Understanding the Different Types of Chemicals Peels

Understandably, the term “chemical peel” may bring nightmarish Freddy Krueger-esque images to mind, but that’s far from the reality of it. If you look at the active ingredients in your face wash, moisturizer, or toner, you’ll see many of the same ingredients. Chemical peels are simply more concentrated and help remove dead skin cells resulting in that infamous peel; it may not be the prettiest facial, but it certainly won’t hurt you. If you’re looking to reveal fresh, radiant skin, but don’t know the first thing about chemical peels, you’re not alone! Let’s take an in-depth look at the different types of chemical peels.

Superficial Chemical Peels

Superficial peels, also known as light chemical peels, are the gentlest form of chemical peels and only target the very top layer of the skin. Chemical peels provide you with all of the benefits of exfoliating your face but in a much stronger and faster form. These are the only peels that licensed estheticians can do. Typically, a superficial peel will use AHAs like lactic, salicylic, glycolic, or malic acid. These peels are ideal if you want to reduce the appearance of dark spots, fine lines, wrinkles, or mild acne. Due to the short recovery time, this peel is best used if you have two to three days of recovery and want to look stunning for an upcoming event.

Medium Chemical Peels

Medium chemical peels are aptly named because they penetrate your skin’s middle layers. They’re best suited to tackle acne scars, advanced irregular pigmentation, or sun damage. However, only a dermatologist can do medium to deep chemical peels. You may see higher concentrations of the AHAs used in superficial peels or a chemical known as trichloroacetic acid (TCA). Remember that the average healing time is about two weeks, so if you have a birthday, wedding, or any other event around the corner, avoid a medium peel.

Deep Chemical Peels

Deep peels penetrate much deeper into the dermis layers than a medium peel and take about two to four weeks to heal fully. These peels tackle severe acne, hyperpigmentation, sun damage, or melasma. Higher concentrations of glycolic acid and TCA can get used, but most deep chemical peels use phenol, also known as carbolic acid. Even though your skin should heal in about a month, expect a lot of redness and swelling. These things are normal, and most attest that the result is worth it. 

Which One Is Right for You?

Determining which type of chemical peel is right for you depends on how sensitive your skin is, what issue you’re looking to tackle, and how long you’re okay with having to heal. If you’re unsure about your skin sensitivity, your esthetician or dermatologist can help you. In truth, you don’t need severe skin issues to get a deeper peel; it all depends on the results you want to see and how fast you want to see them. Again, if you’re worried about a peel being too strong, talk to your dermatologist. They’ll help you determine the best chemical peel for your skin type and problem.

Now that you know more about the different types of chemical peels, what’s stopping you from moving another step forward on your skincare journey?


Candid Mama

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