The term ‘face peel’ might make you nervous, but skin peeling products and treatments can actually prove to be a magical ‘cure-all’ for stubborn skin concerns that don’t respond to much else. Peels can help with a plethora of problems, from pigmentation to scarring, hydration to acne, skin texture to fine lines and wrinkles. But how do you go about choosing the right peel for your skin type or concern? Here’s everything you need to know about facial peels and how to choose the right peel for your skin.
While lines, wrinkles, pigmentation and even redness are natural occurrences of the ageing process, these previously irreversible results of ageing can now be managed with the ever-growing advancements in skincare technology. If you’re not keen on going under the knife then non-surgical aesthetic skincare solutions might just be your next best choice (or a better choice!).
What is a chemical peel?
Chemical peels are currently the most popular non-surgical aesthetic skincare treatments and with a wide variety of peeling agents available to treat all sorts of skincare concerns, it’s easy to see why!
Chemical peels can be classified into 3 categories namely superficial peels, medium peels and deep peels, each penetrating the skin to different levels in the epidermis or dermis.
Superficial peels are the mildest form of chemical peel treatment and are usually performed using alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA), and in some instances beta-hydroxy acids (BHA). The most common peeling agents in a Superficial Peels are Glycolic Acid and Salicylic Acid.
How do peels work?
During the superficial peel process, for example, the acid used in the peel treatment breaks down the binding elements of the skin’s top layer, causing dead skin cells to shed off to reveal the fresh, healthy underlying skin. Superficial peels are customised to address minor skin irregularities like discolouration, acne, surface scarring, fine lines, and sunspots. Superficial peels are also used to prepare the skin for deeper peels or to enhance the efficacy of other more invasive procedures that treat severe conditions like cystic acne, pigmentation, deep lines and wrinkles and sun damage.
Peels deliver the best results when performed as a course of treatments, which is why Superficial peels have the potential to create enough of a ripple effect through all the layers of the skin, to stimulate collagen remodelling in the dermis as well as optimal hydration to reveal younger, brighter, glowing skin. For this reason, and the minimal healing associated with superficial peels, they have become very popular.
Medium depth and deep peels are performed by medical professionals only, with depths reaching either to the Papillary dermis or parts of the Reticular dermis. Peeling agents in this category are 50-70% Glycolic Acid, Trichloroacetic Acid or Phenol peels. Due to the penetration depth of Medium and Deep peels, the skin will need a recovery time varying between a week to several weeks. This recovery time is known as ‘downtime’ where the skin sheds and flakes.
Naturally derived from sugar cane, Glycolic Acid Peels have a small molecular size that penetrates easily into the skin. Glycolic acid is indicated for sun damaged, fine lines or rough textured skin, as well as problematic, oily skins.
Another great option is the Salicylic Acid (Beta) Peel. Salicylic acid is naturally extracted from willow bark, however, it is now manufactured synthetically. Due to its oilier texture, this peel is most effective for the treatment of congested, oily and acne prone skins.