What are Chemical Peels?

A Chemical peel is a treatment that is used to resurface the skin. It does this by removing the top layer of skin cells and revealing the smoother second layer. Sometimes used to improve the look and tone of the skin, a chemical peel can be used for anti aging treatment, mild scar removal and to diminish the appearance of skin blemishes. Some people recommend chemical peels for treatment for acne but this is not a decision that should be taken without professional advice.


What are Chemical Peels?

Chemical peels can be carried out by dermatologists and medical professionals but are more usually available as a cosmetic treatment by salons or for use as a home use kit.

Chemical peels work by applying an acid solution to the skin that causes the top layer to eventually peel off. There are many different types of chemicals used to achieve this but Alphahydroxy acids (AHA) and Betahydroxy acids (BHA) the most usual for acne treatment.

AHA is found in natural foodstuffs and includes glycolic acid – made from sugar cane, citric acid from citric fruit and lactic acid made from sour milk. BHA acid is a deriviative of aspririn and can help stimulate cell growth. BHA is salicylic acid so is well known as an acne treatment and an ingredient in many cleansers and lotions.

Any side effects with chemical peels?

Chemical peels have problems for the user. Too weak a solution and they will not have any effect, and too strong can result in serious and uncomfortable side effects.

You can expect blistering, redness, and a stinging sensation while the chemical solution is applied.

Do chemical peels work for acne scars?

Some people recommend light chemical peels for acne but it is unclear whether they actually make much difference. It is probably safe to say that they may suit some, but others will find the discomfort too unpleasant and the effect too minimal to make it worthwhile.

Medium strength chemical peels can cause serious discomfort and take on average around 6 weeks recovery time. This is not generally used to treat acne.

A full strength chemical peel should only be carried out by a dermatologist and will take up to 3 months recovery time. This is only used for serious skin damage and will only be done once every 10 years. Although this may be used to treat acne scarring it is not appropriate treatment for many.

There are numerous home chemical peel kits on the market but these should be used with extreme caution. Products containing glycolic acid are the most usual types for home use and in reputable kits, the legal levels of AHA acid are too low to have any effect. More dangerous rogue home chemical peel kits have dangerously high levels of AHA acid that can cause serious damage to your health and skin.

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