If you’ve ever found yourself marveling at the flawless skin pretty much all celebrities seem to have, then you’re far from alone. After all, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone that doesn’t covet Kim Kardashian’s smooth, unblemished skin or Blake Lively’s seemingly flawless complexion. You’d find it even more difficult to find someone that doesn’t wonder how on earth they do it.
Luckily for us mere mortals, the answer isn’t “good genes” (although genetics can certainly help). Many of today’s most beautiful celebrities owe their ageless, glowing skin to chemical peels. Chemical peels have the potential to rid skin of a multitude of issues, including but not limited to acne scars, age spots, sun spots, and more. Let’s take a closer look at how they work and what they can really do for the look and condition of your skin.
How Do Chemical Peels Help Skin?
Although people don’t tend to think of it that way on an everyday basis, the skin really is the human body’s largest organ. However, unlike the body’s other organs, the skin withstands the greatest amount of exposure to harmful outside elements. Everything from ultraviolet light from the sun, to pollution, to climate changes can wreak havoc on the way our skin looks, feels, and functions – especially over time.
Even so, our skin is constantly regenerating itself. We shed old skin cells every single day, giving new cells the chance to replace them. Chemical peels actually leverage this natural, healthy process to help improve the health of the skin while removing blemishes, spots, and damage. In other words, chemical peels act to remove old, dead layers of skin so that new, healthy, vibrant skin can take its place.
What Are the Different Types of Chemical Peels?
Chemical peels aren’t a one-size-fits-all type of deal. There are actually several different types out there, each with its own benefits. Which one will be the most effective depends entirely on what results you’re looking to achieve and what your overall needs are.
Glycolic Acid Peels
Glycolic acid chemical peels are among the most widely known types of chemical peel, as well as the most popular. Glycolic acid is a fruit-based acid that comes from sugar cane, which makes it popular among those that prefer nature-based beauty solutions. This type of peel is also one of the milder options out there in comparison to the alternatives. For this reason, multiple peels are sometimes required in order to achieve the desired results.
As with all chemical peels, a solution is applied to the skin and left in place for a predetermined amount of time. The solution works to break the bonds that hold the most superficial layers of skin in place. Once the process is complete, the solution is neutralized and rinsed away with water. The average recovery time after a glycolic acid peel is around a week.
Like the above option, AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) peels also leverage the power of naturally acids to treat the look and feel of skin. Although specifics may vary, the most common type of acid used in an AHA peel is salicylic acid. Alternatives may use lactic acid or citric acid.
Many AHA peels tend to use solutions that are less concentrated, so it’s possible to perform them at home. However, alternatives that involve higher concentrations can be administered by a qualified physician. The average time of recovery is 10 days.
Chemically speaking, phenol peels are a completely different animal as compared to AHA peels or glycolic acid peels. The solutions involved can be incredibly strong. That said, they tend to yield more dramatic results than the alternatives, but they call for a much longer recovery time.
On average, it takes around three months to recover fully from a phenol peel. However, the results from phenol peels can actually last for years in some cases. Phenol peels can successfully get rid of blemishes, acne scarring, and sun damage. However, they may not be suitable for people with darker complexions, as they can result in a permanent bleaching effect.
Trichloroacetic Acid Peels
Trichloroacetic (TCA) peels tend to fall somewhere between the fruit acid peels detailed previously and the phenol peels discussed just above. Recovery times can vary, but fall somewhere between a week and a month or so. In addition to removing superficial skin imperfections, this type of peel is also sometimes used to remove warts and fine lines.
Unlike phenol peels, TCA peels can be just as effective on darker skin as they can fair skin. However, there is still some risk of discoloration, so it’s important to discuss your options thoroughly with your skin care professional. This type of peel is nearly as popular as AHA peels and glycolic peels, as concentration can easily be adjusted to suit individual needs.
Is a Chemical Peel Right for You?
Even though chemical peels are common parts of many people’s modern skin care regimens, they’re still several steps beyond simply applying some skin cream. That said, it’s important to carefully consider whether they’re the right solution for you before you make your final decision. You can see what peels are available for home use at Platinum Skin Care and find what is most suited for your desired results.
It’s important to consider the recovery times attached to each option. Even the mildest peels will involve a period during which your skin is red, irritated, and highly sensitive. This is especially the case for very strong options like phenol peels that require months of recovery time. Most diehard chemical peel enthusiasts like to schedule theirs for a time when they’ll have plenty of time to stay indoors and recover.
It’s also important to consider cost. Chemical peels are not as pricey as invasive alternatives like plastic surgery, but they represent more of an investment than a skin cream does for sure. Depending on the type of peel and the results you’re after, treatments can range from a couple of hundred dollars to a few thousand. (The deeper the peel, the more it will probably cost.) Many peels can be done yourself in your own home and offer an alternative to the pricier spa treatments.
That said, if you’re ready to make the financial investment and can allow for a proper recovery, chemical peels are a wonderful, safe, non-invasive, and highly effective way to maintain the health and beauty of your skin. Explore your options today!