Chemical peels are non-invasive facial treatments that make a great secret weapon. It’s easy for an aesthetician to apply, and it interacts with skin to encourage skin cell turnover. The result is the peeling of the skin’s outer layer, revealing a smoother, younger complexion. It’s especially effective for those with dull skin or scarring. Peels, however, are sometimes misunderstood. Even those that are truly skincare-savvy might not know these facts:
1. You can choose how intensive you want the results to be
Though most mid-peel photographs often feature clients with dramatically flaking skin, peels can be as deep or as light as you need. If your skincare regime is pretty comprehensive and you’re just looking for a boost to combat some mild winter dullness, you might just want to dip your toes in and enjoy the effects of a light peel.
If you’ve never had a peel or are struggling with some severe concerns, like sun damage or acne scars, you might opt to start off with a deep peel, which kicks off your new skin care regimen with a deep rejuvenation. Going forward, a light or medium peel may be all you need to maintain those smooth and radiant results.
One of the benefits of getting a chemical peel done by an aesthetician is they can customize the strength and depth of the treatment to suit the needs of your skin. This means you don’t have to worry about overdoing it or being disappointed in a treatment that’s too light, which can be common with drugstore chemical peels.
2. All peels are not equal
Not only do peels come in various strengths – light, medium or deep – but they have various active ingredients. The most common version is the Glycolic peel. Glycolic is a fairly all-purpose acid that’s water-soluble and interacts well with most skin types to boost skin cell turnover. However, there are other types of peels as well, and a qualified skincare specialist can help you decide which one might be right for you.
Another common type is the Lactic Acid peel, which tends to be excellent for those with dry skin or patients who are concerned with age-related elements, like wrinkles around the eyes or mouth. It encourages the skin’s natural ability to moisturize. There’s also the Salicylic Chemical peel, which, in smaller doses, is often found in products that treat acne. A Salicylic Chemical peel is great if you suffer with acne, or oily skin and heavily-clogged pores.
Those are the most common forms of chemical peels, but there are other main ingredients that can be used to form the base that are sometimes recommended for those with sensitive skin or very specific concerns, like sun damage or hyper-pigmentation. A skincare specialist will be able to match you with the right peel for your needs.
3. Most people need downtime … but it’s not that bad
While it’s true that most need some recovery time after a chemical peel – just like with most facials – it’s not as debilitating as some articles will lead you to believe. A deep peel will likely require the most recovery time, but if it’s performed by a qualified aesthetician, there won’t be any grotesque facial swelling or the need to hide out on the couch for a month while the skin peels off like something in a horror movie. That being said, since the treatment causes the skin to peel and slough off, there can be a period of time where it looks and feels like a mild sunburn.
The good news is that there are lots of things you can do to soothe any irritation and boost the healing process. First, drink water or herbal tea to keep hydration levels up. Second, be aware that skin might be slightly more sensitive in the weeks following and will definitely be more susceptible to sun damage. For this reason, it’s even more crucial to wear SPF and avoid direct sunlight until your skin is fully recovered.
As your skin will not just be sensitive, but actively peeling, regular moisturization with a gentle product is recommended. Avoid exfoliating until the skin has recovered and follow any other instructions given by a skincare specialist. People heal at different rates based on their body’s natural inclinations, as well as the strength and type of peel used, but an experienced aesthetician will be able to advise on what to expect.