As the name implies, a chemical peel is a procedure in which a chemical solution is applied to the skin to remove the top layers. During this procedure, chemical solutions will be applied to the area being treated, which causes the skin to exfoliate and eventually peel off. Once this happens, the new skin underneath is often smoother, appears less wrinkled, and may have less damage.
Chemical peels are used to treat wrinkles, discolored skin and scars — usually on the face and neck. Depending on the skin issues being addressed, there are three depths of chemical peel:
Superficial peels: also known as light peel only affects the outermost layer of the skin. Mild acids like alpha-hydroxy acid are used to gently exfoliate the skin. It is used to treat acne, wrinkles and uneven skin tone.
Medium peels: which use trichloroacetic or glycolic acid to reach the epidermis and dermis of skills. It is more effective for removing damaged skin cells and multiple sessions may be needed to achieve desired result.
Deep peels: fully penetrate the middle layer of the skin to remove damaged skin cells; these peels often use phenol or tricholoracetic acid.
A chemical peel can cause various side effects, including: Redness, scabbing, changes in skin colour, hyperpigmentation and swelling. A chemical peel can also lead to a bacterial, fungal or viral infection, such as a flare-up of the herpes virus.
Generally chemical peels are used in the treatment of wrinkles and fine lines, sun damage, acne scars, hyperpigmentation, scars, melisma, uneven skin tone or redness.