WINTER SKIN AND CHEMICAL PEELS
From targeting dryness to improving skin texture, chemical peels are a winter skin saviour.
The onset of the winter season promises holiday cheer for the remaining few months of the year so that we can end it on a pleasant note. However, the chilled weather can take a toll on our skin as it depletes it of moisture and hydration, inevitably inducing irritated, dry, and patchy skin. To combat our skin acting up during this time of the year, an efficient skincare regime consisting of exfoliation and hydration is key. In light of this, we bring to you a thorough lowdown of a skincare treatment that has become inadvertently in-vogue, and for good reasons. A chemical peel, also known as chemical exfoliation or derma peeling, is a professional procedure that uses gentle acids to resurface the skin by removing the top, damaged layers. The chemical solution ‘peels’ away the dead layers of skin by dissolving the substance that binds these cells and breaks down the bond between them. This eventually causes the gunk on the outer layer of the skin to come off and instantly reveals regenerated and smoother skin. Contrary to what the name suggests, chemical exfoliators are gentler than mechanical exfoliators due to the sheer absence of physical force in its technique. Granted, the use of the term ‘chemical’ for a skincare treatment can be intimidating. However, chemical peels are an extremely common procedure and in fact, the efficacy and ease of use of a chemical peel has made it a favoured skincare treatment by dermatologists globally. The procedure takes anywhere between 25-30 minutes, which is also why chemical peels are also called lunchtime facials. Let’s now understand the types and benefits of chemical peels.
What are the types of chemical peels?
Chemical peels are available in three potency levels. Each type of peel uses a different chemical solution. Depending on your specific skin type and concern, the solution is determined. The deeper the peel, the more significant the results and the longer the recovery time.
Light, superficial, or mild peel: A mild acid is used that penetrates only the top layer of skin. This has minimal downtime and helps to remove dead skin cells only from the outermost layer (the epidermis). A mild peel can be done once a week for up to six weeks.
Medium peel: Though medium peels also use mild acids, the content level is much higher than mild peels. A higher percentage of acid ensures deeper penetration into the skin and removal of dead skin cells that are deeper into the epidermis. This peel can be done once every two to three weeks.
Deep peel: As the name suggests, these peels are more resurfacing and reach the innermost layers of the epidermis. A strong acid, like phenol, is used to target environmentally or otherwise severely damaged skin. A deep peel can be done once a month and the results last up to eight weeks.
What are the types of chemical solutions used in chemical peels?
There are different types of chemical solutions as well that range from mild to strong. But the most commonly used solutions for a chemical peel include:
AHA (alpha hydroxy acids): AHAs are water soluble, meaning they exfoliate the surface of your skin while also keeping it hydrated by drawing in moisture. They come in a few forms, like lactic, mandelic, glycolic, and tartaric acid, and are great for promoting cell turnover and making the skin appear youthful, radiant, and healthy. Lactic acid is especially great for treating dry skin. AHAs come from natural sources and are used to treat fine wrinkles, dryness, uneven skin tone, and acne.
BHA (beta hydroxy acids): BHAs are oil soluble, meaning they break down oil clogged pores to treat blackheads, whiteheads, and zits. They are also anti-inflammatory, which helps if the skin feels irritated with the exfoliation process. One of the most commonly used BHA is salicylic acid, which is a longtime favorite acne spot treatment and penetrates deeply into pores to dissolve impurities.
TCA (trichloroacetic acid): TCAs above 25 percent are used in medium peels. These are medium to strong acids that are ideal solutions for targeting deep-seated skin issues such as acne scarring, hyperpigmentation, and wrinkles.
Jessner’s Peel: Pioneered by Dr. Max Jessner, a German-American dermatologist, the Jessner Peel mixes 14 percent salicylic acid, lactic acid, and resorcinol, which is a mild antiseptic and disinfectant. This peel is more potent than AHA and BHA peels, and is a great option for advanced acne scarring, fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, freckles, sun spots, and also helps stimulate collagen production.
What are the benefits of chemical peels?
Chemical peels are more than just exfoliators. Their benefits make them an ideal solution to revive winter skin and make it soft, healthy, and radiant. The most important benefits of chemical peels include:
Increased collagen production that promotes firmness of skin.
Reduction of acne scarring and blemishes.
A minimally invasive way to visibly improve the appearance of skin.
Reduction of fine lines and wrinkles.
Improved skin texture.
Reduction of discolouration and redness (including freckles, age and liver spots).
Environmental damage reversal.
Healthy, radiant, and youthful glow.