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A chemical peel is a technique used to improve and smooth the texture of the skin. Facial skin is mostly treated, and scarring can be improved. Chemical peels are intended to remove the outermost layers of the skin. To accomplish this task, the chosen peel solution induces a controlled injury to the skin.
Resulting wound healing processes begin to regenerate new tissues. The dead skin eventually peels off. The regenerated skin is usually smoother and less wrinkled than the old skin. People are advised to seek professional help from a dermatologist, cosmetologist or plastic surgeon on a specific type of chemical peel before a procedure is performed.
In equal percentages, the order of weakest to strongest is: Lactic Acid > Glycolic Acid > Salicylic Acid > TCA. AHA’s and BHA’s (lactic, glycolic, salicylic, etc…) in varying percentages can be stronger or weaker than another. As an example: Lactic Acid 70% solution is much stronger than a Glycolic Acid 20% solution, but lactic acid itself in equal solution is a weaker acid than glycolic acid.
Choosing a Chemical Peel
What strength peel is right for me? A good rule of thumb is to begin by choosing a low strength BHA or AHA exfoliators like Glycolic or Lactic Acid.
The depth of the peel depends on the chemical used and your experience using peels. It is advisable to not use a strong chemical peel treatment if you have never used peeling agents. Many times, we want quick results, not realizing what this might mean in terms of applying a chemical peel. The peeling agent produces controlled damaged to the skin’s surface. This can result in excess flaking, stinging, sunburn-type effect or, in some cases, breaks in the skin, leaving us frustrated and even more dissatisfied with our skin than before we started. Therefore, it is vital to understand that chemical peeling is a process that typically occurs over the course of a few weeks. A 2oz. bottle of a chemical solution (used straight) will give you approximately 5-7 facial peels.
Combining a daily regimen with a series of skin peels is the most effective way to treat your skin and choosing the right strength of the product is vital to performing professional-quality skin rejuvenation treatments.
Salicylic Acid: Low strength of Salicylic acid peel is recommended for those new to this type of chemical peel or for those who only need light skin rejuvenation. Can be used once every 7 days. This strength of peel can be excellent for use in conjunction with the Glycolic or Lactic peel for a superior peel result. Oil-soluble to penetrate sebum filled pores and cleanse thoroughly, reducing acne and blemishes. High strengths of Salicylic acid are stronger deeper peels and can be performed every 2 weeks. They assist in the rapid shedding of dead skin cells. Use of a light daily exfoliator in between peel treatments will further assist in this process of skin cell renewal. Excellent for oily/acne-prone skin.
Glycolic and Lactic Acids: Is the best to use for daily and weekly chemical peels. Low strengths are considered daily exfoliators and they will keep your skin fresh and healthy. These are recommended for those new to chemical peels or for those who only need light skin rejuvenation. higher strengths are considered medium peels and can be performed every 2
weeks. They assist in the rapid shedding of dead skin cells. Use of a light daily exfoliator in between peel treatments will further assist in this process of skin cell renewal. High strengths are considered deeper peels and should only be used on lower extremities (arms, legs, feet, back, etc). This type of peel is great for corns, calluses and thick dead skin on feet or hands. Initially, this type of peel can be used daily or every other day on feet that have really thick dead skin.
TCA Peel: Once you decide to do a TCA peel start with a light TCA peel to see how your skin handles it and what your recovery time is like. Then graduate to the deeper TCA peels. The deep TCA peels can be performed at every 8 weeks. This peel can be used in addition to your weekly peels. Weekly peels are actually necessary to prepare for TCA Peels. Tattoo Removal: TCA high strength peels are typically used for this. Now, your tattoo isn’t going to magically disappear with one treatment. Just like “laser tattoo removal”, a series of peels will need to be done. With each treatment, the tattoo will get lighter and lighter until it either fades significantly or fades completely away. In some case, you may need to follow up with laser tattoo removal to remove the remainder of the more difficult tattoos. The number of treatments and timely results depend on tattoo darkness and depth.