Benefits of Chemical Peels
A chemical peel is a facial treatment used to improve the texture of the skin by applying a chemical solution that causes the shedding of old damaged surface cells. This treatment leaves the regenerated skin smoother and less wrinkled. Chemical peels are beneficial for the treatment of fine wrinkles, uneven pigmentation, dryness, and acne. Milder forms of chemical peels can be done at home, while the stronger types are performed by professionals.
The skin has a normal cellular turnover in which older cells are replaced by newer skin cells. This turnover rate gradually declines with increasing age and sun exposure, leaving behind the appearance of older skin.
Glycolic acid peels react with the outer layer of the epidermis. They weaken the binding properties that hold the dead skin cells together and stimulate new growth of skin underneath. This allows the outer layer of dead skin cells to be removed gradually. The skin underneath has a healthier, fresher appearance with more even color and texture. Regular treatments are also helpful in stabilizing acne prone, oily skin and improving skin tone.
Chemical facial peels vary in strength, and only professionals can administer stronger acid concentrations. These treatments can be repeated every week or two due to rapid recovery rates. Multiple treatments may be needed to see the desired results.
The face should be thoroughly cleansed prior to application. Peels are usually left on the face for only a few minutes, depending on the strength. The solution is then neutralized and washed off. Mild redness, stinging and irritation may occur. Stronger peels may cause more redness and the recovery time may last several days. There is little to no recovery time with milder glycolic treatments. Mild peeling may occur for a few days following treatment.
One of the most popular types of mild chemical peels contains alpha hydroxy acids (AHA). Alpha hydroxy acids are organic acids derived from natural sources. Glycolic acid is the most commonly used type of alpha hydroxy acid for facial treatments. It is derived from sugar cane. This small alpha hydroxyl acid is odorless, colorless, and soluble in water. Lactic and citric acid are also useful is skin care products.
Mild forms of glycolic chemical peels containing less than 10% acid can be used by consumers at home. Stronger peels containing a higher concentration of acids are administered by professionals such as dermatologists. Other types of chemical peels offered by professionals include beta hydroxyl acid peels, trichloroacetic acid peels, retinoic acid peels, and phenol peels. These deeper treatments are much stronger and are often administered with sedation and pain medication.
Alpha hydroxy acids can also be included in facial cleansers in lower concentrations. These facial washes cleanse and buff away surface cells, leaving the skin smooth and fresh. Mild acidic cleansers can be included in a daily skincare routine. They gently retexture the skin over a period of a few months.
Glycolic acid has an excellent capacity to penetrate the skin, and is used for many types of facial care products. With higher concentrations and long term use, glycolic acid can also affect the deeper skin layers. Elastin and collagen can regenerate leaving fine lines and wrinkles less noticeable.
Glycolic acid peels have the ability to rejuvenate the skin by increasing the shedding of old damaged surface cells. This improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and strips away plugs where acne can form. Chemical peel treatments containing glycolic acid reduce uneven pigmentation, control acne, smooth rough dry skin, and improve the texture of sun damaged skin.