When you hear the term “chemical peel”, you might be tempted to dismiss it as an antiquated, less-than-luxurious treatment that will leave you with red, irritated skin and force you into hiding for days on end while your skin heals.
Guess what? Peels are more popular now than ever, and many DermaNuva clients will say that is the secret to healthy, glowing skin. Far from being a one-size-fits-all treatment, there are now a wide variety of different types of peels available that cater to specific skin types and skin goals and can even strategically treat different areas of the body.
A peel consists of an exfoliating solution being applied directly to the skin, and then removed after a specific amount of time. While on your skin, the solution penetrates the layers of your skin, causing it to peel/flake off over the course of a few days, removing sun damage, improving the overall appearance, and even targeting acne. The stronger the concentration of acids and the longer it’s left on, the more intense the resulting peeling will be.
There are considerations to be aware of when it comes to chemical peels—namely, the various options available, and what skin concerns they are designed to treat. There are three different classes of peels, which fall somewhere on a scale between superficial (requiring little to no downtime) and deep (requiring weeks, maybe even months, of recovery).
Types of Chemical Peels
There are three basic peel types offered at DermaNuva:
1. Superficial peels
The Enzyme Skin Renewal Peel encourages the natural cellular turnover process of the epidermis. A favourite of our acne clients for its ability to decongest the skin, it’s also incredibly popular as an all-around regular skin maintenance treatment because it addresses texture irregularity and clarifies all skin types.
2. Medium peels
These penetrate deeper and reach the middle layer of skin, targeting damaged skin cells, and are best suited for moderate skin problems like superficial scarring, fine lines and wrinkles, as well as discoloration such as melasma or age spots. Medium peels have even been used in the treatment of precancerous skin growths!
The Jessner peel is by far the best-known peel in this category and, believe it or not, was first formulated over a hundred years ago. This peel is unique because, once applied, it has to be left undisturbed on the skin for a minimum of six to eight hours post-treatment to allow for the full benefit. The peeling process that follows takes several days to complete, and simultaneously deconstructs the topmost layer of the skin and triggers an inflammatory response from the layers of skin below. This causes the skin to remove sun damage, improve hyperpigmentation, scarring and wrinkling, all while boosting elasticity. This type of peel is ideal for treating the face, as well as crepe-y leg skin, pigmented backs, back acne, and more.
TCA (trichlorecetic acid) peels are another medium-depth peel, and are a good choice for those with scarring or pigmentation issues. TCA peels can help with minimizing fine lines, sun damage, and acne scars, but are not ideal for those with severely sensitive skin. While they can produce great results, downtime is required as your skin will typically peel for at least a week.
The best time of year to fully benefit from a medium-depth peel is late autumn or early spring when UV radiation is comparatively weak. The major complication of this peel is the risk for hyperpigmentation, and UV radiation is the main culprit.
3. Deep/laser peels
At DermaNuva we also offer deep fractional laser and ablative skin resurfacing, although these are not classic “chemical peel” treatments, the results are even more transformative. The unique characteristics of laser skin resurfacing allow accurate and precise control over the treatment process.
Fractional (non-ablative) laser resurfacing is a process whereby small holes are ‘drilled’ into the skin, leaving unaffected skin in between. Non-ablative lasers work by heating up the underlying skin tissue – without harming the surface – so that your body will produce new collagen. The healing is much faster than ablative peels, while the result is very satisfying.
Non-ablative lasers are best at improving skin texture and tone, and may also be used to improve the appearance of fine lines, mild wrinkles and pigmentation issues, while ablative lasers are more invasive, making them a great option for treating severe sun aging, wrinkles, facial scarring and skin discoloration.
Ablative lasers remove the full surface of the skin and the provider chooses precise parameters according to the depth needed for the specific concern.
While undeniably heavier on downtime, these laser treatments are highly effective and deliver results that cannot be achieved by any other approach.
Chemical peels have been around for a while but are still a popular and effective treatment option for most skin conditions including acne, hyperpigmentation, melasma, uneven skin texture, wrinkles and sun damage. Superficial peels are effective for treating congestion, uneven skin texture, and pigmentation, while medium-depth peels are more effective for fine lines and wrinkles. Jessner and TCA chemical peels are among the most versatile type of chemical peel, with a wide range of treatment options. Laser treatments use energy to penetrate the various layers of the skin to repair the appearance of wrinkles, discolorations, acne scars and other signs of aging.
Our chemical & laser peels range in strength from mild improvement to deep rejuvenation. Just as there are variations in peel strength, there are variations in treatment results and the length of recovery time. While a stronger, deeper peel may require the most downtime, it will also provide the most significant results.
As always, the best way to find out which treatment is right for you is to schedule a personal consultation.