Chemical peeling: what is it, why is it needed, types, results before and after [expert opinion]

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What is a chemical peel in terms of cosmetology?

Chemical peeling is an intensive exfoliation of the stratum corneum of the epidermis. While we are young, the skin gets rid of “dead” cells by itself, but after 25-30 years, keratinization processes gradually increase. Then acids come to the rescue. Peeling is used in cosmetology for another reason – it gives a consistently good result for facial skin with various aesthetic problems, whether it is a pit after chicken pox or black dots – pores clogged with a mixture of sebum and dead skin cells.

A chemical peel based on a high acid lotion, performed in a salon or clinic by a qualified beautician, is less traumatic than a mechanical facial cleansing, and faster than acid-based products intended for home use.

What are the benefits of a chemical peel for facial skin?

Women who keep up with modern (and scientifically based) trends in self-care, sign up for chemical peels not because it is fashionable, but because peeling is really good for the skin of the face. What exactly?

  • Peeling removes uneven relief caused by impaired skin keratinization.
  • Lightens or completely removes pigmentation of any nature (solar, post-inflammatory, hormonal).
  • Reduces scars of various origins, including post-acne.
  • Cleans pores, resulting in porous skin becomes smooth and well-groomed.
  • Restores the natural pH of the epidermis.
  • Reduces the depth and length of wrinkles.
  • Corrects hyperkeratosis – thickening of the stratum corneum.
  • Renews cells, restoring the skin to a fresh, rested appearance.

In addition, in response to a controlled chemical burn, which is a chemical peel, the skin begins to actively synthesize hyaluronic acid and connective fibers of the intercellular tissue. As a result, the processes of aging and skin glycation slow down.

What result can be obtained from a course of chemical peels?

The most important thing, as dermatologists say, is to find your acid. Often you have to go through several options, taking into account the individual characteristics of the skin.

In cosmetology, four types of acids are currently actively used: AHA (glycolic, mandelic, tartaric, lactic), BHA (salicylic, beta-hydroxypropionic), PHA (gluconolactone) and carboxylic (azelaic). Let us dwell on those that have received wide circulation and are popular among clients of aesthetic cosmetology clinics:

  • Peeling with salicylic acid: the skin is cleared of comedones and blackheads, the production of sebum by the sebaceous glands is normalized, the course of acne is facilitated.
  • Peeling with AHA acids: the skin acquires an even tone and relief, the normal synthesis of protein fibers responsible for the youthfulness of the skin (collagen and elastin) and hyaluronic acid is restored.
  • Peeling with retinoic acid: wrinkles and folds are smoothed, the tendency of the epidermis to pigmentation decreases, skin turgor improves.

Types of chemical peels for the face

In addition to the type of acid, the doctor chooses the depth of peeling exposure, taking into account the condition of the skin and its degree of reactivity.

Superficial peeling

AHA and PHA acids are usually involved in superficial chemical peeling of the skin of the face. It is suitable for both oily and dry skin.

Affecting only the stratum corneum of the epidermis, peeling restores radiance to the skin, reduces superficial pigmentation and minimizes comedones. Can be used as part of a complex cosmetic procedure. For example, before a professional rejuvenating or regulating the sebaceous glands mask.

After superficial peeling, you will not have to change plans for the week, since it is practically not accompanied by visually noticeable peeling.

Median peeling

The active substances of the median chemical peeling for facial skin penetrate all layers of the epidermis and can reach the dermis, the middle layer of the skin.

Peeling of this type is used in therapy against deep pigmentation, acne, post-acne and signs of aging: enlarged pores due to weakness of turgor, wrinkles and creases. Along with laser resurfacing, median peeling smoothes out scars that have appeared as a result of trauma or surgery.

Deep peeling

Deep chemical peeling penetrates to the level of the dermis, where it conducts its anti-aging work. In terms of effect, it can be compared with a surgical facelift, and peeling has only one minus – it is followed by a long recovery period, stretching for weeks and months.

All this time, the skin will look, to put it mildly, unaesthetic: the peeling crusts cannot be camouflaged with foundation, and it is not recommended to force exfoliation with home scrubs. In modern aesthetic medicine, deep peeling is rarely used.

How is a chemical peel done by a cosmetologist

Typically, the procedure consists of five steps.

  1. Cleansing the skin of sebum, care products and makeup.
  2. Covering the skin of the face with an acidic composition. Doctors prefer to apply chemical peels with a synthetic fan brush or cotton pad.
  3. Exposure from 10 minutes to an hour. The duration depends on the type of peeling and the degree of skin sensitivity.
  4. Neutralization of the chemical composition with an alkaline solution. This step is optional, it is carried out only in two cases: the skin responds to acids with irritation or the procedure uses a composition with a very low pH.
  5. Washing. Unlike home remedies with acids, professional formulations must be washed off with water at the end of the procedure.

You may need a soothing mask after the procedure. And yes, sunscreen. Now the skin is especially sensitive, the doctor must ensure that it is protected from factors that provoke irritation and hyperpigmentation. Chemical peeling can be carried out both course and one-time.

Answers to frequently asked questions about peeling

With exfoliating products for home skin care, it’s simple: avoid hypersensitivity, do not overuse acidic serums, and remember to apply sunscreen every day. Professional chemical peeling, on the other hand, raises many questions. Vichy experts answer the most relevant of them.

When to do a chemical peel?

Medium and deep peels significantly increase skin sensitization up to photodermatitis. For this reason, they are held from October to March, during the months of low insolation.

Soft superficial peels can be included in the summer plan of aesthetic procedures. PHA acids, as well as almond and lactic acids, are quite delicate for the warm season. However, sun protection is essential after light chemical exfoliation.

To whom is peeling contraindicated?

A contraindication may be very sensitive reactive skin, multiple active rashes, unhealed lesions, undiagnosed neoplasms, progressive rosacea, allergies to peeling components, acute respiratory and some chronic diseases.

Also, the doctor will offer you another method of dealing with skin imperfections in the event that you have a predisposition to keloidosis – the appearance of keloid scars. But this is a rather rare skin disease for northern countries.

Is it possible to achieve a similar result from peeling at home?

Modern home skin care products act more slowly, but allow you to achieve the effect of a professional chemical peel. These are, first of all, creams and serums with a high content of AHA-, BHA-acids or pure retinol.

And yet, we often advise combining them with procedures by a cosmetologist, especially if we are dealing with mature skin, deep hyperpigmentation, multiple post-acne, and some other conditions.

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