About Chemical Peels
A chemical peel is a skin treatment that can visibly improve treated tissue structure using caustic solutions. They help accelerate the natural exfoliation process of the skin and cause protein coagulation or lysis of epidermal and dermal cells. The effect of any peel reaches the dermis, directly or indirectly and to varying depths, where this process of regeneration is induced to a greater or lesser degree depending on the molecule or molecules used as well as the application procedure.
Chemical peels are amongst the oldest form of skin rejuvenation procedures, and they are flexible and effective, with a histological, chemical, toxicological and clinical basis. Seeped in ancient history, they have evolved rapidly and can be easily adapted to almost any circumstances within the limits of their indications.
Chemical peels, to varying degrees, cause the same types of histological changes, whose clinical results lead to a more or less rejuvenating effect on the skin. Due to the varying factors that come into play, it can be challenging to categorise peels into a rigid and straightforward classification of ‘Superficial’, ‘Medium’ or’ Deep’.
Let’s take Glycolic Acid as an example; its depth of action on the client’s skin depends on;
⦁ The client’s skin type (dry or oily)
⦁ Associated skin disorders (rosacea, mature skin, sensitive, acne)
⦁ Skin pre-preparation (pre-peel treatment, home care, pH of the skin)
⦁ Chemical peel preparation (liquid, gel or paste)
⦁ Concentration of the product (10, 20, 30, 40, 50% etc.)
⦁ Combination of peel (e.g. combined with lactic, kojic or retinoic acid)
⦁ The pH of the solution (0.2- 5 on the pH scale)
⦁ How the peel is applied (gauze, brush, cotton swabs)
⦁ The pressure of application (applied gently or massaged firmly)
⦁ The number of coats or applications of peel applied.
⦁ Location of application (chest, nose, eyelids, back, stomach)
⦁ Contact time
⦁ How or whether the peel is to be neutralised
⦁ Immediate post-peel care
⦁ The number and frequency of repeat treatments and so on.
This goes to show that it doesn’t take much to turn a very light, superficial peel into a medium-depth peel that can reach the deeper layers of the dermis, thus risking scarring or post-inflammatory pigmentation!
It is not merely enough to be shown how to do a peel’ you need to understand the mechanisms behind the peel for client safety and deliver results. Therapists are also only trained in a small spectrum of chemical peels such as Glycolic acid or Lactic acid when there is an extensive range available for you to work with. Many are purchasing products from high street brands to use in their clinics or buying products from eBay that have no clinical or safety testing undertaken that allows you to use these products safely on clients.