Chemical peel is a treatment used to improve and smooth the texture of the facial skin using a chemical solution that causes the dead skin to slough off and eventually peel off. The regenerated skin is usually smoother and less wrinkled than the old skin.
Chemical peels are subdivided into superficial, medium, and deep peels depending on the level of skin penetration and damage. The deeper the peel, the more dramatic results one can expect from the treatment. However, deep peels are more painful, require longer recovery period, and have a higher incidence of side effects such as pigmentary changes and scarring.
Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are naturally occurring carboxylic acids such as glycolic acid, a natural constituent of sugar cane juice and lactic acid, found in sour milk and tomato juice. They are the mildest of the peel formulas and produce light peels for treatment of fine wrinkles, areas of dryness, uneven pigmentation and acne. Alpha hydroxy acids can also be mixed with a facial wash or cream in lesser concentrations as part of a daily skin-care regimen to improve the skin's texture.
Glycolic acid peels work by loosening up and exfoliating the superficial top layer. This peel also stimulates collagen growth. High strength peels are good in terms of efficacy but they irritate more.
Lactic acid is derived from either sour milk or bilberries. This peel will remove dead skin cells, and promote healthier skin.
Malic acid peel is the type of superficial peels derived from the extracts of apples. It can open up the pores, allowing the pores to expel their sebum and reduce acne.
Tartaric acid is derived from grape extract and is capable of delivering the same benefits as the above peels.
AHA peels may cause stinging, skin redness, mild skin irritation, dryness, and commonly require multiple treatments to reach desired results.
It is becoming common for beta hydroxy acid (BHA) peels to be used instead of the stronger alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) peels due to BHA's ability to get deeper into the pore than AHA. Studies show that BHA peels control oil, acne as well as remove dead skin cells to a certain extent better than AHAs due to AHAs only working on the surface of the skin.
Jessner's peel solution, formerly known as the Coombe's formula, was pioneered by Dr Max Jessner, a German-American dermatologist. It is a combination of 14% salicylic acid, lactic acid, and resorcinol in an ethanol base. It is thought to break intracellular bridges between keratinocytes. It is very difficult to "overpeel" the skin due to the mild percentages associated with the acid combination.
Trichloroacetic acid is used as an intermediate to deep peeling agent in concentrations ranging from 20-50%.
• smooth out fine surface wrinkles
• remove superficial blemishes
• correct skin pigment problems
TCA peels may:
• require pre-treatment with Retin-A or AHA creams
• require repeat treatment to maintain results
• require the use of sunblock for several months (this is a must)
• take several days to heal depending on the peel depth