What Are the Different Types of Chemical Peels?

Primera Plastic Surgery & MedSpa answers your questions:

  • What is a chemical peel?
  • What are the types of chemical peels available?
  • What are the benefits of a chemical peel?
  • Do all chemical peels require downtime?
  • What’s it like to have a chemical peel?
  • How old should I be to have a chemical peel?

Chemical peels are one of the most popular non-invasive cosmetic procedures in the United States. These safe and effective treatments help thousands of people every year, so it’s likely you may have heard about chemical peels and are wondering what all the fuss is about.
Cathi Dichiara, a Medical Aesthetician and Massage Therapist at Primera Medical Spa swears by chemical peels for creating younger-looking skin. She says the chemical peel before and after effects are quite dramatic. What does Cathi have to say about the types of chemical peels available today? Could a chemical peel be right for your skin? Here’s what you need to know about chemical peels.

What Is a Chemical Peel?

Cathi says, “A chemical peel is a non-invasive skin rejuvenation therapy that we do here at Primera.” You can use a chemical peel for acne scars but also to rejuvenate older, sun damaged skin. 

A chemical peel works by applying acids to create a deep exfoliation of the skin, removing damaged skin cells from the treatment area. This allows the body’s natural healing process to create new, blemish free skin. 

The before and after effects of a chemical peel are quite noticeable, and can include:

  • Clearing redness and rosacea from the skin
  • Eliminating or lessening the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Reducing enlarged pores
  • Smoothing hyperpigmentation from sun damage
  • Stopping acne breakouts and reducing the appearance of scars

Cathi continues, “We have several different chemical peels starting at an enzyme level all the way up to a TCA level, depending on what the needs are for the skin.”Like all skin treatments, chemical peels can be personalized to your skin type and cosmetic goals. There are superficial peels that treat only the epidermis, treatments that extend below the skin’s surface, and even deep peels that really target set-in wrinkles or scars. 

What Are the Types of Chemical Peels Available?

Primera offers five different types of chemical peels, which allows for personalized patient care. This includes:

  1. Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) peels are ideal for brown marks, fine lines, and dry spots
  2. Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) peels are anti-inflammatory and good for oily or combination skin
  3. Fruit Enzyme peels help with blackheads and acne as well as hyperpigmentation
  4. Glycolic and Salicylic-based peels are primarily used to treat acne
  5. Trichloroacetic Acid (TCA) peels are deeper skin rejuvenation peels for older skin

Each type of peel is designed for specific aesthetic treatment. Cathi and the team at Primera Med Spa work closely with patients to ensure the best treatment for your skin and your goals. 

What Are the Benefits of a Chemical Peel?

The chemical peel benefits include skin that is noticeably refreshed, younger and healthier looking. Cathi says that chemical peels work by “sloughing off the top layers of the dead, dull skin.” 

Cathi also points out that chemical peels have additional benefits, such as treating and improving the appearance of acne scars, old injury marks, and the visible effects of sun damage.

Do All Chemical Peels Require Downtime?

Chemical peels affect the epidermis, or the top layers of the skin, and the dermis, just beneath the skin. Mild treatments remove a careful amount of dead skin from the epidermis. Deeper treatments can penetrate down to the dermal layer. This requires time for the skin to naturally heal itself, and this process is called “downtime.” 

Cathi says the most popular chemical peels require about a week to heal. “With the downtime, we’re looking at anywhere from three to seven days,” she explains. During that time, your skin may slough off the dead layers to allow fresh skin to be revealed. 

Depending on the depth and intensity of the peel, the downtime could take as long as two weeks. During this period, it’s important to avoid makeup and follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. “Once the peeling process has started,” Cathi says, “we just recommend that you follow a good skincare regimen with complete instructions we give you.”

What’s It Like to Have a Chemical Peel?

“With chemical peels, we usually have a consultation first, and we’ll do a test spot just to see which chemical peel is going to suit you.” Cathi says the thorough intake process includes a review of your overall health, an examination of the skin areas to be treated, and a discussion of your goals and concerns. 

Before the treatment, your skin will be cleansed and prepared for the peel so it can penetrate properly. The peel itself is “painted” over the face and should feel similar to receiving a facial. As the peel begins to work its magic, you may feel some warmth, itching, or mild stinging in the treatment area. There should be no real discomfort and you should tell your aesthetician if you are at all uncomfortable. 

After the peel is removed, you will receive follow-up instructions. You’ll need to avoid makeup and avoid the sun for a time. The peeling should begin about three to five days following the peel, and your aesthetic team will counsel you on skin care to aid the healing process during this time. 

Some patients don’t even peel after the treatment. Skin care, like healthcare, is an individualized experience. Over the course of several weeks, your new, rejuvenated skin will emerge. At Primara Med Spa, we like to take before and after pictures so you can see the results up close.

How Old Should I Be to Have a Chemical Peel?

From your teenage years to adulthood, chemical peels have shown to be an effective way to cleanse, clear, rejuvenate and heal the skin. 

Cathi says, “We have started chemical peels as young as some teens because we’re using it to treat acne.” This can be a fantastic deep cleanse for a young patient struggling with acne flare ups, Cathi says, because it, “helps bring up all the debris and the bacteria that’s underlying in the skin as well as treat and heal the surface.” Teenagers often suffer from blemishes and scarring due to adolescent acne, but a package of chemical peels can eliminate both of these troubling conditions.

Of course, adult acne can also benefit from this treatment, in addition to concerns related to wrinkles, sun damage and aging skin in more mature patients.

Depending on your skin care goals, a chemical peel may be the perfect solution to meet your needs. If you’re considering this skin-clearing and rejuvenating treatment, why not contact the Primera Med Spa team to discuss your options?

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