NOT ALL PEELS WERE CREATED EQUAL
Updated: Jun 27
Chemical Peels have gained much popularity over the last few years and yet its still a big mystery to most people on what it is and how it works.
First let's get into what a Chemical Peel is, essentially its an exfoliant for the skin. Chemical Peels work by breaking down the bonds that hold skin cells together, enabling the cells to slough off naturally in the following days. The sloughing process removes dead, dull, damaged skin cells from the stratum corneum which is the outermost layer of the skin. Removing these cells is vital to rejuvenation as the majority of impurities and visible damage on our skin are located within this skin strata.
To varying degrees peels can help lighten hyperpigmentation, reduce acne, smooth skin texture from scarring and wrinkles, tighten the skin and improve hydration. Overall you can expect your skin to have that beautiful healthy glow after a peel.
These days you can find peels everywhere from Shoppers Drug Mart to Sephora to Spas and Medispas alike but what's the difference?
Strength is the biggest factor here and most of the times its difficult to determine. Peels will generally list a percentage of its active peeling ingredients to show the "strength" of the product but did you know that the pH balance of the formulation matters even more than the percentage? The average pH level of healthy skin is around 5.0 which is on the slightly acidic side (see chart below). So even if you took two different peels listed with 20% Glycolic Acid they could react completely different on your skin depending on the pH level. Between the two formulations, the one with a pH that is further away from the skin's natural pH will be the one that is actually stronger.
Any over the counter peels are likely to give your skin a nice refreshed glow and a smooth touch but if your needs are beyond that, then consider a visit to a medical spa where they will have much more effective peel options and be prepared for some flakey skin too. The biggest question I get about peels is how the skin will look after. To further emphasize on how widely the results of peels can vary I've provided a range of photos that show roughly how much flaking skin is to be expected after a peel depending on the strength. Shedding like a snake can be a desired outcome but if that's not your cup of tea than you can certainly opt for a milder peel treatment with a less aggressive reaction.
FLAKING AFTER A MILD CHEMICAL PEEL
(can be little to no flaking at all):
FLAKING AFTER A MODERATE CHEMICAL PEEL:
FLAKING AFTER AN AGGRESSIVE CHEMICAL PEEL:
This last photo shows a very realistic expectation of skin after a moderate chemical peel. Skin appears less pigmented, smoother, hydrated and more radiant overall.
If you're in the market for a peel know that you can get just about any strength you desire but of course you should match that accordingly to the concerns of your skin. A good skin care provider will never recommend a strength of peel greater than your concerns as it is not necessary and can be associated with unwarranted risks. Seek the advice of a professional skin therapist to know which peels will be ideal for your skin type and condition (because thats an entire chapter of information on its own).
At Skin Worthy, we value educating our patients on their skin concerns, if you are looking to experience a chemical peel or would like to learn more, we encourage you to come in for a complimentary consultation. We will discuss your goals, assess your skin and decide the best plan of action for your specific needs.
call Skin Worthy 647-350-7546 to book your consultation today!
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