The truth on chemical peels

Are you struggling with tired aged looking skin with too many wrinkles? As we try to appear as youthful as possible, we look to services that can help us look younger. 

One of the services that stands out, for not only being an effective way to look and feel younger, but can turn back the clock, is chemical peels. It works by peeling away the top layers of the skin and removing dead skin cells to make us appear years younger than we are. Want to look like you did 5 years ago even 10? Well the answer is you can…

Chemical Peels are an effective way of looking younger without the need for surgery. They contain active ingredients called Alpha Hydroxy Acids or Beta Hydroxy Acids.  These acids are derived from food sources –

Glycolic Acid is derived from Sugar Cane

Lactic Acid is derived from milk

Malic Acid is derived from apples and pears

Citric Acid is derived from lemons and oranges

Tartaric Acid is derived
from grapes

This difference between AHA’s and BHA’s is that the AHA’s are water soluble and the BHA’s are lipid or fat soluble. Some of the molecules are so small that they can penetrate deep in the surface of the skin even into the blood stream which is why these products and services are contraindicated to someone that is pregnant. 

How They work 

AHA’s work primarily as an exfoliant. They can cause the epidermis to become detached while it is still attached by intercellular lipids which allows some of the dead skin cells to be removed, leaving healthy new cells underneath. It has been said that AHA’s can improved collagen and elastin production aiding in the softening of wrinkles.

AHA’s are best when they are used in a concentration of between 5-8% and a PH of about 3-4.  There are two major side effects from the AHA’s which are:  skin irritation and sun burn. It has also been noted that people who have darker skin (5 or 6 on the Fitzpatrick scale) can result in increased melanin production in the skin making the skin appear darker. Using these products can limit the body’s ability to protect against harmful UVA, UVB rays. So it would be recommended to use a broad spectrum 50+ sunscreen, wear and hat and fully protect your body from being out in the sun.

Read The Packaging

Cosmetic companies are not required to communicate their concentration of AHA on their products and as a very basic rule, they should be about the third ingredient from the top labelled on their packaging. They are sometimes found in every day moisturisers, eye creams, cleansers and foundations but are usually in diluted concentrations. 

AHA’s are usually used in a series of six treatments.  The treatment starts with the cleaning of the skin then the AHA is brushed onto the skin wait for about two minutes then another layer is brushed on then washed off. The products will work to remove the top layers of the skin. Once the first application has finished you must avoid the sun and for this reason the service is best performed in winter when the sun is less harsh. It is advised that this protocol should be done through the winter months to avoid the harsh Australian sun.

Chemical Peels come in three stages of intensity –

Medium Depth

Light Peels only remove the top few layers of the skin and can give the skin a bright smoother and more radiant complexion. These peels have a combination of AHA’s and BHA’s and are mostly pain free with the client only experiencing a light tingling and slight redness. This protocol is usually part of a treatment of between 6-10 treatments spaced at 2-3 weeks apart. This can be applied by a qualified beautician.

Light chemical peel

Medium Peels – they usually have trichloroacetic acid as the active ingredient to penetrate the skin deeper than a superficial peel. These peels can be painful with clients experiencing mild discomfort for up to 30 minutes to an hour. The face may become swollen, pink and itchy. These peels can take up to a week to heal and may be pink for up to six weeks after service and should be applied by a qualified dermatologist.

Deep Peels – These peels are not for the faint of heart. These products penetrate all the way down to the dermal layers of the skin. This type of peel can take months to recover from with pain, redness and itchy skin experienced for about two days after the treatment, and then the face may swell up and after a few days the face will scab. The redness associated with these peels can last months after the treatment protocol has concluded. There is also a risk of both hypopigmentation and scarring with this protocol. This Peel should be administered by a qualified doctor. There is also after care required to assist with retaining moisture in the skin and the client must not expose their skin to the sun as the natural protection factors in the skin are diminished.

Deep chemical peel

So what is the truth on Chemical Peels?

Chemical Peels are a highly effective way of turning back the clock but the price you pay for the service is not the only cost.  Depending on the client and the service, the client will experience anything from light tingling to burning pain, the face may become swollen and the treated skin loses the sun protection factor requiring the addition of occlusive moisturising products to assist in the prevention of Trans Epidermal water loss (TEWL).  The starting price for the superficial chemical peel is usually around $100 per treatment and the protocol suggests a minimum of six treatments two weeks apart.  

My advice if you are contemplating a chemical peel start on the superficial peel and wait until late April to avoid the damaging rays of the sun. People with darker skin should avoid this treatment due to the possibility of increasing melanocyte production in the skin, although this treatment is possible with older clients with fragile skin. If undertaking the treatment be sure to use the correct after care and take before and after photos as once your face heals the results are nothing short of amazing.  If concerned about the suitability for this service I would recommend that you speak with a health care professional prior to commencement of the service. 


Phone 6515 0567

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