Facial chemical peels unveiled

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We chat to skincare expert Juliette Armand and training co-ordinator Liza-Marie Prinsloo to educate us on chemical peels. This is a popular treatment performed during winter.

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What is a chemical peel?

A chemical peel is a treatment in which an acid solution is used to remove the damaged outer layers of the skin. In performing chemical peels, physicians apply alpha hydroxy acids (AHA), beta hydroxy acids (BHA), Trichloroacetic acid (TCA), or phenol to the skin.

The chemical peel is one of the oldest cosmetic procedures in the world, and was performed in ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome to help people achieve smoother, more beautiful skin.

Typically administered as a facial peel, a chemical peel enhances and smoothes the texture of the skin. It is an effective treatment for facial blemishes, wrinkles, and uneven skin pigmentation. Chemical peels exfoliate the outer layers of dead skin, revealing a new skin layer with improved tone, texture, and colour.

A breakdown of chemical peels:

  • Chemical peels higher than 10% solution is prohibited during summer months because of the increased risk of photosensitivity.
  • Chemical peels should not be performed on pregnant woman or nursing mothers; the acids are proven to pass into the blood stream and reach the placenta. The skin is also hyper sensitive during pregnancy and if you peel the skin during pregnancy you run the risk of developing post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation because the cause of pigmentation is hormonal. The only safe acid to use on the skin during pregnancy is Lactic acid because the mother is producing it naturally.
  • The best outcomes will be achieved if a client does not take any acne medication, such as Accutane┬«, for 6 months prior to a chemical peel. The same applies for any derivative of Vitamin A, such as Retin A┬«, for 6 weeks prior to a chemical peel.

Who are ideal candidates for a superficial chemical peel?

Good candidates for superficial chemical peels are patients who have relatively mild skin imperfections and conditions, and who want to rejuvenate and enhance the appearance of their skin without the recovery time of harsher treatments.

Superficial chemical peels are a safe and effective way to improve the look of sun-damaged skin, and they are helpful in reducing mild acne scars and fine lines. Because these superficial chemical peels exfoliate the surface of the skin and unclog pores, they are also considered an effective type of chemical peel for acne treatment.

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