peels may only be performed once. As always, consult with a licensed skin care professional like Liberty for the treatment that is best suited for your skin type so you can get the most out of your “peeling” experience!
Learn more about skincare and chemical peels by scheduling an appointment at Shannon’s Serendipity Skincare, 9975 S. Eastern Avenue, Suite 130. Email Liberty at [email protected].