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What Is a Chemical Peel?
Posted: Tue, Sep 26, 2023
Skin Specialists of Fayetteville|209 Fairway Drive, Suite C, Fayetteville, NC 28305|(910) 759-3060

What is a chemical peel?

A chemical peel is a treatment in which a chemical solution comprised of one or more exfoliating ingredients at a high percentage is topically applied to the skin. The goal of a peel is to infuse the skin with these strong exfoliating ingredients in order to work beneath the surface at a cellular level to help the cells turn over. Chemical peels cause a controlled injuries to the skin which then tells healing skin underneath to move to the surface. Triggering the skin’s healing response in a controlled setting leads to a number of different benefits for the skin’s health and appearance.

What are the different options for chemical peels?

There is a wide range of different options for chemical peels, from deep to superficial with many different blends of acids and supporting ingredients. The strength of a peel is correlated to its depth of penetration, deep peels being the strongest and most intense. Deep peels are generally only performed by a dermatologist and can require months of downtime.

Medium-depth peels are medical-grade chemical peels that must be performed in a medical setting such as a med spa! These peels reach down to the top of the dermis and can create a noticeable change in skin tone, texture, and chronic breakouts. For corrective skin-goals you can expect to need around 3-7 of these peels spaced a month a part to reach your desired results.

Superficial peels are generally more gentle and are performed by estheticians everywhere. These peels are great for treating concerns such as Post-inflammatory-hyperpigmentation, fine lines, and breakouts over the course of multiple treatments. These peels are also a great option for skin-maintenance and they can be done in place of your monthly facial for a quick pick-me-up. 

How do I prepare for a chemical peel?

The first step in your chemical peel journey should be to consult with a professional to discuss what is the best chemical peel for you. Medical-grade peels will also require a screening of your health history and other factors that can impact how these peels may affect you. Your provider may also want to start you on a skin care routine that will help to prepare the skin for the peel.

Once you’ve decided on what peel works best for you and your skin concerns, preparation for chemical peels includes staying away from spray tans, sun exposure, and stopping use of any exfoliating products 1 week prior. SPF 50+ should be applied and reapplied daily for the weeks prior to your peel. If you are uncertain of which products are safe to use before your peel, always consult your provider.

What should I expect after getting a peel?

Depending on the peel you get, you may be instructed to leave the peel on for a set amount of time after you leave your appointment. For example; with our VI Peel you will want to leave it on for 4 hours after it has been applied. Chemical peels require a very gentle skin care routine with lots of SPF during the peeling process. Some peels may come with your post-procedure products, but not all will. It is important to follow the instructions given to you by your provider in order to avoid any adverse reactions which can be long-lasting.

Some peels are formulated to limit the amount of peeling that may occur, but many can have you shedding like a snake! The peeling process typically will last for up to 7 days. Picking your peeling skin off is prohibited! If you pull off your loose skin it will pull healthy skin cells with it and cause scarring.

Not everyone peels with a chemical peel, even the ones that are meant to! Even when visible peeling doesn’t occur, the peel is still working to break up pigment and other signs of damage to the skin.

When the peeling process is over, you should be left with brighter, smoother, and glowing skin! This is typically when you can return to your normal skin care routine, however, you may still want to be gentle with active skin care products and careful with sun exposure as your skin is still very fresh and sensitive!

When should I get a peel?

You can get a chemical peel any time of the year as long as you can stay out of the heat and sun for the duration of your peeling process. This can be difficult during the summer time when everyone wants to be at the beach! For those who love being out in the summer sun, this makes Fall and Winter the best time to get your peel on! So welcome to peel season!

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