Wednesday, August 5, 2009

To Peel or Not To Peel.....?

Hi, lovelies! To continue my week-long discussion on facial care, I'm focusing today on chemical peels.

A chemical peel is a procedure in which a chemical agent is applied to the skin, with certain types causing the skin to "blister" and peel off. You are literally removing your top layer of skin. It is used to reduce fine lines, treat wrinkles caused by sun damage, aging or hereditary factors, improve the appearance of mild scarring, treat certain types of acne, reduce age spots, freckles or dark patches due to pregnancy or taking birth control pills, or to improve the look and texture of dull skin. There are several different types of chemical peels:

  • Light - Also known as glycolic acid peels or AHA chemical peels, a light chemical peel is a non-invasive treatment that removes the upper layers of dead and damaged skin and encourages skin cell regeneration. This type of peel provides gentle treatment for fine lines, acne, chronic dry skin, and uneven pigmentation. This type of peel will cause a slight pinkness afterward, but normal coloring returns in a few hours. You can find do it yourself chemical peels in stores and online, such as Neutrogena and Avon. You can also find at home recipes to do at home and save even more money! Check back tomorrow for recipes that I have used and recommend!

  • Medium - Medium chemical peels, also known as TCA (trichloroacetic acid) chemical peels, provide more dramatic results than light chemical peels, and they don't require the extended recovery time of deep (phenol) peels. Medium chemical peels are an effective way to correct acne scars, address uneven pigmentation, improve the texture and tone of the skin, smooth out fine lines, and more. After TCA chemical peels, a superficial crust forms over the treated area, then flakes off in three to seven days. The newly revealed skin may initially appear reddish, but the discoloration will fully fade within a week to reveal skin with dramatically improved texture, color, and overall appearance. Healing time takes approximately two weeks.

  • Deep - Phenol chemical peels are the most aggressive type of skin peels. A phenol peel is an effective remedy for severely sun damaged skin, coarse wrinkles, scars, and even pre-cancerous growths. They penetrate the skin deeper than AHA peels or TCA peels to address more serious imperfections such as blotchiness, coarse wrinkles, and acne scars. Compared to light chemical peels and medium chemical peels, deep chemical peels have more dramatic results, and only a single treatment is required. However, deep (phenol) chemical peel recovery is lengthy and uncomfortable compared to milder chemical peels. Phenol peels are so powerful that only one treatment is necessary to achieve dramatic results that last for years. Because the procedure typically results in pronounced swelling, patients are advised to allow for at least a week of at-home recovery after undergoing a deep chemical peel. After an advanced chemical peel, the patient’s face will be swollen, red, and uncomfortable. A crust will form on the treated skin several days after treatment. Within seven to ten days, this crust will flake off to reveal a new layer of bright pink skin. After two to three months, this bright pink color will fade to a pale, smooth complexion.

Now, keep in mind that these procedures are not without risks or side effects. Be sure to discuss any questions or concerns that you may have with your doctor! While I've never tried a medium or deep chemical peel, I'm definitely not opposed to them. However, I also feel that these types of peels can perhaps be avoided if you maintain a good skin care routine and religiously use SPF! Not enough can be said about prevention! But I think it's good to know that we have options when life sometimes deals us a different hand!

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