What are Chemical Peels?
Chemical Peels are widely used tools in the esthetic toolbox, but for most patients, how they work remains a mystery. There are many misconceptions surrounding what a chemical peel is and what it can do for your skin, so here’s to setting the record straight!
How do Chemical Peels Work?
Let’s start with a little skin anatomy. The stratum corneum is the outermost layer of the epidermis (the skin) and also the toughest layer. In this layer, the skin cells, called keratinocytes are continually shed and replaced by new cells from the layers below, typically in 28 day cycles. As the cells come up from the layers below they become hardened so they can serve as a protective barrier. As we age, the process of cellular turnover slows, creating the need for exfoliation to stimulate cellular turnover in the epidermis. Essentially, a Chemical Peel is just the use of a prepared solution to manually exfoliate the skin and increase cell turnover.
The chemical solution disrupts the intercellular connections that hold the skin cells to one another. This causes the older cells to slough off, which causes a biological response that signals the skin to promote the survival and generation of healthy new cells. In short, the shedding of the old cells allows for fresh new cells come to the surface, leaving your skin looking fresh and glowing. Chemical peels also stimulate the production of collagen, which is the substance that gives skin support and shape, causing a reduction in the look of fine lines and wrinkles. Chemical exfoliation can treat a number of other skin concerns:
- uneven tone
- overall improves the look and feel of your skin
Do I need anesthesia if I want a Chemical peel?
Classically, there is not any anesthetic applied to the skin during a chemical peel as the anesthetic can then affect the effect of the chemicals. Most chemical peels do not come with any sort of significant discomfort other than the very deep peels that are classically performed in an operating room.
What are my choices when it comes to chemical peels?
One of the deeper peels that can be performed in a spa setting would be a Jessner’s TCA peel, and the Jessner solution only comes with a slight tingling sensation, whereas when the TCA peel is then applied after this, this can cause a rather significant amount of burning sensation but this is greatly reduced with the use of a Zimmer cooling unit that blows extremely cold air on the area. Ultimately, patients do extremely well with these types of peels but frequently will need the assistance of this cooling unit to give them some comfort.
Frequently, instead of a medium-depth peel, we will recommend a series of MicroLaserPeels with the Erbium laser itself as you will have fewer days of downtime with each treatment than you would with a full medium depth peel and yet the end result is just as good as or superior to a medium-depth peel, as I personally feel you get more wrinkle reduction from a series of MicroLaserPeels than you do from a single medium-depth chemical peel.
Ultimately, there are so many different combinations and options available to patients that I recommend they schedule a consultation so that we can adequately analyze their skin, discuss their concerns, and ultimately create a customized treatment plan to satisfy their needs. Quintessa’s Aesthetics team is ready to help you find the perfect treatment for your skin, and get you looking and feeling your very best! Check back with us next week to find out more about what a peel can do for your unique skin.