Chemical Peels: What They Are and What They Can Do For You
Chemical peels are “the best bang for your buck” because they provide a great exfoliation in a short amount of time that usually results in dramatic changes to the skin (dependent upon the strength of the peel: stronger peels yield more noticeable results). In general, besides the immediate results of smoother skin and removal of environmental damage, chemical peels also help keep you ahead of the aging process.
How Skin Turnover Works
Basic facts about skin turnover helps to understand how chemical peels work. Skin cells are created in the basal layer and move upward. Cells die as they get closer to the skin and these surface cells fall off, to be replaced by new cells. In young people, a normal turnover is about 28 days, but as we age, the rate decreases to 40 or more days. Along with the decrease in skin turnover, the collagen and elastin in the skin decreases, combined with sun damage, and the result is thinner, less plump skin.
What Do Chemical Peels Do?
Chemical peels expedite cell turnover through exfoliation and stimulate new collagen to thicken the dermal layer. New cells replace the exfoliated cells at a faster rate and collagen and elastin production is increased.
The Benefits of a Chemical Peel
In the big picture, regular peels can create healthier, younger-looking skin throughout your lifetime. They can smooth the skin and improve texture and color uniformity. Peels will also:
Lighten by getting rid of superficial damage (age spot, sun spots)
Tighten by increasing collagen and elastin
Brighten by getting rid of the dead cells on the surface that build up (especially when cell turnover slows down with age) and creating plumper looking skin.
Question from the audience: Would peels get rid of freckles?
Answer from Dr. Perkins: Freckles are typically deeper down and peels would not get rid of freckles. If you are only trying to get rid of freckles, a peel would not be the right choice.
Do Chemical Peels Hurt?
The mild peels have a warm, tingly feeling and may create a minor discomfort. For the medium and darker peels, Evolutions has cooling devices to help make a peel more tolerable.
Will Skin Peel Off?
Yes, the superficial layer does peel off but since the peel is a “controlled injury” to the skin it does not produce scarring. Some lighter peels, such as the AFA Peel, creates a micro-exfoliation that may have very minor peeling such as flaky skin, but still gives you the benefit of a peel.
Question from the audience: When do you see peeling?
Answer from Dr. Perkins: In medium to deeper peels, the peeling may begin anywhere from 2 to 5 days post treatment.
Where Can Peels Be Done?
Realistically peels can be done anywhere on the body. Generally it is okay to be more aggressive on the face, but below the jawline you want to be more conservative.
Are Peels Mainly Done for Aging?
No, peels can be done for skin with acne and hyperpigmentation issues.
Are Peels as Effective as Laser Treatments?
Peels and laser treatments do different things. Laser energy can go deeper than peels can. Chemical peels are more reasonable to do cost-wise and are often a good starting point to get rid of superficial damage. For deeper damage, laser treatment may be considered. Note that Evolutions does offer a FotoPeel series that combines a FotoFacial using Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) and RadioFrequency energy to help with blood vessels, brown spots and more. These are alternated with chemical peels to get the maximum benefit from both treatments.
Question from the audience: Do peels help with large pores?
Answer from Dr. Perkins: Not necessarily. Pore are better treated with Laser Genesis that heats the collagen to tighten the pores.
Chemical Peels Available at Evolutions
Pumpkin Antioxidant Facial
cleans the skin up with a gentle exfoliation using enzymes
pumpkin is the highest concentration of salicyclic acid, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and beta-carotene found in any fruit or vegetable
the pumpkin peel draws out impurities while introducing vitamins, enzymes and nutrients
a good peel to get before an event
peeling amount: little to none
this peel provides powerful exfoliation, moisture retention with low irritation
benefits aging skin, sun damage, uneven texture and pigment problems
there is a home care line available: AFA gel (in different strengths) to keep the exfoliation consistent at home
peeling amount: little or none (depending on peel strength)
strength: available in varying strengths and also can be done in a series
Clay Mask Peel (Advanced Acne Facial)
excellent for clients suffering from oily or acne-prone skin
this peel combines the AFA peel with a clay mask to absorb oil and skin impurities
called the “Advanced Acne Facial” because not a lot of peeling occurs
peeling amount: little or none
strength: light to medium
Question from the audience: Does it work well for dry, acne-prone skin?
Answer from Dr. Perkins: Yes.
Alpha Beta Peel
Evolutions most popular peel
combines an alpha hydroxy acid and beta hydroxy acid to smooth the skin’s surface and stimulate collagen
great choice for clients who want to peel and see results quickly
peeling amount: most clients peel for about 2 to 4 days
strength: medium but can be tapered back to be a little less aggressive
* Comfort Peel
Evolutions newest peel
achieves significant results in a short amount of time
less discomfort than other comparable peels
the peel is done in one layer and the first step includes a numbing agent
EXCLUSIVE to Evolutions
peeling amount: peeling will occur and the amount of peeling depends on the strength of the peel
strength: available in light, medium and deep
Obagi Blue Peel
most aggressive peel that achieves significant results in a relatively short amount of time
excellent for pigmentation issues
only available through a physicians office
get better results by prepping skin with Obagi’s Nu-Derm system
peeling amount: all clients will peel for about 3 to 10 days
More Aggressive Options
Dr. Perkins offers more aggressive options at his Cosmetic Surgery Center in Santa Barbara (located near Cottage Hospital). Phenol peels and chemabrasion are done in the operating room and can be great for acne issues, scarring, deep wrinkles. The change is dramatic and there is more downtime than a peel done at Evolutions.
How Can You Improve Chemical Peel Results?
follow home care pre-treatment that is recommended by the Evolutions staff
prep with a Vibraderm treatment that provide physical exfoliation to help the peel penetrate deeper and more evenly
add on a stem cell treatment to introduce genetically flawless, live stem cells to replicate healthier, stronger, more youthful-looking cells
get a peel series where you have two or three peels in succession to get deeper than doing an individual peel
add on a laser light-based treatment to address deeper pigmentation problems
ask your clinician to recommend a home care system that will help you maintain your skin and keeps you ahead of the game
Parting Thought on Chemical Peels
Chemical peels are an important component in improving the quality of skin throughout your life by increasing cell turnover and they also allow home care products to penetrate more effectively.