The term “chemical peel” sounds so harsh. But really, they have simply forced exfoliation, and we all like our skin to be exfoliated. Chemical peels are designated as light, medium, or deep, depending on the peeling agent. At Beaty Facial Plastic Surgery we offer light and medium peels.
What is a chemical peel?
Chemical peels are nothing new. Cleopatra was one of the first true aficionados of chemical peels. She would use sour milk and its lactic acid to encourage the surface of the skin to peel lightly. The goal of any peel is to shed some of the outer layers of the skin, which can build up with dead skin cells and oil, and become dull in appearance.
What is a light peel?
At Beaty, we use glycolic acid for our light peels. Glycolic acid is naturally occurring in grapes, beets, and sugar cane. It is not harsh and poses no risk of damaging the skin. We use light peels to eliminate poor skin tone, mottled pigmentation, fine lines, scars, acne, and blackheads. They also help control oily skin.
Superficial peels are painless and don’t require any recovery time. Afterward, your skin may become slightly pink, and you may have some minor flaking for a couple of days, but that’s about it. A light peel is simply a speeding up of your body’s natural exfoliation process.
What is a medium peel?
Our medium peels are more aggressive. We use trichloracetic acid as the main peeling agent. Trichloracetic acid is a relative of vinegar, which is acetic acid. This acid penetrates more deeply than glycolic acid.
When we apply trichloracetic acid to your skin is causes the top layers of cells to dry up and peel over a period of several days to one week. Once this old skin peels away, new, healthier skin is exposed. This skin has a smoother texture and more even pigmentation.
At Beaty, we use medium peels to:
- Reduce brown spots and age spots
- Improve the texture of sun-damaged skin
- Improve melasma
- Treat some types of acne
- Reduce fine lines
Unlike, a superficial peel, there is some recovery after a medium peel. After your peel, your skin will look as if it is sunburned. This will turn to “bronzing” as the pigmentation areas begin to darken and lift. You may also have some swelling. Your skin will peel off in sheets, similar to if you’ve had a strong sunburn. The skin beneath will resemble the same exposed skin from a sunburn peel. Over the next few days, most of your pigmentation will peel off, revealing pink, smooth, more even-toned skin.
It’s important when recovering from a medium peel to not rub or scratch the crusting/peeling skin. And sun exposure is totally out of the question.