Our skin is constantly being renewed: Every 27 days, the outermost layer of your skin is shed and new cells take its place. In young people who have excellent genes, this natural process keeps the skin looking healthy and radiant. Unfortunately, aging, genetics, and hormones can sabotage your skin’s ability to heal itself. These factors can alter the deeper layers of the dermis, creating chronic conditions and permanent blemishes. Cosmetic skin rejuvenation—which intensifies the skin’s natural rate of renewal—can reverse these unwanted changes.
Though there are a number of options for effective skin rejuvenation, chemical peels remain a popular choice for our patients. These versatile treatments can be adjusted to address a number of different skin conditions, and they range in potency from mild to very strong.
What is a Chemical Peel?
The name “chemical peel” is somewhat misleading: Chemical peels don’t contain harsh synthetic chemicals. Instead, they utilize organic acids (such as citric acid, glycolic acid, lactic acid, and malic acid) to gently exfoliate the skin. These acids dissolve the horny outer layer of the skin, removing imperfections and stimulating the production of healthy new skin cells. As the skin heals after a chemical peel, new collagen and elastin are created. These compounds make the skin stronger and firmer and lock in moisture.
What Can a Chemical Peel Treat?
Chemical peels create more dramatic results than natural skin rejuvenation because they’re capable of targeting damaged and discolored cells within the dermis. Different peels are available to treat all of the following skin problems:
- Fine lines and wrinkles.
Chemical exfoliation removes aged skin cells and tightens the skin by increasing collagen synthesis.
- Acne and acne scars.
Chemical peels are an excellent option for treating acne that hasn’t responded to topical medication. Repeated light peels remove pore-clogging debris, shrink pore size, and reduce the amount of harmful bacteria living on the skin. Deeper peels can remove fibrous scar tissue, smoothing away acne scars.
- Age spots, melasma, and other forms of skin discoloration.
By dissolving discolored skin cells, chemical peels cause dark blemishes to gradually fade away.
Chemical peels also have the power to make topical treatments more effective. Removing built-up dead skin cells and excess oil allows topical creams to fully penetrate the skin, maximizing their absorption. If you’re using creams to manage acne or reduce the visible signs of aging, you’ll notice that they work a lot better after you have your skin resurfaced.
Though chemical peels have a broad range of potential applications, there are some conditions they can’t treat. If you have severe dermatitis, psoriasis, or another inflammatory skin condition, then you should avoid this treatment as it may make your symptoms worse. People with very sensitive skin should opt for microdermabrasion instead as it’s non-irritating.
Do Chemical Peels Hurt?
Chemical peel formulas have been refined since this treatment was introduced in the 1990s; today, most peels are gentle and painless. Mild solutions won’t even cause your skin to crack and peel, though some light flaking is common. Deeper peels may cause some skin irritation, but this symptom is generally manageable with the aid of medicated creams.
If you’re worried about discomfort following chemical exfoliation, talk to Dr. Grace about your concerns. He can suggest a light peel that will meet your needs and apply your treatment in stages. (Light peels create more subtle results, so you may need to have a few treatments to achieve your goals.)
Lean More About Chemical Peels
Chemical peels gently and safely encourage your skin to heal itself by speeding up its natural cycle of rejuvenation. If you’d like to learn more about the many benefits of chemical skin resurfacing, contact The Grace Clinic to arrange a personal consultation.