What is a chemical peel? It can conjure images of faces peeling off, we remember Samantha from Sex In The City post ‘refreshing peel’ hiding her face or worse the dreadful images of ‘10 Years Younger’ with black skin peeling off the face to reveal baby fresh pink skin. Whilst these are indeed all chemical peels, there are three main types and I will go through them now in more detail:
The Deep Peel
Firstly, the surgical ‘Deep Peel’, usually Phenol (includes carbolic acid) and it would be usually performed by a Plastic Surgeon or similar, under general anaesthetic or sedation and you have to be cardiac cleared to have this procedure. Your skin is prepped around 6 weeks in advance and pain medication is required around a week post peel, a crust will appear and you will experience a lot of swelling, redness and actual peeling of skin and you MUST stay out of the sun indefinitely. It will take around 3-6 months to fully recover and your skin can improve for up to a year. It is a very serious procedure and one that should not be undertaken lightly. A deep peel can cost anything from £2000 upwards depending on who does it and where you go.
The Medium Peel
The second type is a medical ‘Medium Peel’ which is usually TCA (trichloroacetic acid) which is not as deep as a Phenol peel but is deeper than a ‘Light Peel’. There is an element of downtime following a TCA peel, a superficial crust forms over the treated area, then flakes off in three to seven days. The skin will be red and swollen and skin may initially appear red, but the discolouration will fade within a week or so and healing time is approximately two weeks and skin peeling is obvious. You must avoid the sun for around 3 months and from then on always use at least SPF50. These peels cost around £200-£400 and for both medium and deep peels you would need to take anti-virals beforehand if you are prone to herpes virus (cold sores).
Different peel depth diagram
The Light Peel
Light Peels (Superficial Peel AHA or BHA) is the chemical peel that I frequently perform in my clinic. It addresses a variety of skin issues and I customise every blend dependent on your skin requirement. This is a factor in your downtime although generally speaking, there is very little. You can return to your day to day business immediately but avoiding sun exposure, saunas, and other things that could irritate your skin for around one week. If you consider the TCA medium peel and the downtime associated with it, I can achieve the same results over a short course of around 4-6 light peels, again depending on your desired results but in a more gentle and gradual way. As the skin will only heal effectively within it’s own capacity to do so, the peel must be tailored to suit your skin type which is why progressive treatment approaches are far better than aggressive ones.
So now you are clear on the differences on the variations of chemical peels and what I offer, who do they suit and what are the benefits for your skin?
Good candidates for my light chemical peels are clients who want to rejuvenate and enhance the appearance of their skin without the recovery time of harsher treatments. The AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid) and BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid) chemical peels that I use include the following acids which are always customised for your skin: Glycolic, Mandelic, Kojic, Salicylic, Lactic, Phytic acids when blended together in certain quantities can address so many skin concerns.
They are such a safe and effective way to improve the look of hyperpigmentation, age spots, sun-damaged skin and smoothing skin texture. They are helpful in reducing acne scars and fine lines and give general skin rejuvenation by brightening dull and sallow skin. It may surprise you to know that I can blend acids to help for troubled and sensitive skins and some of these acids actually have anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties which are particularly good for acne conditions because they unclog pores and considered very effective as acne treatments and great for oily skin.
Client after two chemical peels
Skin improvements start immediately following your first peel and although you won’t actually see your skin exfoliating (you may get some dryness and very light flaking on day 2-3), you’ll soon see the smoother, younger-looking skin hiding beneath which will continue to improve with each peel. I always recommend that you switch over to our pharmaceutical grade skincare range, Dermatude. When we work on your skin on a course, it becomes very receptive to the active ingredients in these products. It is a fantastic way to accelerate results and get you to your optimum skin health from the start. Once your skin is where it needs to be, it is simply a matter of getting on to maintenance treatments monthly or less depending on your skin profile.