In a world where skin rejuvenation treatments have become both numerous and complex, the traditional chemical peel is still the preferred choice for many patients. Not only does the chemical peel have a proven track record, it’s uniquely efficient: A single deep peel can prompt dramatic overall rejuvenation. By contrast, most lasers and abrasive devices must be administered several times to create similar results. If you want to press “reset” on your skin in time for Halloween, a chemical peel might be exactly what you’re looking for.
How Do Chemical Peels Work?
Some people are intimidated by the term “chemical peel,” imagining that this procedure involves the use of harsh solvents. Fortunately, this isn’t the case; chemical peels actually use natural, organic acids to gently break down the uppermost layer of the skin. Some chemical peels are made up of lactic acid, for example, the compound that gives sour milk its bitter flavor. Others are comprised of salicylic acid (derived from willow bark) or glycolic acid, which occurs in a number of sucrose-rich plants.
The peeling process is beneficial for skin health in several different ways: First, it exfoliates the pores, dissolving debris that’s become lodged deep within hair follicles and killing bacteria. The acids then slowly remove damaged and discolored skin cells by causing the most superficial layer of the skin to flake off. Finally, while producing a new layer of healthy skin cells (to replace the dead layer that’s been peeled off), the body increases collagen production. This causes some of the most significant anti-aging effects associated with chemical peels: Collagen makes our skin both stronger and firmer, so collagen stimulation can tighten areas of loose skin and smooth away wrinkles. In fact, collagen depletion is responsible for most of the visible signs of aging. (Collagen production gradually decreases after age 30.)
What Conditions Can Chemical Peels Treat?
Chemical peels are used to decrease the frequency and severity of acne breakouts in younger patients. Salicylic acid (BHA) peels are extremely effective when used for this purpose. In fact, research has shown that BHA peels are more adept at fighting acne than any other leading skin rejuvenation treatment. Chemical peels can also be used to minimize the appearance of acne scars.
In more mature patients, chemical peels are used to erase fine lines and wrinkles while improving the skin’s overall firmness and elasticity. They’re also great for treating signs of sun damage, such as areas of thickened, leathery skin and sun spots. Deeper chemical peels can even get rid of spider veins and reduce the redness associated with rosacea. At PSSF, we often use chemical peel therapy on patients who have had facelift surgery. Chemical peels can reverse the superficial signs of aging, while facelift surgery tackles any underlying structural issues.
Administering a chemical peel safely requires a great deal of skill and knowledge. Your plastic surgeon must be able to choose the right strength of peel to meet your needs, without causing you any unexpected discomfort. For this reason, it’s important to choose a board-certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist to administer your chemical peel. Contacting the experts at PSSF to arrange a chemical peel consultation will ensure that your skin rejuvenation journey is stress-free, from beginning to end.