4. Medium + Deep Chemical Peels
What Is a Chemical Peel?
Chemical peels are a group of resurfacing procedures that are growing in popularity.
They use strong acids to break down the top layer or layers of the skin. The acid loosens the bonds that hold the skin cells together. This causes exfoliation as the surface skin cells then drop off. The acids used include salicylic acid, glycolic acid, trichloroacetic acid, and stronger carbolic acid.
Reported chemical peel benefits include a reduction in age spots, smoother skin, and a more even texture and tone. However, they are not effective in treating broken capillaries or blood vessels.
There are 3 types of chemical peel and these are superficial, medium and deep. Superficial chemical peels are generally safe as they are milder and only target the epidermis.
Medium peels penetrate into the next 2 layers. Deep peels are the strongest type and should only be carried out once or twice in a lifetime.
Deep peels require the the administration of IV fluids, as well as the close monitoring of patient’s heart rates.
Chemical peels cost between £60 and £100 for mild peels in the UK. Deeper peels are more expensive and can be over £500.
Chemical Peel Aftercare
Patients will need time to recover following the procedure due to the acid application.
For medium peels recovery time is usually between 1 and 2 weeks and time off work will need to be organised.
Following the treatment, patients should expect red, swollen and stinging skin. Treated skin can also form a crust, and patches of skin may darken.
After a deep chemical peel, there will be severe redness and swelling, as well as burning. Some patient's eyelids also swell shut.
A doctor will apply a surgical dressing to the treated skin and deep peels require several follow up visits to the doctor.
The Dangers of Chemical Peels
Treated skin can lose the ability to tan and may become lighter or darker than other areas. Burn spots after chemical peels are also common.
Both medium and deep facial peels leave the skin more open to bacterial, viral and fungal infections. Regular use of medium and deep peels can also thin the skin and cause it to sag.
The deeper down you exfoliate, the more damage you cause. There can be serious long term consequences when you penetrate past your stem cell layer and reach the skin’s collagen supplies. We start to lose collagen from the age of around 25 and once its gone its near impossible to replace. Causing trauma this deep down in the skin can destroy collagen. Collagen is responsible for keeping the skin smooth, tight and youthful. Early collagen breakdown is the leading cause of premature skin aging.
Chemical peels on Black skin and deeper skin tones are also particularly high risk. The risk of post-peel hyperpigmentation/post inflammatory hyperpigmentation increases significantly. Avoid using deep peels when treating Black, Asian, Hispanic and Latino skin tones.
Major complications including significant scarring, dyspigmentation, allergic reactions, and airway obstruction caused by swelling have also been reported. In extreme cases, toxic shock syndrome, cardiotoxicity, and corneal damage have occurred.