A chemical peel sounds like a scary process performed by a super villain.  In reality, it’s actually not scary at all!  A chemical peel is a beauty treatment that uses a chemical solution to remove the outer layers of skin on the face to reveal smooth new skin without lines or wrinkles.  

Your skin has three layers. The outer coating is the epidermis. Its main purpose is to serve as waterproofing for your skin. On your face, this skin layer is very thin. The second layer, called the dermis, is thicker. The connective tissue and collagen that gives skin its strength is located in the dermis. The third and deepest layer of skin, known as the subcutaneous layer, contains fatty tissue, muscles and blood vessels.

Mild chemical peels include salicylic acid peels or glycolic peels. These are the kind of chemical peels done at a salon or spa, and sometimes in a dermatologist’s office. They typically take off the epidermis, and results are not as long lasting. Side effects are usually skin reddening and some skin peeling.  Chemical peels are used to treat a number of conditions including:

  • Pigmentation on face or body
  • Fine wrinkles
  • Acne marks and scars
  • Skin dullness
  • Aging skin
  • Crow’s feet
  • Sagging skin

With any peel, it’s important to know what results you can achieve so your expectations are realistic. Chemical peels in any form cannot remove or reduce the appearance of blood vessels on the skin. They cannot change the appearance of enlarged pores and they don’t have an effect on raised scarring. Chemical peels don’t act as a face-lift, and they have limited benefit for improving skin discoloration for those with darker skin color. They can make skin smoother, help fade brown spots and an uneven skin tone from sun damage, and generally make the skin’s surface look fresher and younger.

There are three basic types of chemical peels:

  • Superficial Peel: Alpha-hydroxy acid or another mild acid is used to penetrate only the outer layer of skin to gently exfoliate it. The treatment is used to improve the appearance of mild skin discoloration and rough skin as well as to refresh the face, neck, chest or hands.
  • Medium Peel: Glycolic acid is applied to penetrate the outer and middle layers of skin to remove damaged skin cells. The treatment is used to improve age spots, fine lines and wrinkles, freckles and moderate skin discoloration.
  • Deep Peel: Phenol acid is applied to deeply penetrate the middle layer of skin to remove damaged skin cells. The treatment removes moderate lines, age spots, freckles and shallow scars.

It’s completely expected to have many questions about these types of treatments. The best way to ensure you are receiving the best treatment for your skin is to do your homework. Go to a reputable place that can answer all of your questions and educate you thoroughly on the procedure that you are receiving.