What is the difference between chemical peels?
Chemical peels differ in many ways. The three main differences between the peels are; the depth of the peels (mild, medium, deep), the active ingredient of the peel and what the peel treats.
What determines the depth of the peel?
Various factors that will determine the depth of a chemical peel are the chemical agent being used, the concentration of the peel, the method of the peel and the preparation of the skin.
A chemical peel will be either mild, medium or deep. A mild peel is very superficial and will only treat the most outer layer of the skin. There is no downtime and is less aggressive than the deeper chemical peels. A medium depth peel typically takes within a week to recover and there is continued improvement over time. A deep peel can take at least 10 days or more to recover.
What are the most popular chemical peels (active ingredients)?
The most commonly used chemical peels are: Glycolic acid peel, Lactic acid peel, Salicylic acid peel, Jessner’s peel, TCA (trichoracetic acid), and Phenol Chemical peel.
What do the various chemical peels treat?
The various chemical peels are used to treat, fine lines, wrinkles, sun damage, hyperpigmentation, acne, most common large pores, black heads, skin tone and texture, scars, and pre-cancerous growths.
The details of the chemical peels:
Glycolic Acid Chemical Peel (mild peel)
- Derived from the sugar cane
- Alpha hydroxy acid (AHA)
- One of the most well- known and widely used AHA’s
- Used to smooth wrinkles, fade sun spots, correct sun damage, and improve tone and texture.
- When applied to the skin it helps remove the glue that holds the older rougher, dryer skin on the surface.
- There is no recovery time.
Lactic Acid Chemical Peel (mild peel)
- Derived from milk.
- Because lactic is a natural human metabolite, there is less chance of an allergic reaction.
- There is no downtime.
Salicylic Acid Chemical Peel (mild peel)
- Derived from the bark of a willow tree
- BHA (beta hyrdoxy acid)
- Can be quite strong and penetrates more so than AHA.
- Used to treat acne, large pores, blackheads and congested skin.
- Little to no downtime.
Jessner’s Chemical Peel (medium depth peel)
- Made up of 3 peeling agents; Salicylic Acid, Lactic Acid and Rescorcinol
- Deeper than a glycolic chemical peel
- The Jessen’s peel goes through the epidermis to the junction of the dermis
TCA (trichoracetic acid) (medium depth peel)
- It is a relative of vinegar
- Causes top layers of the skin to dry up and peel off over a period of several days to one week
- Rejuvenates and repairs the skin. Improves skin discoloration, reduces fine lines and even outs the texture of the skin.
- I week downtime
Phenol Chemical Peel (deep peel)
- Carbolic Acid
- Most aggressive type chemical peel
- Effective remedy for severely sun damaged skin, deep wrinkles, scars and pre-cancerous growths
- Ten days and more recovery time
In the next article, we will discuss how to best select the chemical peel for your particular skin treatment.
If you would like to have more detailed information about Glycolic Peels and Chemical Peels or if you would like to have a precise quote on the cost of your treatment, I invite you to contact our Montreal clinic. It will be our pleasure to answer your questions.
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