What you always wanted to know about peels but where afraid to ask?

They are the latest buzz word in skincare treatments and have changed so much since the days that ‘Samantha’ had one on ‘Sex and the City’ but what do you really know about chemical peels.  Here Clare gives us the lowdown.

Peels are also known as chemical exfoliation using glycolic acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid and mandelic acid. These types of peels treat the superficial layer of the skin known as the epidermal. On the epidermis we see fine lines forms, pigmentation and sun spots, pitting from old acne, scars old and new, blotches and dullness. These peels are great for instantly brightening the top layer of the skin whilst smoothing all the concerns mentioned. Peels can be quite tingly on the skin and range in different percentages and strengths.  They are also known as AHAs and BHAs which is a mixture of the acids together and for best results we recommend courses of peels usually 3-6 is sufficient for desired results.

Glycolic acid comes in different strengths and PH which will determine how deep it goes into the skin, this peel best treats wrinkles and sun damage, it is also the most ‘aggressive’ peel as the molecules are the smallest and penetrate quicker, so the results tend to be the best and the side effects would be more exaggerated than the other peels, ie. Intense tingling and redness. Lactic acid is more gentle of the peels and is best for dry, rosacea and sensitive skins, as it is derived from milk it best suits older, thinner skin. Salicylic acid penetrates deeper into the oil glands so is best for oily and acne skins. Out of all the peels available salicylic is your go to peel for blackheads, milia, scabs, breakouts. Any blemishes tend to go ‘cloudy’ and white which means they are starting to heal rapidly.  Mandelic Acid is the most versatile of the peels as it can be used on any skin type and condition and colour (dark skin) which is contraindicated with the other peels. The molecules are quite large and so the feeling of tingle, redness and downtime is very minimum. Mandelic is derived from nut but the synthetic form so is suitable for nut allergies. It is best to start with lower percentages of the peels named and work your way to stronger percentages for best results.

Pregnancy is contra-indicated because the skin turns quite sensitive and the client may even burn from a peel, avoid at all cost. Other factors such as herpes, medication, cancer patients and severe sensitive skins. Most clients will benefit from peels but we always need to go back to the Fitzpatrick scale which is skin colour classified on skin pigmentation. Some skin colours are not suitable for certain peels.

Overall the benefits of peels are positive and the changes to the skin concerns are dramatic and instant, everyone over 30 should be getting peels done in the salon to prevent deep wrinkles from forming and pigmentation getting darker, in order to keep the skin looking fresh and even toned one must always use SPF after a peel or they may experience more pigmentation.