All About Chemical Peels
If brighter, fresher, flawless skin is your goal, a chemical peel might just be for you. We sat down with La Suite Founder and Expert Aesthetician Rhea Souhleris Grous to learn all about one of our most requested treatments, Chemical Peels. Read on to learn about what they are, who should get them, recovery time and the many benefits.
WHAT IS A CHEMICAL PEEL?
A chemical peel is a cosmetic treatment that improves the appearance of skin. It consists of a solution designed to penetrate into the epidermis, remove the upper layers of dead and damaged skin, and encourage skin cell regeneration.
A chemical peel’s efficacy relies on the specific acids contained and the strength depends on the pH AND percentage of the solution.
Typical ingredients are AHA’s such as glycolic acid, lactic acid, mandelic acid. Other acids such as BHA (aka salicylic acid) and TCA (aka Trichloroacetic acid) are very effective. These ingredients, along with other actives, can be cocktailed together for maximum efficacy.
WHAT SKIN TYPES CAN GET A CHEMICAL PEEL?
All skin types can benefit from chemical peels and there are peels for every skin type and condition. For example, sensitive rosacea conditions can benefit from peels as well. While peels and rosacea may seem counterintuitive, aestheticians can actually strengthen the skin’s natural barrier and reduce inflammation by using gentle specific acids and alternating strengths.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF GETTING A CHEMICAL PEEL?
Chemical peels can gently (or aggressively) address skin concerns ranging from pigment changes, mild sun damage, texture, fine lines and wrinkles to acne and more. A chemical peel stimulates the production of elastin and collagen, which is essential for healthy, beautiful skin. It also turbo-charges your skincare routine by removing the dead cells, allowing for a more efficient product penetration.
ARE THERE DIFFERENT KINDS OF CHEMICAL PEELS?
Yes. Just as each client has unique skin conditions, there are a variety of chemical peels available to address them. Chemical peels can vary depending on which acids are used, their strength, pH, and length of time on the skin, to achieve the specific goals of the treatment. For example, lactic acid peels strengthen the skin's natural moisture factor so they are perfect for dehydrated skin or colder, drier weather. Salicylic acid is an oil soluble acid that helps regulate sebum production, reduce harmful bacteria while exfoliating the surface and the pores, therefore ideal for oily skin types.
“Fun fact, all acids help with exfoliating, brightening of the skin, and stimulating healthy collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid production.”
WHAT IS THE PROCESS, STEP BY STEP, OF GETTING A CHEMICAL PEEL?
This treatment starts with a thorough cleansing of the skin, followed by de-greasing the skin to ensure an even application and then occluding tender areas, such as lips/corners of the mouth, around the eyes, corners of the nose, corners of the ear lobes.
The time on the skin depends on the choice and the depth of the peel.
Typically, a light chemical peel consists of the solution applied and left on the skin for a short amount of time and then neutralized.
After a peel it is important to moisturize the skin and finish with an SPF.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO RECOVER?
Recovery will depend on the type, strength, and goal of the specific chemical peel. Lighter peels have zero downtime without any significant peeling, however, can sometimes cause some flaking. More intense peels can involve some skin shedding and visible peeling for up to 5-7 days. Wearing sunscreen daily is a post-peel must.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU GET CHEMICAL PEELS? HOW MANY SHOULD YOU DO TO GET RESULTS?
Frequency is determined by your skin care professional and is based on the strength of acid used for the individual’s skin conditions and goals. A single treatment will visibly improve moderate hyperpigmentation, acne, wrinkles and rough skin texture.
Lighter peels (many times referred to as infusions) can cause some flaking (or not), and can be performed as close as 1-2 weeks apart. For best results, if targeting a specific skin issue, 3-6 visits a week apart will do the trick.
Medium to deep peels that cause shedding (in sheets) should be a month apart allowing the skin to recover.
HOW DOES A CHEMICAL PEEL COMPARE TO OTHER EXFOLIATING PROCEDURES LIKE MICRODERMABRASION?
The key difference between chemical peels and microdermabrasion is the method of exfoliating the skin. Chemical peels use an application of an acid solution to exfoliate via penetration whereas microdermabrasion uses a mechanical process to exfoliate and has no penetration power.
A chemical peel is a chemical exfoliation in which acids do the work of removing dead skin cells as well as delivering specific benefits like brightening or hydrating, depending on the goals of the treatment.
Microdermabrasion is a form of physical exfoliation in which the skin is mechanically exfoliated to remove dead skin cells.
A seasoned skincare professional can combine these treatments and produce beautiful results.
Questions about chemical peels? We’re here to help. Please call the clinic at 203-861-7663.
Updated April 26, 2023