Everyone wants skin that is smooth, blemish free and glowing. But the world that we live in often does not give us that. We are surrounded by pollution and toxins in everyday life, and in addition we often subject our body to oily and unhealthy foods. All of this can take a toll on your skin.
Many of us have skin that is too dry or too oily, active acne or acne scars, wrinkles and other skin health concerns. We have all tried a range of skin care products – some extremely expensive, some which are used or promoted by our favorite celebrity or claim to be all-natural and ayurvedic. However, few give us the kind of results that we are looking for, because what most of us are completely unaware of the fact that the gorgeous skin that we really want is sitting right below the existing skin!
Welcome to the World of Chemical Peels
Chemical peels are an easy and effective way to get the skin that you have always desired. Chemical peels have been around since the 1990s, but when laser skin resurfacing methods arrived on the scene, peels got relegated into the background. Today, peels are making a comeback, mainly because of the simplicity and efficacy of the procedure. The procedure is just what it says – chemicals are used to peel top layers of the skin; but it is not as scary as it sounds. When the specific combination of chemicals is applied to your skin, the top layer or the epidermis is removed and underneath it sits healthier skin. The process also pushes the skin into healing itself and this new healed skin will look and feel better. In addition, this new skin will show fewer fine lines, less acne and scarring, and fewer blemishes. So, while a chemical peel for acne scar will work great, it will also give you visibly better skin too.
These days, chemical peels have a combination of ingredients, which will not only remove the dead skin cells, but also infuse the skin with elements that will naturally increase the production of collagen and improve the skin tone from within. Here are the main 5 types of chemical peels:
- Glycolic acid peel – This is a mild peel that will help you even out your skin tone and encourage the production of new skin cells. The peel will also help reduce wrinkles and fine lines and make your skin look younger. People who have undergone the peel have often said that their skin feels red and slightly raw, but the feeling should go away in a matter of hours, or at the most, a day.
- Salicylic acid peel – This is the procedure that is meant for people who have extremely sensitive skin. Salicylic acid peels are quite mild and are so gentle that you could even do them at home. This is a great way to remove blackheads, whiteheads and basic acne. It is also a good way to clean out your pores and give you clean and clear skin.
- Lactic acid peel – If you are bothered by the signs of aging, this is the perfect choice for you. A mild solution will be applied to your skin and that will not only take care of the fine lines, but also help reduce deep settled acne scars.
- Trichloroacetic acid peel – Commonly known as TCA, this peel has a solution that can lead to the drying up of skin cells, which in turn can help improve skin that has been damaged by the sun. This procedure is most often used as a spot treatment, because it can help remove large scars on any part of the body.
- Jessner peel – A peel of medium intensity, this is one of the most popular methods to tackle wrinkles, freckles and even signs of melasma. The solution used for this procedure is a combination of salicylic acid, lactic acid and resorcinol, which is why it is imperative that you get this procedure done only at a certified and licensed clinic.
Once you have finalized what kind of chemical peel you want, you need to understand that the pre- and post-op care after a chemical peel is extremely important. Not paying attention to everything that needs to be done before and after the procedure could lead to serious side effects.
Before the Procedure
It is important that you tell your doctor about your history of cold sores, previous scars and any other medical conditions. You might be asked to stop taking a few medications or you might be prescribed alternatives. When you are getting your first chemical peel, it would be wise to get a small test done first – choose a spot on your arm or leg and get the peel done there first. If there are no allergic reactions, you can go ahead and get the peel done. At least 15 days before the peel, you should start cleansing your skin twice a day, using a high quality facewash and moisturizer. This skin regime is meant to make the peel more effective, reduce the chances of any infections and ensure that the healing happens properly and fast.
After the Procedure
Once the procedure has been completed, you need to make sure that you take care of your skin, because your skin will be extremely sensitive. You might be asked to not use soap for about 24 hours or more, depending on how your skin has reacted to the procedure. In case of redness or swelling, you can use a cold compress. However, you will have to avoid bleaching, facials and waxing for a minimum of one week. You will also be asked to avoid heavy makeup for a while, because your skin needs to recover.
Chemical peels are beneficial on various levels – they are minimally invasive, they don’t take a lot of time off your schedule and they will make your skin look great. In addition to that, chemical peels can be customized for your skin type – depending on what your skin problem is, your doctor should be able to recommend just the right solution!
Dr. Aman Dua is Co-Founder & Managing Director at AK Clinics. She has over 14 years of clinical and teaching experience in fields of Dermatology and Hair Transplant.