There has always been a disassociation between over-the-counter (salon) chemical peels and medical grade chemical peels and the purpose of both. Day salon peels or commercially available chemical peels need to be within 1% point of the body’s outside skin pH (+/-5.5). Commercial products will allow for exfoliation of the skin but is superficial and unable to penetrate beyond the first layers of skin. These peels are popular but do little to create long-term improvement to the skin.
There are (3) families of chemical peels each with their own unique characteristics and purpose.
Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA) is the most common type of acid used as it has excellent penetration of the skin and can be easily titrated to eliminate pigmentation throughout the epidermis over a series of treatments. The most common types of AHA acids are glycolic and lactic acids with lactic acid being preferred as it has humectants (hydrating) properties. As the pH is lowered and the acidity percentage is increased not only are abnormal melanocyte (spot) activity is eliminated but controlled remodeling of the deeper skin is achieved. Similar to lasers, newer and healthier collagen production grow. The final result is one even skin tone to the face and a fuller looking face as collagen is replaced.
The second family of medical grade chemical peels is the beta-hydroxy acids (BHA). Though it will not be able to create a collagen or eliminate pigmentation it does have very good exfoliation (removing dead skin cells) properties and is ideal for patients suffering from mild acnes. Salicylic acid is the most common type of BHA acid due to its lipid preserving properties and is the chemical peel of choice for patients suffering from adult acne.
The last family of medical grade chemical peels are other acids which are buffered by the body’s
own oils within the skin. The most common is TCA (Trichloroacetic Acid). Use of TCA acids is limited due to possible downtime after the procedure or the heavy exfoliation that occurs after the treatment. There are various types of treatments available based upon percentages and patient indications.
The reason for Medical Grade Chemical Peels is the gold standard for facial rejuvenation is that
beyond the initial series of treatments the improvement and collagen remodeling can be maintained with further treatments. Monthly maintenance treatments using various chemicals allow for patients to further enhance and eliminate the signs of aging for years to come.
By following established “standard of care” protocols, medical grade peels can correct
dyschromias(spots), tonicity (pigmentation), and through a series and maintenance of treatments will allow for collagen remodeling and plumpness to the face. Unlike commercial peels that are superficial at best, medical grade chemical peels allow for a series of treatments that allow all types of skin to benefit due to the safe titration of acidity and pH.
Depending on the type of chemical used, there is always some peeling and flaking. It ranges from
just looking like dry skin to a deep sunburn. We spend a lot of time explaining what to expect with your type of peel, and the things you need to do before and after the procedure.
You can expect some tingling and a warm or burning feeling while the chemical is on your face.
This is how we gauge the efficacy of the peel. During the whole procedure we monitor the feeling
to keep you as comfortable as possible. The MOST important factors to the success of the peel, are the pre- and post-care cosmeceutical regimen you use at home. You will discuss this in detail with your provider.
In most patients there are more than one treatment required, and for the best results you should
have periodic touch-ups to maintain your result.