Chemical Peels are professional treatments that deliver physical and visible improvements in the skin. The application of an enzyme or chemical exfoliant to the skin allows for controlled necrosis of the epidermis and/or the dermis cells resulting in the removal of skin lesion and imperfections, new cell growth producing healthier skin layers and improvement of the skin texture.
They are one of the most popular and effective non-invasive cosmetic procedures performed to rejuvenate and revitalise the appearance of the skin.
Can any skin type have a Chemical Peel?
Not everybody is suitable for chemical peeling particularly if they have delicate, reactive or thin skin. Enzymatic peels are based on the application of a digestive enzyme exfoliant to the skin to induce improved texture of the uppermost layer of epidermal tissue and are suitable for hypersensitive and ethnic skins.
Fitzpatrick types I, II and III are the best candidates for a chemical peel as they almost never develop post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Types IV –VI have a greater risk of pigmentary dyschromia. This does not mean clients with these skin types cannot undergo chemical peeling, however greater care should be exercised and the time from application to neutralisation should be minimised.
Type of Peeling Agent
There is a variety of different peeling agents that can be used in chemical peels, and a number of factors which the therapist will consider when advising on treatment, for example…
- Enzymes digest superficial dead skin cells
- AHA’s (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) break bonds between dead skin cells that form at the surface of the skin, and also act as a humectant, absorbing moisture from the atmosphere
- BHA’s (Beta Hydroxy Acids) are ideal for treating acne prone skin as they are oil-soluble and penetrate into the sebaceous gland.
- PHA’s (Polyhydroxy Acids) are known to modulate keratinisation in the top layer reducing thickened skin. They also contain antioxidant properties reducing free radicals.
Depth of Peel
With the majority of acids such as Jessner and TCA the depth of penetration is increased as concentration increases. However there are limitations, AHAs and BHAs cannot penetrate as far as the dermis no matter how high their concentration is.
The deeper the peel the more dramatic the results, but also the longer the downtime and healing process. Medik8 technology enables us to target specific solutions for all skin types working at superficial levels with maximum client comfort and minimal downtime.
pH vs. Percentage
The pH is a crucial factor, the lower the pH, the more acidic the solution and therefore it will penetrate the skin deeper and quicker.
Our skin is made up of protein, water and other minor structural chemicals. Proteins are complex chains of amino acids which are very sensitive to the level of pH surrounding them. When the skin’s proteins react with an acid in a low pH, coagulation occurs; the lower the pH the stronger the acid and therefore more coagulation occurs.
Indications for Peels
The main indications for peels are:
- Pigmentation (age spots, melasma, sun damage)
- Acne & general scarring
- Rough skin, dry skin and dull complexion
Peels are generally done on the face but can be applied to other body parts.