Introduction To Medical Skin Peels
Medical grade chemical peels are dermal therapies used to address a number of skin concerns.
Chemical peels work to break down proteins within the skin and result in exfoliation of superficial skin cells. They remove damaged or abnormal cells in order to replace them with healthy and more organized cells. Through the stimulation of inflammation deeper in the skin chemical peels can also stimulate new collagen formation resulting in thicker, healthier skin.
Chemical peels can treat a number of common skin concerns as well as maintain the health and balance of the skin when used on a regular basis. The most common indications are:
- Ageing and sun damage
- Acne scarring
- Uneven skin tone and texture
- Redness and rosacea
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Melasma (see dermamelan peel)
We recommend skin preparation prior to undergoing a course of chemical peels. This increases the speed of skin healing, encourages a uniform and even penetration of the peel, decreases the risk of any side effects such as post inflammatory hyperpigmentation, and also helps the skin get ready for a longer term maintenance regime.
We recommend 2 weeks of preparations prior to all chemical peels and other dermal therapies.
Our skin clinicians use a variety of chemical peeling agents and there is no set regime for each concern. We tailor a treatment program to each individual patient which may involve the use of different peels, a combination of peel types per session and differing concentrations and strengths based on your concerns, down time and response to treatment.
There are three main types of chemical peels categorized according to the depth of treatment – superficial, medium and deep chemical peels. The most common peels are superficial and medium. Deep chemical peels are performed only by a doctor.
- Superficial Peels: These peels are a ‘lunchtime’ procedure which help to exfoliate the top layers of skin resulting in a lighter, brighter and healthier complexion. They are also excellent at treating acne and congestion when performed at regular intervals. Superficial peels are primarily formulated from AHA (alpha hydroxy acids) and BHAs (beta hydroxy acids) such as glycolic, lactic, salicylic, mandelic and kojic acid. The concentration and strength of these peels can be adjusted according to the desired results. Each of these peeling agents has its advantages and disadvantages for certain skin types and conditions. For example, Salicylic acid is excellent for acne and oily skin and lactic acid for dehydrated skin.
- Medium Depth Peels: These peels result in slightly longer down time with more of a ‘peeling’ effect afterwards. These peels include TCA (trichloroacetic acid) and Jessner’s peels which penetrate deeper into the skin and are good for treating sun damage, scarring, acne and fine lines/wrinkles. TCA peels target pigmentation and can stimulate collagen production. There is a slightly longer down time (about 5 days) and less treatments are required.
- Deep Chemical Peels: The only deep chemical peels performed at Youth Lab are higher concentration TCA peels for deep scarring and photo-ageing. A common technique used for deep TCA peels is TCA cross where small droplets of the peeling solution are used to treat severe scarring such as ice pick acne scars. This treatment is only performed by our doctors and a full consultation is required prior to the procedure.
Peels on offer at Youth Lab include the following:
Glycolic / Lactic / Mandalic: These peels are suitable for most skin types and perfect for gentle skin rejuvenation without any down time. They will exfoliate the skin whist also retaining moisture levels. They can be used to treat congestion, mild acne, sun damage, and mild pigmentation resulting in an overall youthful and glowing appearance.
Retinol A-Zyme Peel: The A-zyme peel contains potent anti ageing ingredients, Retinol for its improvement in collagen production, skin structure and reduction in sebum production, and bromelain for its anti-inflammatory properties. The A-zyme peel works to refresh, hydrate and plump the skin with minimal down time. The peel can improve all skin types and treat mild acne and sun damage and result in smoother, more refined skin.
Timeless Retinol Peel: This peel contains the anti aging ingredient vitamin A combined with hydrating lactic acid and works to deeply stimulate the skin to visibly reduce the signs of ageing. The peel works to improve pigmentation, decrease congestion, and improve skin tone and texture by increasing cell turnover and collagen production. Regular peels result in long lasting effects and slow down the skin ageing process.
Brightening Peel: This is a gentle, all purpose peel which resurfaces and corrects the skin. This peel is a combination of powerful antiageing ingredients such as vitamin C, vitamin A and salicylic acid and is packed with antioxidants to help protect the skin. The peel is perfect for improving skin tone and texture resulting in an instantly clearer and brighter complexion. The peel increases skin hydration, reduces congestion and smooths the complexion for a perfect pick me up with minimal down time.
