To be performed at home, in a beauty salon or dermatological doctor’s office, there are different types of facial peels depending on their depth of action, the needs of the skin, and the concentration of active exfoliating ingredients of the treatment. Find out more about the action of these different facial peels.
What Is a Chemical Face Peel, and Why Have It?
A peel is a cosmetic procedure that consists of the application of a more or less strong chemical agent on the skin in order to produce a desquamation of the superficial layers of the skin. This leads to the stimulation of cell renewal and the production of collagen and elastin fibers in the underlying layers. This helps to correct numerous skin alterations depending on the depth of the peel, such as skin pigmentation (pregnancy mask, dark spots, etc.), acne, rough skin texture, small acne scars, small wrinkles, loss of skin tone and dullness, and thus improve the quality of the skin. The peel also allows the following beauty treatments to be better absorbed by the skin.
What Are the Different Types of Chemical Peels?
Depending on the depth of action and degree, there are different types of facial peels:
Superficial peel for all skin types:
The superficial peel or soft peel is one of the light exfoliations that treat the skin superficially. In fact, during this treatment, only the upper layers of the epidermis (horny layer) are removed. The deeper layers such as the dermis are not affected. The products used are mainly based on fruit acids or HA (glycolic acid, lactic acid, etc.), higher molecular weight PA (benzoic acid derived from glycolic acid, etc.), BHA (salicylic acid, etc.) or trichloroacetic acid (TCA). This type of peeling is mainly used to clean the skin completely and eliminate all impurities. Depending on the concentration of acids, gentle peels are indicated in case of concerns about skin tone homogeneity, dilated pores, dullness, and imperfections. Moreover, depending on the concentration of the solutions, the soft peel is also indicated to attenuate superficial wrinkles (a 35% peel penetrates more deeply than a 10% peel)
If it is performed in an institute, several sessions (between 3 and 10) of 14 days at one-month intervals are necessary with concentrations between 10 and 35% and in combination with evening applications of an exfoliating cream. However, it can also be performed at home using resurfacing treatments in the form of masks, lotions, serums, or creams in small quantities (between 5 and 10%). This method is suitable for individuals with oily skin with imperfections (dilated pores, blackheads, etc.). Depending on the degree, it will refine the skin texture, treat blackheads, dry up acne pimples, tighten dilated pores, boost hydration, regulate sebum secretion and lighten the complexion. In addition, the concentration of the solution and the repetition of the applications can increase the depth of the peel and thus, in the long term, reduce the appearance of fine lines. The gentle peel is suitable for all skin types and colors. However, when considering a chemical on sensitive or reactive skin, opt for less concentrated treatments and for active substances with a higher molecular weight and therefore less irritating (lactic acid, PHA., etc.).
Medium depth peel for skin with acne or hyperpigmentation:
You will also find the medium depth chemical peels to be more abrasive treatments than the superficial peels. They are performed exclusively in beauty clinics. This method affects the entire epidermis, the papillary dermis (the most superficial layer of the dermis, which lies beneath the epidermis) and can also penetrate the upper reticular dermis. This treatment aims to boost the renewal of epidermal cells and the production of collagen and elastin. The medium depth peel is recommended as part of a treatment for acne or for people with fine lines and dark spots that appear during pregnancy, following an inflammation or simply with age. For this type of peel, the formulas used are based on trichloroacetic acid (TCA) in doses of between 35 and 50%.
This type of peel is done in a few sessions spread over several months. However, the average peel may have certain side effects, such as burning or edema (swelling of the skin), which fade after 2 to 3 days. The peeling lasts about one to two weeks and the period of eviction several months. Following the medium depth chemical peel, the skin becomes pinkish. As long as this color persists, sun exposure should be avoided as much as possible, otherwise dark spots and sunburns may appear. The practitioner usually recommends disinfecting the skin with a mild antiseptic and applying oily ointments to help healing. At the end of the treatment, the skin is toned, the skin texture becomes smooth, the eyes are illuminated, and the complexion is unified. However, the medium peel is contraindicated in cases of pregnancy, breastfeeding, herpes infection, skin diseases, allergies and when taking roaccutane or any other medication against acne.
Deep peeling to treat skin aging:
To fill in deep wrinkles and scars, a deep facial peel can be used. The objective is to completely destroy the superficial layers of the skin through a process of protein coagulation and liquefaction of the upper layers of the epidermis and to reach the middle reticular dermis. In this case, a renewal of the epidermal tissues takes place in a few weeks and an intense synthesis of collagen and elastin takes place. At the end of this procedure, a skin free of imperfections, pigment spots and wrinkles is created. The deep peel uses phenol (88%), an ultra-powerful product (rapid absorption and strong penetration), and should only be performed in an aesthetic clinic after two weeks to a month of preparation of the skin with creams.
Indeed, several precautions, notably a cardiac surveillance because phenol is toxic for the heart, and a local or general anesthesia because it is particularly painful, must be considered during a deep peeling. A single session is enough to get a new skin. However, the active ingredient used must be strictly controlled and must meet the standards in force. It causes an intense burning sensation, whitening of the skin and significant swelling of the skin, which may ooze and bleed. Following the deep peel, ointment, and bandages are applied regularly until the skin heals, which may take about two weeks. On the other hand, the skin will remain pink for several months, so it is imperative to avoid exposure to the sun during this period and to protect yourself with a sun cream with a high SPF.