Chemical peels are the third most popular minimally invasive cosmetic procedure in America. Coming in behind Botox and soft tissue fillers, but just before laser hair removal and microdermabrasion, over 1.3 million patients opted for chemical peels in 2018. While this procedure is prolific for Americans and around the globe, the details of how exactly chemical peels achieve their intended result is less publicly known.
With all of this in mind, today we will be discussing the ins and outs of chemical peels including the latest technological advances in the field.
What are Chemical Peels?
Chemical peels are a non-invasive cosmetic procedure which are aimed at improving the appearance of the skin and by minimizing the visible signs of skin aging. The scientific basis of chemical peels uses chemical exfoliation to essentially remove the superficial layer of skin, leaving a new, “fresh” layer underneath. Many chemical peels actually cause the skin to blister or burn, which allows the old skin to peel off. Hence the name: chemical peel.
While chemical peels could theoretically be used anywhere on the body, they are typically performed on the hands, face, or neck. These types of peels are effective at:
- Improving the appearance of skin which has been damaged by the sun.
- Reducing fine lines, particularly difficult spots including crow’s feet, laugh lines, and areas around the mouth.
- Reducing the visible appearance of aging caused by wrinkles.
- Treating many (but not all) causes of acne by removing dirt, debris, and other irritants.
- Evening skin tone for patients with dark spots, freckles, age spots, and more.
- Improving the smoothness and “feel” of skin.
Chemical Peels vs. Traditional Facelifts vs. Botox
As with many anti-aging cosmetic procedures for the face, chemical peels are often compared to Botox and traditional facelifts. All three have their own unique set of advantages and disadvantages. What will be best for each individual patient will vary case to case.
Chemical peels are ideal for individuals with minor skin concerns who are looking for a quick, affordable, and minimally invasive option. Chemical peels can also be tailored to be stronger or more mild depending on the patient’s needs. When compared to botox and traditional facelifts, the results might be less dramatic, but will certainly be visibly noticeable.
Botox injections are geared towards reducing the visible signs of aging caused by wrinkles. In this way, they are more focused than chemical peels, but do less for the overall appearance of skin. In other words, Botox is the most powerful tool for minimally invasive, anti-aging cosmetic procedures, but it will only improve this aspect.
Facelifts are surgical cosmetic procedures. Unlike chemical peels and Botox injections, they require considerable recovery time, discomfort, and the potential for complications. With a skilled cosmetic surgeon, facelifts are very safe and the patient will return to normal in a few weeks. The primary benefit of facelifts is that their effects last upwards of 10 years compared to several months for chemical peels and Botox.
The Latest in Chemical Peel Technology
When it comes to chemical peel technology, it isn’t so much the concept that changes as it is the contents of the chemical solutions. With this in mind, these are the latest solutions for different types of chemical peels.
Deep Chemical Peels
Many patients who see a dermatologist or a cosmetic surgeon for a chemical peel will be dealing with “deep chemical peels”. These are the types of chemical peels which can chemically remove the top layer of skin, cause the skin to blister, and eventually peel away to allow healthy skin to shine through. The peels are known as phenol peels or carbolic acids peels. Carbolic acid is frequently combined with salicylic acid and other common skincare acids to produce a complete peel. Deep chemical peels should be used extremely sparingly and only when administered by a physician.
Medium Strength Chemical Peels
Still in the realm of the cosmetic surgeon and/or dermatologists are the medium strength chemical peels. Trichloroacetic Acid (TCA) peels are perhaps the most common medium strength chemical peels, and are capable of many of the same benefits of deep chemical peels without the same stress on the skin.
Light/Superficial Chemical Peels
The kinds of chemical peels you might perform at home are known as superficial chemical peels. Superficial peels can be performed more regularly, but should still be spaced out to avoid undue stress and/or skin damage. Modern light chemical peels frequently utilize glycolic acid, trichloroacetic acid, Jessner’s solution, salicylic acid, pyruvic acid, resorcinol preparations, solid carbon dioxide, and more. The ingredients and their associated concentrations vary on desired outcome.
Join us for SCALE 2020 to Learn About the Latest Chemical Peel Technology!
To learn more about beauty trends, beauty theory, non-invasive procedures, laser tech, and much more, join us from July 22-25, 2020 for our annual Music City Scale Conference! SCALE is the premier multidisciplinary meeting for aesthetic medicine, surgery and dermatology in the United States. Join other industry professionals to discuss industry trends, emerging technologies, and much more.
What started as a small gathering amongst colleagues 14 years ago has turned into the biggest party of the year within the field of aesthetic dermatology. Join us alongside hundreds of attendees and industry vendors to find out what you’ve been missing!