Antioxidant Peel: The Blueberry antioxidant peel is an ideal introductory treatment for those who have not had peels before and can prepare the skin before a special event. Combining antioxidant blueberry extracts with hydrating lactic acid the peel is a gentle exfoliant, can correct congested and acne prone skin and increase the moisture levels of the skin. The peel gently removes superficial dead skin cells, revealing the healthy and glowing skin beneath. The end result is skin that is smoother, softer and glowing. The peel is mild enough to use in pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Jessner's Peel: Jessner’s peels are stronger than AHA/BHA peels and are recommended for those with oily, acne prone skin, congestion, enlarged pores and also for the improvement of the signs of ageing such as fine lines and sun damage. The main ingredient in a Jessner’s peel is salicylic acid which penetrates deeply to remove sebum and oil and exfoliate dead skin cells. The end result is smoother, less congested skin with a decreased appearance of pores, pigmentation and fine lines.
TCA Peel: TCA peels are perfect for improving sun damage, signs of ageing and to minimise pigmentation. TCA stands for trichloroacetic acid which is a mild resurfacing agent. The peel depth can be changed according the the skin condition and desired outcome. The end results is minimised pigmentation, a decrease in wrinkles and lines and a stimulation of new healthy collagen to result in a youthful and vibrant look.
frequently asked questions
+ WHAT DOES THE TREATMENT INVOLVE?
After a full consultation with our dermal clinicians a treatment plan with be established. This will determine the correct type and depth of chemical peel and the appropriate intervals between treatments. Initially you will go home with a skin preparation regime of appropriate home care products to prepare and prime your skin for the procedure.
It is important to avoid sun exposure, tanning, exfoliation and non-prescribed skin care products before the treatment as this may affect the end result and result in unwanted side effects. By adhering to the pre-treatment skin preparation your results will be optimized with a lower risk of any side effects and downtime.
On the day of treatment your face will be cleansed and the peeling solution applied. Depending on the type of peel this will be left on for a set amount of time and either neutralized or washed off soon after. In some cases the peel may remain on your face and you will leave the clinic with the peel still on.
The treatment is not painful and many people simply feel a slight tingling and stinging sensation afterwards. In cases of deeper and stronger chemical peels the discomfort is a little bit more and a fan is used to cool the face during treatment. Following the treatment you will feel some slight tingling and the skin will look red and flushed.
The procedure can be performed as part of a package of different dermal treatments including BBL/IPL and skin needling or as a stand alone treatment on the day.
+ HOW LONG DOES THE TREATMENT LAST?
Skin improvements are subtle and results will be enhanced by completing the recommended course of treatments. Many find that after one treatment the skin has a healthier glow, with a reduction in pore size, acne and fine lines with a more even texture and tone.
The expected results for each particular type of chemical peel will be discussed during your consultation and treatment plan. Ongoing maintenance with home care products and regular treatments are essential to ensure long lasting results and healthy skin.
+ WHAT HAPPENS AFTER MY TREATMENT?
After a treatment your face will feel slightly red and irritated but makeup can be applied. After 3-5 days there may be some mild skin shedding and peeling. This depends on the strength and depth of the peel and can range from almost nothing with a superficial lactic peel to 5 days of shedding with a Jessner’s or TCA peel. In cases of deeper peels your skin can appear pink for a few months after treatment.
The downtime is minimal and aside from visible skin peeling many go back to work the following day. The down time for your particular course of chemical peels will be explained fully at your consultation.
It is important to follow your aftercare instructions and not to pick at any peeling as this can increase the risk of complications such as scarring and infection. Protecting your skin from the sun and avoiding any active home care products (such as vitamin A) is important as the skin is healing after the procedure.
+ ARE CHEMICAL PEELS SAFE?
Medical grade chemical peels are safe and effective with virtually no side effects. Medium and deep chemical peels are associated with more down time and possible side effects and some of these peels can only be performed by a doctor. Depending on the chemical peel course determined for you, the possible risks and side effects will be explained.
For any discomfort after the procedure we advise simple pain relief, cool packs and gels and frequent application of a broad spectrum SPF.
As chemical peels cause a mild exfoliation the risks are minimal. In some cases, abnormal pigmentation can occur such as post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. This can be minimized by avoiding the sun after your treatment, wearing broad spectrum SPF and if needed can be treated by prescription lightening creams. Picking and scratching at peeling skin after the treatment can also result in infection and scarring so it is important to leave the skin alone and trust in the healing process.