Health, Wellness & Beauty

The Skinny On Chemical Peels

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Chemicals peels are a relatively simple way to remove skin impurities ranging from fine lines and wrinkles to some scarring and discoloration.  By using different naturally derived substances and chemicals different types of peels offer varying results by removing dead skin cells and opening pores to active the grow of new skin cells.  Some peels can be done at home, some in spas, and others should only be performed by medical professionals.

Some chemical peels are very basic, safe, and can be performed at home.  The most commonly known is the alpha hydroxy peel.  Most chemicals are natural and many are found in every day use facial cleansers. Sometimes known as a “fruit peel” each acid in alpha hydroxy chemical peels can be traced back to a fruit. This gentle peel is performed at home with no need for medical assistance.

A slightly stronger peeling solution is called a beta hydroxy peel.  Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA).  It is found in most, if not all, facial cleansers that label themselves as acne fighting or pore cleansing.  As this suggests, BHA goes deeper than a general alpha peel and its chemical formula allows for entry into the pores for an even deeper cleanse.  This again can be performed alone at home, but has been known to cause slight dry skin if done to often.

There are two stronger peels that should be done with more precautions and the guiding hands of someone who is experienced in facial peels, like a plastic surgeon or esthetician. Trichloroacetic acid peels are much stronger peels and have a stricter set of guidelines, like protection from the sun for extended periods of time after the peel. As many layers of skin are removed with this peel, there is a healing time that can be as long as several days. The results however, are far more drastic than anything seen in an over the counter peel.  A trichloroacetic acid peel can remove discolored skin and rid skin of surface wrinkles.

A retinoic acid peel is another peel that must be done in the presence of a professional.  It too has drastic results as the trichloroacetic peel does.  Those who have experienced it mark more even skin tones and a reduction in the appearance of scarring.  The process varies from others though as the patient leaves with the peeling chemicals still applied to their skin.  Peeling continues over a course of a few days, depending on the specifics of the peel. Skin Lighteners like SkinBright or Meladerm cream are another way to even the skin tone.

Phenols peels are currently the most severe peel available.  Generally performed only once, a phenol peel removes enough skin that patients report a loss of deep-set wrinkles, age spots, and even precancerous grows.  This peel is very deep and can be very dangerous.  Being quite painful, the patient is always put under sedation and therefore this procedure is only done in a well equipped medical office.

All chemical peels have their own strengths and weaknesses, anything stronger than a beta hydroxy peel should be discussed with a professional.

Cleansing is another major factor in having beautiful skin. Cleansers of all types exist on the market, like makeup removers, milk cleansers, and more. You can even make your own cleansers at home, with natural ingredients that are probably already in your kitchen. Even splashing water on your face will help remove some dirt and oil, that will otherwise build up in the pores, and give your skin that “orange peel” look. As this is unattractive, it is important to develop, and stick to, a beauty regime that is perfect for your skin type.

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