Chemical peeling is one of the most effective ways to combat skin aging. Chemical peels are one of the most frequently performed aesthetic procedures. Its popularity continues to grow because of the versatility of conditions where chemical peels are of significant benefit. In addition to the topical preparations such as over-the-counter and prescription creams, chemical peels are one of the earliest forms of treatment adopted by many patients. At the same time, there is much confusion and misunderstanding surrounding chemical peels that prevents more of us from enjoying their undeniable benefits. Let’s go through the important facts about chemical peels and their uses in modern skin care regiments. Chemical peels have been around for eons. In fact, the earliest peels date back to Ancient Egypt when Cleopatra and her crowd turned to the active ingredient in sour milk to exfoliate and rejuvenate their skin. In the Middle Ages, people applied wine to derive the same benefits. Chemical peels have evolved and become rather sophisticated since the days of yore, but their main mode of action remains the same. Chemical peels use a chemical solution to remove the damaged outer layers of your skin and improve its texture.
Broadly speaking, chemical peels can be divided into several categories based on the depth of penetration in the skin. Superficial chemical peels create an injury to the epidermis – the outermost layer of the skin. As such, they are recommended for the treatment of skin conditions that primarily affect the epidermis. Conditions such as acne, actinic keratosis, superficial (epidermal) melasma, mottled skin pigmentation, superficial wrinkling as well as mild photo-damage can greatly benefit from properly selected and applied superficial chemical peels.
Medium depth chemical peels create an injury that extends through the epidermis and affecting the superficial portion of the dermis (upper reticular dermis). In proper hands, these peels are very effective for the conditions that affect the epidermis as well as superficial portion of the dermis. Substantial improvement can be achieved in acne, actinic keratosis, scars, mild to moderate facial wrinkling and, in selected cases, in melasma.
The therapeutic effects of medium depth chemical peels go far beyond what can be achieved with superficial peels and as such are selected for patients who desire substantial results. Unlike following superficial chemical peels, there is partial or complete removal of the epidermis following medium depth peels. This leads to the initiation of skin healing mechanisms that are partly responsible for achieving final therapeutic and aesthetic results.
Optimal patient’s skin preparation prior to medium depth peel will improve healing time, decrease the chances of complications as well as improve the final outcome. Post peel care is also an important part of patient management. In the first week following medium depth chemical peel, it is important to avoid drying of the skin.
Generally speaking, patients are asked to apply moisturizing preparations and wash their faces regularly. Full skin re-epithelialization is usually achieved by day five following the procedure. In addition, sun protection in the future is advisable to help prevent pigmentary complications and maintain results. Although one medium depth chemical peel can achieve desired affect in most patients, repeated treatments may be needed to optimize the desired results.