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Understanding Skin Peels

16/02/2016

The concept of a skin peel is not new and often when we mention it to new clients they back away with images of Kim Cattrall's Sex And The City character Samantha Jones and the infamous 'I've had a little something done' scene going through their mind. The truth is that Skin peels aren't at all scary and as long as they are administered by a trained professional and the skin is suitably prepped there is very little downtime. Here we run through how peels work to help you get a greater understanding of what they can do. 

Stories of peeling date right back to the time of Cleopatra in Ancient Egypt as well as the medical traditions traced back 5,000 years to the natives of South Asia and India. Demand for peels these days is strong, and there are plenty of choices not only for clients but also for medical professionals. 

What can actually be achieved by peeling? 

The main aim of peeling is to visibly improve the structure of the skin. The can be achieved by merely accelerating the natural exfolation process, by destroying dead and dry layers of the epidermis or by protein coagulation. Improvement in the structure of your skin will help combat signs of ageing (lines, wrinkles) and smooth the skins surface texture (reduce pore size, remove dead, rough skin) to reveal a revitalised complextion that is common with more youthful skin. 

Peels are are categorised into three depths of skin penetration, with the vast majority falling in to the superficial category. There are then medium depth peels and relatively few deep dermis peels performed in the UK. 

Superficial Peels

Most superficial peeling is achieved by applying topical ingredients to the skin in conjunction withprocedures such as Microdermabrasion rather than a peel treatment. Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) have been applied as topical preparations and peeling agents for more than forty years and most are derived from fruits, nuts and diary products. The most commonly used AHA is Glycolic Acid which is used to treat photoageing (sun damage and ageing skin caused by UV exposure/sunbathing). Glycolic acid helps to increase the thickness of the skins outer layers as well as improve collagen density and improve skins elasticity. Glycolic acid peels are formulated of strengths of up to 70%. 

Retinol or Vitamin A and Lactic acids are also often used in superficial peels to help reduce pigmentation and uneven skin tone. 

Superficial peels have little down time, skin is usually slightly pink for a few hours following treatment you may get some dry skin in the days following as you shed dead skin cells. 

Medium Depth Peels

For a stronger medium depth peel we would look to use a TCA (Trichoroacetic acid) which became popular in the 1960's and is now widely used in the aesthetic industry. Low strength TCA peels (up up 20% strength) can reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles and higher strength TCA peels (upto 40% strength) can help to treat deeper lines, scarring and even hyperpigmentation. 

Medium depth peels require a little more downtime that superficial peels as you expect and actual peel of a layer of skin. Skin can be pink/slightly red for a day or so following treatment and peeling of the skin normally starts around 2-3 days post treatment and can last for a few days. Many clients book this treatment on a Wednesday or Thursday evening so the skin has settled for work the next day and any peeling will take place over the weekend. 

So which peel do I use and why?

Before having any peel you will need to have a full skin consultation in which your aesthetician will decide what peels are suitable for your skin. There are many important factors that will be discussed including:

  • Your main skin concern -  lines and wrinkles? spots? uneven skin tone? 
  • Your medical history and any medical conditions or allergies that may affect your suitability to certain ingredients. 
  • Your skin type and tone
  • If you've had peels in the past and whether you were happy with the results. 
  • To check you can follow the pre and post treatment skincare advised. 

Before peel treatment for acne and post one treatment. A course of six peels with treatment every two-four weeks is recommended to get maxumum results. 

As with any skin treatment lifestyle factors and work commitments can affect the results but with a strong track record and years of evidence supporting the results they can achieve skin peels are only growing in popularity. They also work very well in combintation with other professional skincare treatments such as micro-needling, mesotherapy, laser resurfacing, dermal fillers and skin boosters

If you would like to find out more about what peels would be suitable for your skin then book a free consultation with one of our skincare experts online or call your nearest clinic on 0800 24 25 145 and discover a fresher, healthier looking you in no time!