The Myths and Truths about Chemical Peels

The LOWDOWN on chemical peels 10 MYTHS and TRUTHS

Celebrity favourite chemical peels are a great way to keep skin looking fresh, smooth and youthful, but despite their popularity many myths remain about what they can do, how they work and what they entail. To help dispel any false ideas about chemical peels we’re stepping in with the facts .A chemical skin peel is one of our favourite ways to freshen up dull skin and clear out clogged pores. Exfoliation gets rid of all your dead skin cells without any harsh scrubbing. It also improves skin texture, refines open pores, refreshes the skin and improves all the signs of aging.

How your skin reacts to a chemical skin peel depends on a number of factors, for example the strength of the peel, how tolerant your skin is and your skin type. We can advise you on the most suitable peel for your skin and also discuss how light or heavy you would like to go.

Stronger peels may have considerable downtime. However, our most popular skin peels are the light superficial peels which will leave the skin red for only 2 - 3 hours and still give beautiful results. A superficial skin peel promotes even, controlled and accelerated exfoliation without pain or days of downtime.

Myth # 1: Chemical peels are only for winter.

There are many different TYPES of peels, Light peels can be done all year round as long as you are not actively tanning and apply your high protection sunscreen daily.

Light peel - 4-6 sessions are recommended to start, thereafter one peel every 3months is recommended for maintenance.

Medium depth - 1-4 sessions is required, thereafter one peel every 6 months for maintenance

Deep peel - 1 session is required, thereafter 1 peel every 6 months for maintenance.

Myth # 2:   All chemical peels are the same.

Not all peels are created equal. “Chemical peel” is actually just a general classification for a number of chemical treatments used to exfoliate and rejuvenate the skin. Some are stronger than others and they provide varying results depending on the skin-saving effects you’re after.

Myth # 3: Getting a chemical peels means lots of downtime

Post-peel recovery time depends on the type and strength of peel you’ve had, but many don’t call for downtime. For example, the common alpha-hydroxy and glycolic acid peels have little or no recovery time.

There are deeper peels such as TCA that are stronger and may leave visible peeling and slight redness. For instance doing a series of these peels can give you the results of one very deep peel without the downtime

Myth 4 #: They cause your skin to literally “peel off”.

Contrary to what you might think, nothing actually ‘peels off’ during a chemical peel. A chemical solution is applied to the face, and works by dissolving the upper layers of the skin. As the tissue is dissolved, a wound is created on the skin which stimulates the body’s healing response, causing new tissue to emerge, which is smoother and has improved texture.

Myth # 5: Chemicals Peels Remove Deep Scars

Chemical peels do not remove deep scars, but only minimal scarring such as age spots or freckles. A laser treatment for example Profractional XC Laser may be more beneficial if the scarring is more severe.

Myth # :6 Chemical peels are bad for you.

The word “chemical” might not sound like something you should ever associate with your skin, but when performed correctly chemical peels are a safe way to improve your skin.

Not all chemicals are bad. The word chemical often scares individuals from receiving these beneficial treatments. Yes, it a chemical, but so is anything formulated from a chemist, including the ibuprofen you take for a headache or the hydrogen peroxide you put on a cut. Actually the active acids in most chemical peels are natural. Glycolic acid comes from sugar cane, lactic acid from sour milk and salicylic acid from wintergreen. These products are safe to use as long as all risks and possible contraindications are assessed before the treatment. Also the word "acid" can have negative connotations. People are often taught that acids are dangerous because there are some that can severely burn the skin, such as battery acid. The fact is that some of the most beneficial non-irritating ingredients, like hyaluronic acid, actually help to heal the skin and cause no exfoliation at all.

Myth # 7: Chemical peels hurt.

During some peels (a TCA or Phenol peel for example), the chemicals act as an anaesthetic so pain is minimal. During alpha hydroxy acid peels, which are milder than TCA or Phenol peels, the only feeling is a slight stinging sensation during the treatment.

Myth # 8: You should only get one if you have skin problems.

While there are chemical peels that specifically target acne, acne scarring or sun spots, the most popular use of chemical peels is for facial skin regeneration (i.e. getting your glow back), and they’re ideal for anyone who wants to improve the look of their skin.

Chemical peels can be beneficial for most skin types including sensitive skin. Chemical peels not only treat problem prone skin, but they can also be preventative as well. The normal rate of skin cell turnover is between 21-28 days. Depending on the amount of damage in our skin, this rate tends to slow down dramatically usually starting in our late 20's. By receiving very mild skin peels such as alpha and beta hydroxy acids which are both superficial peeling treatments this will help to increase this cellular turnover to stimulate healthy cell growth while exfoliating dead cells. Prevention for the skin will only be effective if proper skincare products are used along with proper sun protection.

There are many questions as to why treatments are effective and why they work. The best way to ensure you are receiving the treatment for you is to do your homework. Go to a reputable place that can answer all of your questions and educate you thoroughly on the procedure that you are receiving.

Myth # 9: Anyone can perform a chemical peel

Chemical peels are often performed at spas, but keep in mind that the person administering the treatment might not be as experienced as they should be. Any skin treatments should be performed either by or under the guidance of a board certified physician with knowledge of the skin to ensure optimal results and a safe procedure.

Myth # 10: They take a long time.

No time? No problem. Generally a chemical peel won’t take more than 20 minutes. The skin is cleansed and a chemical solution is applied. The specific amount of time your treatment takes will depend on the type and strength of peel, but the procedure is not usually a lengthy one.

If you’ve been looking for an effective way to rejuvenate and refresh your skin getting a chemical peel might be the complexion fix you’re looking for. Forget the myths and focus on the facts when deciding whether a chemical peel is right for you.


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Dermology’s goal is to produce the best results possible for all our patients, however, everyone is different. Responsiveness to procedures, protocols or ingredients may vary from person to person. Consultation are compulsory.